I’m a fighter, not a coward

I passed the halfway mark of my current chemo regime this week.  I had my 46 hour pump disconnected today and learned that my tumor markers went up again, by about 20 points.  It’s not an astronomical increase, but not the news I wanted.  I’ve been trying not to freak out over this development.  On the one hand, right after I began this particular chemo combo my markers went up and then steadily decreased, so this could be another fluke.  On the other hand, my markers began going up when my original chemo regime stopped working.  And then all the cancer we worked so hard to kill came back.

So, when I go back for my next treatment (8/9), we’ll test again.  If the markers rise instead of decline, we do a switcheroo and pick a new chemo to kill what we have left.  The great news is that if this chemo has now failed, we have caught it early and we can hit the cancer hard with something new. 

I took a long, warm bath and prayed.  I asked for a continued healing from God, but most of all, I asked for Him to give me peace, to take away my fear.  I hate fear.  It’s counterproductive and it makes me feel weak and helpless.  I’m not.  I’m bigger than this cancer, I have way more friends, and I have God and medicine at my back.  I’ve fought way too hard to give up to fear.  God, if you’re listening, thanks for the boost.  When I was baptised recently, I was given 2 lives, not just 1.  He gave me a new life here on earth, and I feel that difference.  I’m nicer to people, I notice more things about the world, and I appreciate what I have.  As I was laying there in the bathtub, alone with my tears and God, I noticed that the gray tile in my brand spanking new bathroom reminds me of the clouds I envision in Heaven.  The beautiful light green glass tile that accents the shower and bath reminds me of sea glass.  It’s just so peaceful. 

So, I got some peace and then I got my fight on.  I will fight this piece of crap cancer until I can’t physically fight anymore.  And I’m far, far from that.  You’ve got another week and a half until I know for sure if my chemo stopped working.  And then you’re gonna get hit, pal.  I don’t mess around….

And boy, were my arms tired…..

So I flew to Atlanta for the weekend to visit my brother and dad.  Weather was apparently stormy in Atlanta so no flights in or out – we circled La Grange until we ran out of gas and then diverted to Huntsville to fuel up with more petrol.  Then we tried again for Atlanta.  What should have been a 2.5 hour flight was over 5.  Them’s the breaks.  I’d rather land in Huntsville for gas than crash because of storms.

In other news, we closed on our new condo this week.  Thus begins everyone’s favorite task:  moving.  But it’ll be worth it – I love our new home.  Bright, airy and the biggest bonus:  a gas range.  I have despised the apartment’s electric stove.  Yahoooo, home sweet home.  Everyone, hope you have a great weekend….

Let’s Play a Game!!

Quick, what do these things have in common??

  1. Popsicles
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Smoothies
  4. Any Drink Colder Than Room Temp

Time’s up – do we have a winner?  The answer is:  stuff I cannot consume right now because I’ve got neuropathy from one of my chemo drugs.  It would be kind of cool in a freaky way if it wasn’t so darn inconvenient.  Basically, when I consume anything cold (or touch anything cold), I get pins and needles.  So if I eat some ice cream, wherever the ice cream touches in my mouth, it feels like a zillion little needles poking me all over my tongue, cheeks, etc.  Same thing happens if I touch something cold, like grabbing the gallon of milk from the fridge.  It’s worse in the day or so following chemo.  About the time it wears off, it’s time for another treatment.  This is especially delightful right now in the summer, when it’s about 700 degrees outside and I’d like to enjoy a sno cone with the hubs and Blane.  Nope, I just get to look longingly at their treats while I enjoy a luscious bottle of room temperature water. 

I’ll take it though.  Whenever I face something that hurts, I always tell myself it’ll be a finite amount of pain.  Things can only suck for so long.  Childbirth, jogging, really bad movies, etc.  I can deal with this for now knowing that the payoff (die cancer, die!) is worth the side-effects.  Doesn’t mean I won’t whine now and then though…..

Wow, what a perspective…

So I just read an article that Glen Beck (I guess he’s a conservative pundit; forgive me mother for not knowing) has an ocular condition that may blind him.  His thought on the subject:  “Lord, if you need my eyes, they’re yours. They’ve been yours the whole time, anyway.  Thank you for letting me see as far as I have.”

I’m pretty awed by that sentiment.  It’s not easy to think that way.  Usually, when I’m praying, I slip in something along the lines of, “maybe you can hold off a little without me,” or “can you hire a temp until you absolutely need me??”

Numero Uno

 

So this is it!  You made it here – maybe you’re wondering why??  I started this blog, I suppose, to document what I believe is a new life.  It certainly is different from the one I had before September 2009.  It was then I was diagnosed with Stage IV cholangiocarcinoma, a rare (and let’s be honest:  sucky) form of cancer.  I couldn’t have tripped over a stack of money, no.  I had to get this.  So what do you do when you’ve been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and you’re the mother of a young child, the wife of a stellar (I hope you’re reading this, babe) husband? 

I’m hoping lots of stuff!  When I feel myself getting nervous about the unknowns fighting such a disease, I remember that people die every day for any number of reasons – they could be 80 years old or 8.  Life has no guarantees, so at this point, my mantra must be live every day as if you didn’t have this mess.  Certainly a work in progress….

Anyhow, I was thinking of what to title this blog, and lately, I’ve been missing diving a whole lot.  Before my diagnosis, I LOVED diving.  It was a great escape for me and Lee – no matter what was going on in life, being underwater was like making time stand still for a while.  I only focused on what amazing thing was on the next coral head, how much air I had left, and how I could breathe just a liiiiiiitle bit less so I could stay under longer.  Since September, I obviously haven’t been diving, and I miss it.  A lot.  So, I frequently visit my favorite SCUBA sites (yep, I’ll probably post links to individual sites with permission so you can get a taste of what I miss so much) and look at pics and videos, hoping it’ll satiate my need for the colors, the anticipation, the Rice Krispies sound of our underwater world. 

But then, I thought of another kind of diving, and it all kind of made sense.  Sure, I was one of those people that gets hit with something really crappy and turned to God.  Since I’m new to Christianity, this is a journey for me, and I thought of a book I read in the past year called The Shack.  It references someone’s relationship to God and says that “with respect to God, Mack is no longer just wide, he has gone way deep.  But the dive cost him dearly.”  Well, in the end, my dive will likely cost me dearly as well (as in taking a dirt nap), but I hope that until it does, I continue to go deep with God.  So really, it makes sense.  Maybe right now I’m giving up one kind of diving for another.  Maybe at some point I can do both.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.