This picture is me in my natural state. Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised by that. I had 7 visitors in the hospital last week (plus Dara) and we were so raucous and loud we got in trouble twice (although honestly the nurses loved it). More on that later.
First, my update… It’s Friday and we are celebrating that it was the first normal week. Week 1 – hospital and diagnosis. Week 2 – bad, scary reaction to chemo. Week 3 – UTI, and emergency admission to the hospital for a blood clot in my lung. This week, it was labs, my first dr. appointment, and chemo – no emergencies! That is exciting. My friend Allie shaved my head over the weekend and thankfully I have a normal shaped head with no big lumps or divots. I am still losing the stubble and ready for a smooth head. Currently it is much like a large Velcro patch, sticking to all cloth items and attracting random threads and lint 24 hours a day. It’s quite lovely.
The doctor appointment went well – Dr. Benigno is a fantastic doctor who encourages the most positive outlook. I love his attitude. When I asked him about how best to be educated without getting into a bunch of statistics I’d like to avoid, he said “you meet with me once a month and you bring me every single question or topic you’d like to discuss and I will educate you.” Perfect answer. For those inquiring minds, here are some of the details from the doctor visit… The tumor marker from bloodwork that is related to ovarian cancer is CA 125. Mine was 1368 upon diagnosis. He wants to see it under 20. I thought 1368 sounded high but he said he has seen it in the 10,000 range. It will be interesting to see what it is after a month of chemo – should have that in the next week or so. The types of tumors I have are papillary cirrus – according to him, the type that is most responsive to chemo. Yay! My surgery will be scheduled likely late in October, maybe early November and they will remove whatever tumors are left along with my uterus, tubes, ovaries, appendix, lymph nodes, and omentum (yeah I had to look it up) – so basically everything that is non-essential in the area and could be a risk for recurrence. The most amazing thing is that if the chemo works well, then it’s possible this could all be done robotically, dramatically reducing my hospital stay and recovery period, so that’s our focus now.
Back to my natural state. Clearly, everyone reacts differently to a diagnosis like this. I’m beginning to wonder if most are different from me. I look around the infusion center and most people are very sad. It’s just not how I’m built. I was raised with a strong faith in God in a home that believed in prayer. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and for those that don’t pray, for the healing thoughts and love sent my way. I know it works. I meditate and pray every single day. Add to that a healthy dose of glass-half-full attitude with which I was born, and I am really at peace with where I am right now. People who see me or talk to me on the phone seem surprised by my energy and my zest for life. It’s just me – it’s how I live my life. Listen, I have good days and not so good days, with very few bad days mixed in so far. How is that different from any of you? My bad days are different perhaps, but maybe no worse than yours. Do I have moments of fear? Absolutely. Have I allowed myself to go down the “what if” paths? Sure. But I don’t stay there. I can’t give them power. Some might say I’m in denial. I’m okay with that. I deny all the negative thoughts about this journey. I’m not a statistic so I don’t care what they say. When I am receiving chemo, I used to visualize a small army coming in through Gladys The Power Port to wage war on the cancer cells. Then I decided I didn’t like the violent imagery and instead began to visualize being flooded with pure Love and Light. And where that goes, it drives out all darkness and not-love. Every. Single. Time.
I believe in the divine healing that is taking place in my body. And if down the road something changes in my prognosis, I will still choose to live my life out loud, drinking up every single bit of happiness and joy I can absorb. Because that’s who I am. So, pray me up hard, love me up hard, visit, email, call, and write to tell me you’re thinking of me because that helps me stay in this place of love and healing, but please don’t respond to me like I’m distressed and depressed because I’m dying, because that’s just not where I am with it.