THE TEMPEST

We all experienced a mix of rain and sun here in Portland, Oregon, but my rain was a tempest of illnesses that hit all at once.

Well, I guess I get my comeuppance for having so many “good days” during this cancer process. Why? Because of the phenomenal weather this year and last, and the “feel good” days, as though I’m a thief making off with gold since the diagnosis of metastatic liver cancer last August.

Because I am immunodeficient following three very successful chemo treatments and resulting low red and white blood counts, it should not be surprising, yet is very discouraging, to have contracted three new illnesses at the same time. Each comes with its own misery, and altogether it overwhelms my usual optimism. I’ve earned pouting rights. So, let’s get to it!

Which came first? The sinus infection or shingles?

They both began around the same time two weeks ago. The sinus infection is very painful in the part right behind my forehead. Because, Dear Reader, you and I know each other pretty well, I will tell you this: The shingles is ghastly. I look like my butt is molding.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Velcro-lined slippers

Velcro-lined slippers

I’ve had neuropathy for a long time now, and is positively making my feet puffy, numb and hypersensitive. It’s like wearing nice, cushy slippers lined with Velcro.

Did you get your flu shot?

Finally, a pretty violent flu took over all else with all classic flu symptoms, but intensified by the other ailments. I don’t get flu shots unless I need ’em. ‘Cause if I don’t my immunodeficient butt get spanked with the flu. There were lots of muscle spasms and pain, twitches, tremors, chills, dizziness, projectile vomiting and foggy brain.

I want to complain so badly (and I have), but really, what can you do?

medication-supplements

Taking the nighttime regimen.
Photograph courtesy Matt

Whine and moan! As soon as you realize you are getting sick, you can’t just halt life and choose a different direction to avoid the illness, you can only sit and wait for the sick train to move in and then submit to it. Medicate? Well, yes, there are remedies, or at least relief meds that will take the misery down a notch or two, such as a flu shot, oh, wait, that didn’t really work for ANYBODY this year. In normal health, I refuse medications and supplements. Boy have I succumbed to that rap! Everyone who gets sick has to go through it, fully.

I am pretty good at taking care of my sick body, even before cancer. I have a knack for it. Because I believe the body’s immunity is really pretty amazing, I believe in supporting it every day. Thus, I’ve studied nutrition and fitness for years out of interest. Not that it gives me any real advantages because even if I follow a pretty strict health protocol, I still have to go through any illness I do get, fully.

The good news: I’m no longer at death’s door. Friday I was more vertical. Today, Saturday, I feel in good humor and know the worst is behind me. The neuropathy is getting better. When I couldn’t keep anything down for three days, I had to stop all meds, including anti-neuropathy supplements for a while. Even ginger beer, a known nausea remedy, failed me. I was malnourished and dehydrated – perfect conditions for an illness to go from zero to sixty in no time flat. I got up to over 103 degree temp, now down to… what? 93 degrees F? Ugh, really? Am I dead? I’m the last to know, always!! HA! Let’s try that again… That’s better. 98.2, more normal.

The sinus infection was really silent, but at its worst I had a headache of shooting pains which refused to submit to all pain relievers I could tolerate taking, for 3 days. I don’t know what migraines are like, I’ve never had one. That’s how I imagine them to feel, but do not want to offend any chronic migraine sufferers. No sleep and debilitating pain with no control. Kind of like that? I don’t know. Can I amputate my head? Please?

Shingles, I’m getting test results back early next week, but treating them now, started as a sore, painful spot on my nether regions, then spread up to my gluteus maximus, now is making it’s way toward my brain!! Not really, but spots are appearing on my back, neck and arm, all on the left side. And the welts are swollen and massively sore because I sit on them!! Can I get a butt transplant?!

boneless_chicken_ranch

I was NOT IN A GOOD MOOD, as my husband will attest! I laid in bed like a boneless chicken. Matt felt so helpless, as did I, but I was just too miserable to care about anything!

