The Big C

A journey through Stage Four Cancer

A Little Rain Must Fall

They say into every life, a little rain must fall.  This past week my life has had some showers.  It started nicely enough on a beautiful day when my son offered to take me for a walk around the neighborhood.  On the walk, I saw some unusual flowers, and I asked him to stop.  The flowers were a dark purplish blue with some bright yellow.  They were very small, smaller than flowers people usually plant in their yard.  I thought it would make a nice picture for my blog, so I took out my ever trusty Olympus 820 Stylus and turned it on.  The LCD screen had black lines in it, and the edges of the picture were jagged.  I tried to take a picture anyway, and it came out much too dark.  Not ever being one to give up at a first, or even a twentieth try, I took another picture.  Still to dark.  Well, to make a long story short, the screen image continued to degrade, until my pictures all looked like they were an acid trip from the 1960’s.  The objects I took pictures of were not identifiable.  When I got home, I tried to find advice on the Internet, but instead found out that Olympus would charge $80 to look at my camera before fixing it.  Then they would fix my camera at about a charge of between $150 to $180, which is about the cost of the camera new.  Talk about being bummed!  As a last desperate attempt, I reset everything on the camera and …………………my camera began to work again, taking great pictures.  I thought I had dodged the bullet until I turned on my camera today to take a picture, and the screen was back to being a horror show!

So, I am upset.  I know that my dear husband is not going to want to purchase a new camera anytime soon.  Shouldn’t a camera last more than 6 years?  The lens and all the motors are great, but that doesn’t help the situation.  And I am lost without a camera.

Then, as you recall, I was too sick to go to my last doctor’s appointment.  Today I wasn’t too sick to go to the doctors, well until this afternoon when I found out that my camera is broken I wasn’t sick.  So I saw my oncologist today for the results of my CAT scan.  The results are good, everything looks stable.  The cancer hasn’t grown in my abdomen.  Oh! Here comes another shower!

Because, as I have mentioned before, I have pain in my left groin.  Well a bit of pressing and the talented hands of my oncologist found something.  The CAT scan hadn’t scanned here.  Is it cancerous?  It seems safe to assume so, but he also pointed out that it could be infected lymph nodes, a benign growth, anything.  We don’t know for sure until after I get an MRI and it is read.

Just a little shower.

Yesterday was the end of my novena to Our Lady of Good Success.  You can follow this link for more information about this apparition.  I found it interesting and very relevant to our times.  Perhaps, after this novena to Our Lady of Good Success, whatever is in my groin will be found to be benign and not cancer?

And if it is cancer?  A little more rain will fall.  But like Jesus, the Lord I profess to follow, I must say “But not my will, but your will Father.” Luke 42:22

Thank-you for reading my update!


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The Day After

So here it is the day after, and my head is still swirling.  For all of my resolutions of how I am going to fight this newest attack, for how I am also such a believer in the next world, I find tears in my eyes often.

My emotions are a mess.  I go from being stalwart and chomping at the bit to get to this fight and get past it.  Then I am depressed, because there are no guarantees.  This may be my last battle.  There is no real reason to believe that this will be the last battle but cancer is so sneaky, so underhanded, malignant and vile.  Who knows if another assault is being waged in some other part of my body?

There are no guarantees…………

The chemo oncologist spoke to Nate and I yesterday.  He was very open about what chemo I would be getting.  This time, the chemo will not cause any more numbness to my fingers or toes, which is good, because any more numbness and my fingers would probably be useless except for the most gross of activities.  I am glad for that.  This new chemo will inhibit the tumor from producing any new veins from it, to me, it’s host.  This chemo has side effects of diarrhea and, I will lose my hair again.  This time, it may well be all of it.

I know losing my hair should be the least of my worries, but, I’m not looking forward to it.  I am sort of dreading it.  But not dreading it enough to put off chemo.  Fact is, I think I am becoming one of those people desperate for life, that I will do almost anything  just to be with my children that much longer.

The way that I am handling this second battle surprises me.  I am in turns brave as a lion, and as cowardly as the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz.  I am full of hope, and in the depths of despair.  I am grateful for more time with my children, and fearing what kind of time it will be.

I will have to have a port put back in.  That is not overwhelming agony, but it does make me retreat to an early bedtime just to get away from the pain.  I am fearing to some degree also the chemo.  It is after all a poisoning of my cells, good and bad.  How tired will I be?  How long between treatments will it take me to recover to another ‘new normal?’

In the next two weeks, I will be having an MRI to make sure that the pain in my back is because of pressure from the tumor, and not because of a new cancer onslaught.  Then the port gets to be put in.  And then chemo begins.  My fourth round.

I don’t know for how long.

There are many heroes to this story.  My doctors to start with.  If it wasn’t for Dr Miner who saw something in me (I was unconscious at the time), I would have been dead for two years now.  Dr Safran who thinks so carefully about my chemo.  The team of Miner and Safran are genius!

Then there is my husband.  My journey has meant me staying months in hospitals (notice the s?), being with me as I relearned how to walk, putting up with potty duties when walking to the bathroom was beyond my strength.  He worked all day and then came home to do the laundry, check the schooling, make dinner and drive 120 miles roundtrip almost every day to see me.  Despite rain, sleet, ice and snow.  He doesn’t understand how close I might be to the end of this fight.  I don’t think he will allow that thought.

Mary has cancer again?  We’ll fight it.   She needs chemo again?  She’ll get it.  I have to drive her to chemo sessions 130 miles round trip?  I’ll drive it.   I have to make suppers and do all the house hold chores?  I’ll do it.  Mary needs another operation?  We’ll get through it.  Mary will go into remission and if the cancer comes back again, we’ll go through it all again.  And again if need be.

Too bad Nate can’t be made into a supplement for everyone who need strength to get through the day!

He gets absolutely grouchy at my tears! He allows no defeat, not even in attitude.  Not even in fears!  No quarter given to cancer. None!

The other heroes in this story are my cousin Alice and my long time friend Janet.  They cry with me, they pray for me.  Other heroes are people that I’d never recognize on the street, my long time internet friends and blog readers.

And I am so thankful for all the individuals that make up a huge army that prays for me.

Thank-you all of you soooo much!

What worries me about posting this, is that although it is truthful, it is not all that uplifting.  Will it really help anyone who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer?  May-be.  They’ll see that it isn’t unusual to be afraid or depressed.  To have emotions that are all over the place, and rapidly changing.

The most important thing is to hold onto your faith with two hands and not lose hope.  Where there is life, there is hope!  And miracles still happen, even in this day and age.


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