A few months ago we had a good report from the two year lung cancer regular follow up xray and booked a trip home to visit family later in the year. During the past sixteen months along with regular appointments, ultrasounds, mammograms and scans on my right chest and lungs for abnormalities and possible cancer recurrence, I have dealt with other health concerns : an abnormality in the left breast, a possible melanoma removed from my face, multiple "mystery" chest lesions but this past week "takes the cake" for elevating life out of the mundane.
I like living.
I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow,
but through it all I still know quite certainly that
just to be alive is a grand thing
~ Agatha Christie (1926)
On a Monday ...
First thing Monday a visit with the family doctor for interim results on my two year confirmatory lung CT scan. It was upsetting to hear that the scan picked up new nodules and ground glass attenuation (ground glass opacity) in my lungs.
Result: appointment with the respirologist for in depth analysis and follow up and ...
On a Tuesday ...
Early Tuesday morning we received a sobering email from an old time friend saying that his dear wife had passed away late Sunday evening. I remembered the time when she had her first masectomy and I helped change a surgical dressing, somehow laughing among our tears. After many years, but never enough, the cancer metastacized. She was the most lovely of ladies; joyous, understanding and compassionate, who was much loved and will be missed by her family and many friends.
Words do not suffice, but this was to shadow my thoughts and feelings for the following days
On a Wednesday ...
I recently had an ultrasound on my right breast and we received the report that a "new mass" was found at the site of the previous breast cancer surgery. It was not detected three months ago when having a regular mammogram.
Result: An ultrasound guided needle biopsy in hospital within two weeks
On a Thursday ...
Rays of sunshine and lights in the tunnel - a glorious sunny day of reprieve - a happy day spent with our gorgeous grandsons playing in one of the last warm days of summer. There is nothing to compare with a dose of laughter, fun and games and just spending time with people you love, especially children. Hugs and kisses galore!
Result: A good night's sleep!
May you live all the days of your life ~ Jonathan Swift
On a Friday ...
A long time standing appointment with a new specialist to try and determine what the ever growing chest skin lesions possibly are. A biopsy was taken of the largest of the multiple lesions which have appeared over the past few months.
Results: waiting for biopsy in 10 to 14 days
Cancer is sometimes day by day
After this full and busy week, Friday night was the straw that broke the camel's back as we had news that our upcoming hotel booking for our special holiday was not turning out as we had planned. I know on the grand scheme of things it is nothing but it was the one more thing not needed at the end of a week best described as mostly frustrating, stressful, confusing, and painful leaving me incredibly agitated, anxious and very tired. One of the hardest emotions for me to deal with, besides the lack of medical knowledge, are the constant, ever continuing questions. I fell asleep that night with a prayer for grace and endurance for what is to follow, starting tomorrow with our friend's celebration of life.
I started this note at 4 o'clock in the morning - not my usual warm, fuzzy kind but a reminder to myself, (as if I need it says I) that some days (weeks) are better or worse than others. I continue to think how fortunate I am just to be here and remind myself of the good news in most recent reports and doctors descriptions such as "unremarkable", "no malignancy", skin cancer biopsy result "benign", and not to dwell on this week's not so good news.
I realize that there are many others who are going through much greater trials and tribulations than I am at this time.
Just hang in there. You are not alone. Today is a new day. Cherish what you have. One day at a time.
"One day at a time - this is enough.
Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone;
and do not be troubled about the future,
for it has not yet come. live in the present,
and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering."
~ Ida Scott Taylor
From appointments with both specialists, although changes have occurred there is no evidence of cancer at this time and I am being closely monitored with an ultrasound in 3 months and a lung CT scan in 6 months. Simply, there are no guarantees that cancer will never return - this is a part of the disease ... so it is with much happiness that I am going on holiday to create some beautiful memories.
A personal journey - links to Caramel and Parsley articles over the years:
- Life is full of Surprises - a change of direction
- Evidence for a Healthy Lifestyle - continuing in a healthy direction
- Why you should consider having a PETscan and how does it work
- Early cancer diagnosis from symptoms
- Encouragement from a Cancer "fighter"
- Cancer Radiation and possible side effects
- Does Cancer cause you tiredness and fatigue
- Medical Marijuana as a treatment for cancer - one of 3 articles
- New breast cancer molecule discovered