I know this is a very self-indulgent post, and I’m sorry for that. I don’t ever complain, so I am taking the stage. I guess I had to celebrate this occasion with a long rant. Since yesterday I am feeling so much better. I’m quite fatigued, and possibly contagious, so I’m going back to my nest for a few more days.

So I will close with a little entertainment: The Eurythmics’ “Here Comes The Rain Again”. It’s such a timeless song, and Annie Lennox is my muse.

Banishing the Tempest! Yay for recuperation!!

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MY HUSBAND, MY WIFE

I awoke this afternoon to a call from Matt at the grocery store, asking what else I wanted besides the items on the grocery list he had. He went down the list and told me what they had, what they were out of, and how the quality was. What he couldn’t find he asked a nearby produce clerk while I listened. Shop completed, he thanked the clerk and told me he’d see me at home soon.

It was just so cute!! I felt so proud and happy. He’s taken my role with grace and no complaints. And it’s hard work, I know, I’ve done it for 6 years in various living arrangements.

This is the job I do for Matt regularly, but in my absence, my husband makes it happen!

obscured_sunset

DISCHARGED!

Yesterday I was discharged from the hospital around 1pm.

Finally, according to my surgeon, my health was stable, I was mobile, eating, pee-ing, and just waiting. He said (and think Barack Obama‘s voice),

“At this point, you’re gonna do better at home… You see, we’re in a hospital where there are lots of people coming in and out all day long. Each person that comes in, raises the risk of infection. At home, you will be more comfortable, you’ll get more rest. Just get on home.”

Did you hear it? Obama’s voice? I did!

Matt took a few detours for groceries and medications on the way home, then he excitedly got to work on chicken soup in the pressure cooker. Remembering a prior conversation about what I really need and want, he made this soup extra brothy for me, and chunky for him, and we could dial our own chicken soup consistency to perfection. And it was soooo gooood! We can’t find that soup anywhere but The End of the Road Café (us).

I overdid it unpacking and helping clean things, but we exhaustedly sat and watched a movie before succumbing to the night. Oh, yes, and then I had a physical, emotional breakdown. Very unpleasant. It actually started in the hospital the day before. Crying, lots of crying, frustration that things weren’t going my way, fear that I wasn’t recovering properly. At home, it just boiled over, and I was overwhelmed with tears for a few hours, for no reason. That must be the pain pills.

Over night I slept like a rock until 3am. I woke and felt like a spayed cat, unable to move but laboriously, and I felt every inch of that incision. I got up and took 3 Ibuprofen to take the edge off, and fell asleep. At 5:30am I told Matt to get me a couple of the prescription pain pills. By the pain scale, I was 8 or 9. Fortunately, that’s all it took and I was asleep again. That is pain you don’t want to meet face to face. It steals your soul.

But the darned narcotics; no sign of a bowel movement!

portland_ohsu_hospital

POST-OP DAY 3: Sleeping Bowels

Today, Sunday, I began feeling alert, Post-op Day 3.

Ah, wellness! I’m starting to come out of the fog; anesthesia flushing from my brain and system! No more IV fluids. More tests passed, more tubes removed. Right now, for example, I’m only hooked up to my iPhone. More and more, the hospital staff are leaving me alone (not that they weren’t all lovely people, I just wasn’t in the mindspace to make friends), and I will probably be free to go home tomorrow, the 12th. Poor Matt went home with a terrible cold which cropped up after his flu shot, so we are currently ambulating in different places. Boy did he miss me!

So, why am I still in the hospital? There is one last thing that I hope will not turn into a major complication. My bowels are still not passing anything, liquid or solid. In 2012 this same thing happened a couple of times after surgeries. My sleeping bowels took an incredibly long time to wake up, from days to weeks, and it is frightfully uncomfortable. I was ill-advised at that time to start eating “whatever I want” immediately following surgery, and that resulted in lockdown of my bowels.

This time I knew better, so I stuck with a liquid diet for the first three days.

