Thursday, September 18, 2014
The journey begins.........AGAIN!
So the journey begins....again! If you have read my very early writings you will understand that I have made the analogy of a bus trip. I am the driver, and everyone else is a passenger. I often have applied the 'no talking to the driver' rule. That was a few years ago and whether I have mellowed, or maybe just aged and thus too tired to care, I don't feel such a need to control. Not that I plan on letting anyone else drive, but I will probably allow more to sit closer and at times even right behind me. I mean I didn't write my own eulogy remember :)
Some things have not changed though. Yesterday was a difficult day for me on many levels but I got through it. Exhausted but feeling glad that a plan is now in place......always like a plan. So, for many today would probably have been a quiet day of relaxation and reflection. Not me, I cooked! You see when I am really stressed I love to cook. My daughter always claimed that we 'eat the best' when Mom is stressed! So I went grocery shopping, bought lots of vegetables and beans and set about making homemade chicken soup and my 'huge' extra large roasting pan full of chili. It feeds about 22 people. I have no idea who I am going to feed but chopping all those veggies and opening all those cans was certainly a way to work out my frustration. The soup is on the stove and the chili is in the oven, so now I will sit back and reflect.
This journey, although long (13 years) has had many destinations along the way. In the VERY beginning, the main destination was purely survival, any way possible. Also, it was about 'beating this disease forever'. I was at the mercy of the medical society and had nothing to contribute but my consent for whatever they suggested. It worked well at the time and allowed me to live in a fog for long enough to gather strength, faith, and a sense of balance again. I survived, believed in the doctors that where caring for me, and realized that cancer does not need to be a death sentence. Living is about getting up every day and doing just that. I got three years at this place!
The second time, was different. The destination became a little more muddled. I now realized that the disease was not going to just go away. It was back and now I had to figure out what the reality of my life was going to be. It was as if I was officially a member of the club now, where initially I was just dropping by for a short time. Now it became about pushing the cancer back in order to extend my life long enough to continue filling the frames I had set for myself. No longer was I to believe that I would 'beat' this disease, I just wanted to find a way of negotiating with it to go away for awhile again. So I became an active partner in my care. What were we going to do and how were we going to reach this next destination? So, I researched more, listened more carefully, asked more questions, and came to a consensus with my doctors about how we would proceed. It worked.....I got a reprieve for another three years before it raised it's ugly head again.
In 2010, they discovered another tumour. Small but in a place where they had removed one in 2005. So here we go again :( Again, I had to figure out what was this particular part of the journey going to look like. I knew it wasn't going away, I knew that medically it was being characterized as chronic, so that left a whole lot of new questions. Still being a partner, also being very well educated in how this disease progresses, I became more of the director of this destination. I wanted to live a quality of life. Length didn't seem as important. Life was about living in the moment not hoping about what the future might bring. So, this was how I approached my cancer. I wasn't feeling sick, the cancer wasn't causing any problems, lets just watch it and see what happens and decide at some point down the road what we should do. I did ask more questions, I did seek a second opinion, but I also trusted those around me who were the professionals that their understanding of this disease was also evolving on a more universal level. And, so we waited and watched and hey I got four more years of no treatments, and lots of life. And now we have come to the point in the journey where we need to make some decisions.
Well, I have decided, (note that 'I have decided') with the consultation of my oncologist that if he believes this tumour is operable then we should operate. It was my call. The other options were radiation and chemo but for now....lets just get that sucker out. He agreed he would do the surgery and so that is where we are today. Sometime in late October or early November I will have a very difficult and tough surgery. God willing I will wake to fight another day.!
This journey has been very difficult and tiresome at times. It has not been one that I would wish on anyone, nor if given the opportunity to rewind do I believe that it has any redeeming qualities that would make me want to do it over. Cancer sucks, being sick and tired sucks....there are no blessings in those things. I have had many blessings along the way but I am sure I would have had many on any journey I would have taken in life. One of the other options that I seriously considered is not doing anything at all. It was an option, and a tempting one. It is hard to be sick for so many years, even if the physical symptoms are not so bad. Spiritually and emotionally illness takes a toll on a person. It is like always being aware of a shadow following you. Constantly, turning around to make sure it doesn't overtake you. In weak moments, almost feeling like running as fast as you can to get away. I thought about just letting things progress but realized that so many would love to be in my place, that I owed it to myself and to my family to do what I can for a few more moments of life. If it doesn't work, I am at peace. Life has been very good to me and I have many many blessings, and I have done my job as a mother to sending my daughter off into life.........I have done well and have very few regrets.
So climb on board, let me know how close you want to sit, and be prepared for a long and sometimes hairy drive, but know one thing, there will be lots of laughter and joy no matter what happens :)