Monday, January 02, 2012
Angels in Our Midst
Sometimes it gets so hard. The past three years seem like a blur. Austin, Texas presenting at the NISOD conference. Going out with friends. Severe pain, nausea. Trying to get an earlier flight home to no avail. The long flight home. Immediately going to the ER. "You have a large pelvic mass, you need to see your GYN right away." Calling Beni, "do you need me to come home?" "No, I'm not worried." Seeing the GYN. "This isn't anything to dick around with." Seeing the GYN oncologist/surgeon. Scheduling surgery. Being blissfully ignorant that this really could be anything serious. Waking up in incruciating pain. Hearing the words, "ovarian cancer." Starting chemo, every three weeks for 6 months. 98% survival rate. No fears. Truly understanding nausea, bone pain. Finishing the treatment. Being blissfully ignorant of the recurrence rate of ovarian cancer. Feeling back to normal after a year. Climbing hills looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Excruciating pain. Non-stop vomiting. Waiting in the ER for hours. Non-stop vomiting. Being admitted. Non-stop vomiting. CT scans with contrast. "Nothing." Non-stop vomiting. IVs and bursting veins. "It's probably the gall bladder." Gall bladder surgery. Being discharged. Non-stop vomiting. Ambulance ride to ER. Being admitted. Non-stop vomiting. Wondering if I am dieing. Three weeks in hospital, no food, no drinks, just IV. Non-stop vomiting. Certain I'm dieing. Convincing the doctors that something is wrong. DUH! Convincing the doctors to do exploratory surgery on Christmas Eve. "Blockage. Tumor. Intestinal resection." Doctor indicates dismal outcome. Wound infection. Collapsed lung. Watching New Years fireworks from hospital window. Discharge from hospital after almost a month. Recovery. Contacting Mayo Clinic. Setting up appointment. Meeting with new doctors. A week of tests. Scheduling aggressive second debulking and abdominal port. Surgery. More time in hospital. More cancer on kidney and in intestines. IV/IP chemo every 3 weeks for 6 months. Abdominal port removed. December CT scan. "Cancer returned, no cure." Chance of 5 year survival 4%. No longer blissfully ignorant. Sign up for clinical trial in Phoenix. Check with local oncologist for a "plan B." Clinical trial canceled. Plan B. Four months of chemo every other week. Ongoing pain in side. CT scan. "Liver mets increased." Change chemo--weekly for 6 months. CT scan. "Liver mets decreased." Continue chemo same dose every other week. Christmas at home with family. Another New Year. Hopeful no longer in my vocabulary. Nausea is normal. Not having hair-normal. Working and sleeping. Waking up in a panic not able to breathe is normal. Wondering if this is the year.
Somewhere in the blur some new friends find their way into my world. Only a handful of old friends care to deal with chemo girl. I have learned little things mean more. Phone calls, emails, cards. Some how always when needed most. I know they haven't a clue that I've had a bad night, or read more grim statistics, felt a new pain. Somehow the right words or image that lets me breathe in and out once more.
I tried to think of some New Year resolutions. Eat better? Try not to go to bed before 6pm? Remember my vitamins? I don't know, seems like it should be something bigger.
I will appreciate more. The sunny days, trees, flowers, family and those friends who somehow found their way to my world. The friends who stayed old and new. My angels. I will remember to thank God for angels.