The staff has advanced me to solids foods, but while I could use the nutrition, I’m afraid of compaction!cactus on rock wall

D-DAY: Down to Business

OHSU-Kohler-Pavilion

OHSU-Kohler-Pavilion

Matt got us to the hospital on time for D-Day,

…in spite of OHSU’s confusing, hilltop campus. It’s astounding; can you believe they built a hospital up here? It was quiet, dark and cold at 5:30am. I arrived clean (inside and out, thanks to that special body soap) and dressed simply and purposefully. Matt & I were a team, at times a comical duo, and in spite of the D-Day reality of the procedure, it was little worry to us as we bustled to gather belongings we would need at the hospital for about 5 days.

wet_dog_nose

Wet dog nose

After admitting, the nurse took me back to the pre-op waiting room and gave me moist, medicated towels that I was supposed to meticulously rub over my whole body. It felt like dog nose on the skin because when it dried, there was still an invisible tacky residue. “I’ve never, ever been this clean,” I thought.

Cancer_Institute_Team

Knight Cancer Institute Team

Each one of the surgical team came in at different times to introduce themselves, describe course of action for this procedure, the potential complications and answer questions. The procedure would last 5 hours, including:

1) Resection of two tumors on the outer tips of two lobes of the liver

2) Visual exam and surgical fondling of the whole liver to check for unusual masses or spots.

3) Finally, an ultrasound of the liver to look closer and deeper into the tissue than the hand and eye can.

And then I would wait in the recovery room for an hour or more for monitoring before I could see anybody, then I will see Matt and my parents before getting moved to my recovery unit. After that I will either go to the ICU (intensive care unit) for over-night observation (pretty routine in liver cases, but not always necessary), or I will go to a regular old room. IV’s placed, then the Anesthesiologist, a big teddy bear with jovial grin, went over his whole procedure.

All set to go

Matt & I said our goodbyes, and I was wheeled gently back to the OR (operating room) where the whole team was bustling about confidently getting ready for this complicated surgery. Some were familiar from the prep room, and others were introduced to me as they helped me shimmy to the operating table, and I faded out.

Again, both Matt and I have been through this more than we care to discuss, so a whole lot of mystery has been cleared up by our personal experience. We knew what to ask, and to some extent, what decisions to make.

Later on

I learned that the procedure was simplified because there was nothing new and unusual found in the liver, the chemo and complimentary treatments shrank the tumors down so he could remove the tumors with “good margins” (tissue surrounding the tumor is taken in case cancer cells traveled outside the tumors, and still leave large portion of my liver!

OHSU-Kohler-Pavilion-terrace

Many walks along this terrace

From Recovery, I was moved into a regular old room! But I guess it was not in the cancer ward, so the second night I was moved up to be among my kin. Not a stellar view, but where this hospital is situated, all kinds of cool weather effects happen all the time. I saw a double rainbow, lots of rolling fog banks between the trees and buildings, what a great place for pictures! The food is pretty good (!!), my expectations were low, so I am very impressed. Matt stayed one more night, and the lack of privacy drove him nuts, he couldn’t sleep, and he felt a cold coming on. But he was so gung ho to be my personal caretaker! Jeez, really, there will be plenty of time for that at home, Sweetie. So, we decided the hospital could take care of me, and my husband could be his own wife and recuperate at home.

A successful D-Day down and behind me! Each day is easier, and I can see progress. As long as I can pass gas by tomorrow, I can go home.

Tee hee. Truly, that’s what I’m waiting on.

POST-HOLIDAY PRE-OP

Finally, the Post-holiday pre-op I’ve been waiting for!

Although the whole month of December was my month off of any heavy-duty treatments, the month flew by! I made sure to participate in everything I could during that month, including a showing of my art photography, a final round of chemo, lots of family events, a spontaneous Christmas dinner and New Year dinner at my house. Inevitably, I was way too stressed out.

cancer-supplements-spreadsheet

Keeping track of supplements!

