I have been processing information for the last few days, trying to figure out how to put it into words. The beginning of this journey was hard to grapple with, but as we learned more solid information our shoulders started to release, just a bit. I am a planner at heart, I love knowing what is ahead, and I started to feel okay with things once we had a plan. I set my sights for summer 2018 being the time when I would be my shiny new self and my family would get a chance to get away. Our year of agony, pain, suffering, toxic medicine, helplessness, surgery, sadness would be over. Granted, once you start the cancer journey I don’t know if all of these things ever truly go away, but you learn to live with them and manage your life moving forward.
It is also amazing how God loves to give you a sign that you are not in control. Here I thought I had it all figured out and could truly start planning my summer away from the Texas heat…and boy was I wrong.
Thursday, we met with my oncologist to go over the pathology report, she was thrilled about my clear margins, but then started talking about me taking more chemo after radiation. My mind started spinning, and I tried to fight back tears as I could see my light at the end of the tunnel…my lighthouse in Charlevoix disappearing from view.
The good news: my margins are clear, the four lymphnodes that were removed showed there was cancer, the treatment was effective and killed it.
The bad news: there are still live cancer cells in my lympnode pathways and fatty tissue. Those cannot be removed; radiation therapy should take care of all of that. BUT, my oncologist recommended going on Xeloda after radiation…a chemotherapy pill. I won’t lose my hair, but there are other side effects (learning more soon). She wants me to go on 6-8 rounds, two weeks on, taking two pills a day, and one week off. This would equal about six months on these chemo pills.
At first all I could think about is my summer vacation disappearing. How everything would now be pushed back. My “one year” of suffering would now be stretched longer than that. I know I should be focused on my health and I am. Clearly if there is anything I can do this year to avoid cancer from reoccurring, then of course I am going to be all in. Like any mind-blowing news, it takes a while for it to truly sink in, marinate and make peace with it. Once my mind gets set on something it is hard for me to adjust. I am adjusting.
I trust my doctor, she knows how scary my tumor was when we started down this road. She is smart, proactive and caring. I know she wants me to live to be in my 90s and is trying to do everything in her power to make that happen. This whole road is full of uncertainty, there are no more required scans to check and see where cancer may have shown up, they rely on my symptoms, how I feel. THAT can give anyone a nervous breakdown. So, I just have to cling to my faith, live right, live full and love with all my might.
Radiation should start the week of December 18th and I have to focus on that for now. Trying to make this Christmas as special as possible for our girls. To have experiences, laughter and remembering the true reason for the season. Thank you all for your consistent love, encouragement, support and prayers.