Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Big Surprise

In November it will be 14 years since my diagnosis with colon cancer. That was discovered at Stage 1, so I had surgery which removed all of the cancer and some lymph nodes to be sure. Follow up labs and scans continued to prove everything was good...until this year.

I began having rather severe stomach pain this spring, and in May I was quite surprised by the reason for the pain. I went to the emergency room and had a CT scan. Doctors felt I was probably having a bleeding ulcer, so I was not feeling well, but I wasn't overly concerned as I waited to see what it showed. So it was a horrible surprise when the doctor came in, and with tears in his eyes, reported that it appeared that there was a growth on my pancreas and some suspicious spots on my liver. My head turned quickly to Bill, who looked very grave and was unable to tell me this was a bad dream.

It has since been confirmed by a PET scan that what was showing on the scan was indeed pancreatic cancer, and it has spread to my liver. So I now have the status of a Stage 4 cancer patient. Ugh...I've been having chemo since June, and I've done pretty well with it, except for the first treatment, which put me in the hospital with severe dehydration and extremely low blood pressure.

My latest CT scan showed that the tumors have shrunk with the chemo, so we are keeping on with that regimen for now. At such time as it may not be working, we will try something else. In the meantime I am trying to be positive and eat lots of fruits and veggies and get exercise each day. I want to live, and I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen.

Of course, one of the major things I do in my quest for healing is to pray. I am on many prayer lists, which is wonderful, and I also pray each day for God to grant me the privilege of being one of the very few who survive this deadly cancer. I also thank God for giving me anothe day. 

Thankfully my sweet Bill is retired and can take me to treatments and help me with things around the house. He does most of the cooking now and much of the housework and is just my all around "go to guy." We are also able to take off and have adventures that would not have been possible if he were still working. Honestly, except for this dreaded disease hanging over us, I am enjoying this period of our lives quite a bit. I enjoy being with my husband all the time.

I will close now, but will try to keep up this blog in better fashion. Chemo tomorrow! Let's kill those cancer cells and start living without so much cancer in my body!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Still wounded

It's been nearly 9 years since I was diagnosed with cancer, and I had surgery and have been cancer free since then. So, even though I get anxious when testing has to happen or get the cancer blues once in awhile, I have generally gotten past it for myself. For my grandson, not so much.

My precious Owen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when he was 12, and he just turned 14. He is "clean" and seems very well recovered from his treatment, having grown his hair back with delightful curls and having developed muscles and looking so healthy now.What a blessing!

But the emotional scars are there when I think of what he went through and what might have been. When I watch him play soccer or flag football or run cross country, I marvel at his strength and at the same time I often feel completely weak myself. I would not have survived losing him.

I know his younger brother is still affected very strongly by the experience of Owen being sick, and I hate that for him. Cancer doesn't just physically affect one person. It can emotionally destroy a whole family for awhile, and the wounds don't really ever heal completely, I don't think.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Long time no write!

Wow! It's been a really long time since I posted! I guess that is good in a way, because mostly it's been because I've been busy. This fall I accepted a full time teaching position at my grandchildren's Montessori school. I've been subbing and volunteering there for years, so it's nice to have a regular "gig."

There has been news of more friends being diagnosed with cancer, and the loss of other dear ones. It always lays a heavy burden on my heart. Each time I question why I have been saved, and others haven't. Or why some have such a rough road, and my cancer burden was lighter.

It is almost Relay For Life time again, and I am working busily with our planning committee. Hopefully there will be lots of money raised, and we can help make more progress in the fight against the BEAST.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

And again...

And so I heard in the last week about 1 friend going into hospice care and another former fellow church member who passed away from cancer. Colon cancer, both of them. "My" cancer! I wonder again why some get the worst deal on this, and why others, like me, get the lighter load. And sometimes in the dark of the night I wonder if that's just fool's gold. Did it hit me lightly the first go round? And will it come back to haunt me later?

I mostly believe I'm done with cancer, but then comes the periodic blood work, the colonoscopy, the mammogram (heralded by the letter reminding me that as a colon cancer survivor I'm more at risk for breast cancer). At those times, the worry creeps in, and I thank God for the break I got initially, while pondering whether or not that was a lifetime guarantee.

Thank you, God, for the life I've been given so far. Help me to be grateful for what is to come and not get mired down in doubt and worry.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One of those days

This morning I sat in our church sanctuary and joined others in saying farewell to a very dear man who passed away from cancer. Glancing at the congregation, I saw many who have been through the cancer journey with loved ones. I also saw some who, like me, have stared down the beast. A familiar feeling began welling up inside of me. Why did Cliff not survive his cancer? How did it come to be that he was lying in that coffin, and I was singing in the choir? Why did others out there have to go through much harder trials with their cancer than I did? What did I do to deserve the better fate?

I don't know all the answers, and I am sure survivor's guilt will hit me again at such times. In fact, I spoke with another cancer survivor at the cemetery, and he confided that he was going through the same emotions. God, we don't know. We don't understand. We do thank you for our extra time on earth, and we pray for the others.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Working it out

Okay, okay, okay. I have 2 doctors prodding me to do more exercise and eat less fatty foods. So (drum roll, please!) tonight I decided to do a little jogging. Not much, mind you. Just a little. I went to the track at the elementary school, because I knew there wouldn't be anyone there. I want to get where I can comfortably run a decent amount before I make my street debut. I'm very intimidated about looking like a total goofball.

I plan to run a 5K the first weekend in July. I've participated in 2 previous 5ks, but I mostly walked. This time I want to mostly run!

Pray for me, people. This is WAY out of my comfort zone!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeling vulnerable

I had to go to the dentist this morning, and I was surprised by my reaction to it. When the dentist pushed the chair back, I had that sensation of being very vulnerable. I always get it when I have to lie on an x-ray table, but it surprised me with the chair. There's something about lying back and being still while someone works on me that brings back memories of lying back for so many procedures and tests. I don't go into a full-blown panic attack, but I do have to put myself in a zone so I don't start crying or hyperventilating. Ick...