Then, about two weeks before surgery,Dr. Elena Panutich, my complementary care oncologist, gave me a diet and supplement order to help me tolerate the surgery, and to help with recovery afterward. I was able to find most supplements that I needed through the medicinary staff at NCNM (National College of Naturopathic Medicine), and created a spreadsheet to keep track of them. I joined a gym and started yoga once per week and had a personal trainer consultation. With surgery day advancing, I did a 2-day colon cleanse diet, then a 2-day low residue diet, then a clear liquid diet the day before surgery. The holidays were just a near memory, but I still had holiday obligations, so no time to sit around! I felt good and strong and ready.national college of naturopathic medicine

Then on Sunday before D-Day, I caught a cold. Could I avoid the cold, or could I at least be completely over it before Thursday? Fortunately, Monday and Tuesday were the worst of it, Wednesday I probably wasn’t contagious any more, and by Thursday morning I felt ready again!

Wednesday January 7th, Matt & I went into the OHSU clinic for pre-op testing and meet with the surgeon, Dr. Billingsley. I passed all the physical tests (EKG included). The doctor seemed quite confident in the success of the procedure.

So long as we got to the hospital the next day, I could relinquish responsibility for my self-care to the surgical and hospital teams knowing I did MY best.

MRI DAY – WHAT ARE THOSE STRANGE SOUNDS?

Here we are at Thanksgiving! The weather in Portland, Oregon is pleasantly overcast, mild and dry. I am ALL KINDS OF EXCITED for Thanksgiving weekend’s activities! Seeing the long-lost extended family at dinner tomorrow, then catching up with friends on the weekend, should be enough for the sick lady! Lately, the cache of social activities is pretty anemic, so bring on the holidays!

Matt spent today happily at work in the yard making improvements, building and organizing, his favorite things to do. I had an MRI. And let me tell you about that!

mri-colorectal-cancerIn spite of dropping cancer tumor markers, there is ever more to worry about. Beyond recent CT and blood tests Dr. Look requested that I do an MRI to “get some further definition”, because of a few new, unusual spots in my liver. Although he did not show concern, I decided I’d better go ahead with it. So, we’ll see what those are when the results come back in a few days.

Today was the MRI. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the nice thing is they use no radiation, but magnetic fields and radiowaves to create the image of my liver! My, how well-documented my body will be after all this.

It was surprisingly easy, when compared to the prep for other more miserable exams. There was a 4-hour fast before the exam, I could wear my street clothes (sans any kind of metal). I was a little nervous that there was some metal implant I’d forgotten about from one of my previous procedures, and I thought back… no, I was ready. An IV was placed in my arm and headphones on for music (I chose the news), the contrast solution was injected and I listened as the live vocal prompts interrupted the news broadcast and the table slid in and out of the tube with me on it. What a crazy experience! It took an hour or so for a sequence of inhale-hold exercises while the MRI machine wailed an impressive variety of short electronic boops and beeps.

Besides that, today there is still some lingering muscle and mental fatigue and an occasional upset stomach. If it gets empty, it gets upset. I’ve noticed something since being on chemotherapy. Taste for food tends to rotate in phases. One problem with chemo is it damages taste buds and skews the flavor of foods. Foods that were my favorite before (like, everything) now make me nauseous just to think about. Not only that, the association of how food tasted while on chemo can haunt a patient long after chemo is finished. So, I guess if I was going to diet, now would be the time because I won’t know what I’m missing!

ON THAT NOTE, HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE! May it be a day to relax, reflect and be grateful.

CHEMO IV

Round IV of Chemo – the lead up and follow up.

11/4/14 Tuesday

I’m anticipating the next chemo round coming up later this week. I feel very good. Not 100%, but I can do anything I need to, I can and want to exercise, I’m productive, and I’m eating healthy portions! On the other hand, I notice less energy, fatigue more easily, phantom nausea 1ce/day or so, and I’m very foggy (losing train of thought in conversations, etc). Photography is coming along as a new hobby. Even though I am fond of my images, I am still trigger shy about ordering any prints. My mind tells me that as soon as they get blown up to actual art piece size, they will turn hideous compared to what’s on my computer screen. But that’s just paranoia.

Marijuana legalized today. This is very good omen for all the dispensaries out there!

11/6/14 Thursday

Chemo Day, Round IV

Yesterday Matt and I used as a fun day! Starting with a noon-time movie at Lloyd Cinema with dear friend Frank, we saw a great movie called “St. Vincent”. Casting was excellent (starring Bill Murray), story excellent, great humor, drama, relationships and unpredictable. I love a good movie, period. Then Matt & I drove Frank downtown, and he left to do his errands, and Matt & I walked around downtown admiring the energy, buying coffees, watching and chatting with people on the street corners. Then on to dinner with my parents. We took a walk after dinner in my old neighborhood to the park to play on some fun, new playground equipment. It was really a wonderful, relaxed day, with little thought for the Chemo session the next morning.

At the chemo session I got my vitals tested and port prepped and visited my oncologist. He could already tell me the results of the blood test, and blood cell counts look low, but safe, so we could continue with chemo. We discussed the changes in the IV to avoid the nausea for this round. He cautioned that at this point (round 4) my bone marrow is getting fatigued and is not producing blood cells, red or white, as quickly as before. This will affect my immunity, so I must be extra cautious about germs in public places. I also learned from my nurse that my exuberant attempts to gain weight when I feel well and hungry are not all necessary, and this is because the IV’s I’m given are chock full of calories to help boost my energy and tolerance of the medicine. No wonder I am gaining weight instead of losing it! …Foiled again!!

11/7/14 Friday

Community Acupuncture Day! I was a bit slow this morning, the day after chemo day. Nausea started last night, but fortunately I was able to get ahead of it with a few vial puffs of the medical marijuana vaporizer pen. It makes my lungs hurt and tastes horrible, but then there wasn’t a nausea problem. Until the toke, I was kind of a waste upstairs in bed. I ate a lovely meal that Matt cooked, and we watched a really good vampire movie. An aside: Aside from the vampire theme, which I’m guessing by now everyone is tired of (at least, I can speak for myself), this movie starred some wonderful, yet lesser known, actors. The movie was surprisingly thrilling, suspenseful and sweet with good relationships; another good one! (Called, “Let Me In”). Because of a vampire/witch novel gifted to me by Bonnie Bennett, a long-time, dear family friend, I could catch Matt up on the background of vampires and witches as I knew it, which gave the movie more depth and understanding. Matt was really pleased that I knew about vampires.

Today I had acupuncture, and I felt very relaxed while there. Afterward, I learned from Dr. Look’s office that my cancer marker is down since last month. A drop from 48 to 19.2 points, so it’s dropped over half in a month! The combination of the chemo, the medical marijuana oil, the nutrient support IV therapy, the cancer-fighting supplements, all must be working! High five! Do you hear that, Mary in New York?

I feel good today, spunky, energetic, yet not up to normal. I came home from the grocery store and did some cleaning, made pancakes (for lunch. Funny cravings during times of crisis!), Matt walked in for a short visit and remarked on the aroma of food and how much he loves that and loves me. I spent some time weeding in the garden for some fresh air. Now I am writing in bed with a cup of strong tea.

No nausea to complain of to this point, but then there’s always tomorrow…

POUR SOME CHEMO ON ME*

*Just a little ‘80’s metal mood. 

First of all, let me tell ya –

Don't get sick in the Fall

Don’t get sick in the Fall

Don’t get sick in the Fall. Everyone you need help from is on vacation then. Just FYI.

Gawd. It’s taken way too long since the diagnosis of the cancer recurrence (Aug 25th-ish) to get a surgeon chosen, get an oncologist and to get started on the treatments. Although I was waiting a whole two weeks for appointments with the oncologists I wanted to meet due to lengthy September vacations (and who can blame them?), luck happened and late last Friday afternoon Dr. Look (my original Portland onc) called to make sure I am getting my needs met. Turns out that HE is NOT on vacation and IS available to start my treatments after an appointment the following Monday.

So today I met Dr. Look for the outlay. He says chemo will be the same treatment no matter which oncologist I opt for. He is also open to collaborating with a complimentary care physician (naturopath).

Regimen:

The combination therapy he described is 3-4 different drugs, Oxaliplatin, 5FU pump, Leucovorin, and I think FOLFOX, too. To infuse all of these, they will install a port, a small device set underneath the skin on my upper chest with a catheter that connects to a vein where all intravenous chemicals/fluids can go in and blood samples can be drawn as needed. I will wear a pump for two days after each infusion (talk about a ball-and-chain), then have it removed for the remainder of the two week cycles. At about 2 months, I take a break from the infusions, and have the surgery, then resume chemo after a healing period. The remaining duration of the infusions will be determined by results from CT scans.

Side Effects:

The first treatment is likely to be the worst, and the first few days, especially, for nausea, neuropathy (tingling and cold sensitivity in extremities, mouth), some hair loss (but not necessarily all of it), diarrhea, anemia, other unpleasantness.

When will I begin:

This Wednesday they will install the port at the hospital, I will go home the same day. Wednesday night I take a class on chemotherapy (!!) – and it’s 2 hours! Ugh, I hope they make it fun, especially since it’s the same day I have the port surgery. Then the very next morning, Thursday, I get a pump hooked up and the first of the infusions at the oncology clinic. Saturday I will have it removed for the remaining two weeks until the next infusion.

I am working out a meeting with the complimentary care physician now, and will post an update on that soon.

So, here goes!get-the-ball-rolling

GOOD NEWS OR BAD NEWS FIRST?

Which do you want to hear first, the good news or bad news?

Now that I’ve learned definitively that I have a recurrence of cancer in my liver, that I am not “in remission” anymore, that I’m facing a new episode including surgery, chemotherapy, tests, hospitals, nurses, complications, recoveries… setbacks.

“Oh my God – What the FUCK?… I mean… what the FUCK!!?” Chris, my brother-in-law, echoed the disbelief already in Matt’s and my minds when we told him over the phone of the new diagnosis. We saw him and his daughters off to the airport just yesterday, after a weekend of sunshine and great sunset meals and river playing. Everyone one was healthy and fine yesterday. Today is grim business for just us two.

Matt and I have been through this once before. Getting the diagnosis, calling doctors, family, insurance, researching everything the doctors told us for hours and worrying about what’s ahead. The difference is that this time I have WAY better insurance (thank you Obamacare!), being more familiar with the process, we are better at putting the dysfuctional worry aside. Still, at bedtime the worry and unknown inevitably come back in the dark and worms around in our minds for hours.

I always take THE BAD NEWS first:

So the back story is, per doctor’s orders, I maintain quarterly blood tests, coordinating with my oncologist in Santa Monica whom I have worked with for 2 ½ years. I saw him last in January 2014. I also maintain annual colonoscopies and CT (Computed Tomography) scans per my new gastroenterologist’s orders. All have shown good results, and to my knowledge I have been in remission for over two years. Back with the original 2012 diagnosis for colorectal cancer, I had a CT scan reveal two liver cysts which concerned the doctors that they could be metastases from the rectal tumor, yet they could also be innocuous, a normal liver cysts that lots of people have, a reaction to birth control pills or some other chemical, which are unlikely to become threatening. The 2012 PET scan showed that these spots were of no concern.

*Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a test where a radioactive isotope introduced in the blood stream shows thermal “hot spots” where active cells appear illuminated in the results, whereas CT, or CAT, scans use a large number of 2-D radiographic images to create a 3-D image of the inside of the body.

Last week, during my second annual colonoscopy check-up, I had a precancerous polyp removed from my colon. Nothing unusual or concerning, these are common and easily removed with no further action needed. The CT scan, a few days later, showed two “nodules”, or solid masses, which were new since last year. This result combined with the most recent blood test revealed elevated CEA levels (a cancer marker), caused my GI concern. He ordered a PET scan and recommended an oncologist appointment to discuss the results. Anxiety!

The scan was on Friday afternoon. When Matt and I showed up for the exam, we were surprised to find that it was a full-body scan. Was this a mistake? The spots were on my liver, after all. But it made sense even before it was explained; of course, if the cancer could spread to my liver, then it could also spread to the lungs, the brain, the bones, anywhere. I happily did the PET, then went home thinking, this is all a big joke and they’ll see that it’s nothing! Just the same old cysts, maybe they haven’t looked at this year’s and last year’s scans side by side? I’m healthy and happy in my life now.

Then there was a bleeping holiday weekend and most offices were closed on Friday, and all offices were closed on Monday, and it was hard to get a hold of any doctors or staff to ask questions, even to make appointments. Ok, so I got an appointment with the oncologist for Tuesday, thank goodness. All we wanted to know now was what the PET results were.

liver

The PET showed very clearly hot spots where the two liver nodules were (meaning activity, meaning cancer!!). Do you know how big a liver is? I really had no idea. It’s pretty huge! Anyway, there’s one nodule on the left and one on the right. The one on the left (or my right) is 3x3x4 cm, and the other is 2.5cm.

Holy lordy lord! That sounds really big to me. Considering we are talking one year ago that there was nothing but the cysts, and the CEA level in the blood was not alarming until now, either, these nodules sound really unreasonably large. Listening to what the doctor was telling me, all the worries I’d had during the night over the past weekend were coming back, and as I tried to focus on his words, I was intensely aware of my heart rate and how sharp my awareness was. Especially for Matt, who I knew was sitting next to me sweating outwardly and panicking inwardly.

THE GOOD NEWS IS:

frowny-face-high-blood-sugarThe nodules are compact and “localized” meaning they will be easily removed with surgery, and I will “still have a lot of liver left”, said the doctor. “Oh good!” I thought, although I like my whole liver, ayayay… frowny face.

There are no other occurrences than the two liver nodules.

The cancer has not proliferated throughout the liver, in which case they wouldn’t even attempt surgery, just attack with lots and lots of chemo.

So, I guess for a bad scenario, it could be worse! The recommendation of Dr. Look, the oncologist is to operate immediately to get the cancer out, and then they will know exactly what kind of cancer they are dealing with and will design a chemotherapy for it. This one will likely be systemic rather than targeted, so I’ll be shopping for wigs and warm headwear.

Now, I do have a second opinion with another oncologist scheduled for later this week, so, more to come.

Oh, my poor Matt. When we met I was the perfect picture of health and vitality. I had few needs, was a great friend, partner, lover, playmate, I added value to his life by being his foundation, loving unconditionally and taking care of anything he needed the best way I could. Now I feel like a real bummer! A disappointment. I expected that I would be healthy and strong into old age, take care of my darling husband, my parents, anyone else who needed me, and I’m being taken care of, now, in my 40s. Although I am staying positive, it’s hard not to not go to the dark places.

What the heck is my body doing? This is completely out of the plan! Not that there was a “plan” per se. I feel alienated from my body, like it’s letting me down, mysteriously letting illnesses get in, getting weak. But it’s my body. It’s life. And just when I was getting everything back in sync, seeing a NP, a Naturopathic Physician, who is helping me reestablish an equilibrium with diet and lifestyle, peace of mind, etc. Sometimes, she said during a recent appointment, these diseases are not caused by immediate environment, or just the previous generation or two. These diseases can go back 3-4 generations to the conditions our ancestors experienced and telegraphed through the generations. Also, as was brought to my attention,that the ancient Egyptian remains show evidence of cancer.

Makes sense to me, because how could some of the healthiest people still get terminal illnesses? The answer is, it’s beyond them. This notion, at least, allows me to believe I really didn’t do anything “wrong”, and I can blame my ancestors. Hee hee. Small comfort.

Good news and bad news aside, ONWARD! A new chapter begins.

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