I was thinking on my way to work yesterday how the weight of things had lessened a little lately. How I haven’t felt the heaviness of what’s going on as much despite all the appointments, and I’ve actually forgotten anything happened for the most part other than when I look in the mirror and see that little scar they left under my left ear.
At the same time, I have felt myself grasping at straws and searching for someone or something to occupy my time, to distract me, and fill my thoughts so the emotions don’t overtake me. I don’t say that this has been a roller coaster lightly. It’s up and down, and up and back down a little, and then back up followed by a nice, speedy plummet to the bottom.
To follow up this post, genetic testing on Thursday went fine. They sorted through my family history, told us about the implications of the ATM mutation they found in my tumor tissue, explained the followups that will ensue in the years to come starting at age 40 for breast and age 50 for pancreas, took 3 vials of blood to ship off, and sent me on my way thinking I had 2-3 weeks to rest (no appointments) until the results came back and we would know something. Quick, easy, and painless and most of all emotionless.
Since SIM I’ve also known that my 1st radiation treatment was scheduled for Monday 9/11, and they’ve been holding my spot for me until all this unknown genetic testing was sorted out. I had to wait until Dr. Yang (our vice-chair of translational sciences) and Dr. Spencer could talk through things with the genetics department, and by Friday at 3pm they had decided that I would indeed start on Monday.
So, I have 2 days to prepare myself for 6 weeks of treatment.
Earlier this week, I was excited at the thought of having a few weeks of rest and now what was originally expected is back as reality. But I’m trusting in the timing, and celebrating that this actually means I will be able to (somewhat) enjoy birthday cake since treatment will end on October 20 if all goes perfectly as planned, and I think it will, Lord willing.
I’ve finally welcomed the fact that the word “cancer” will probably haunt me the rest of my life. As hard as it’s been, I don’t think I’ve ever had the appreciation for life that I have now. I don’t think I’ve pushed myself this hard or thrown myself into things as 100% as I do these days. I have a new, different passion for people, hearing their stories, and understanding what they’re feeling and where they’re coming from. I’ve met other survivors that have given me hope and hugs, and people I already know whom have walked similar paths have given me pieces of wisdom from their journey to add to my own.
Cancer’s weird. It brings people together and it takes them away from each other. It weaves a common thread through humanity and softens the hearts of those that can find common ground where they might not have otherwise. It brings forth emotions in the emotionless and it grows you up faster than anything else I’ve known. It heals and it destroys, comforts and terrifies, awakens and puts to rest.
Sometimes I feel like I’m running out of new things to say about all this though, and that makes me sad. Something that was so heavy and so emotional and so deeply embedded in my soul just 2 months ago has become so unfortunately normal that I feel less of an urge to dump out my words in rapid fashion in hopes that someone hears my story and my cries for grace and mercy from the Lord as well as His goodness.
Please understand that the nature of this journey hasn’t changed and that I’m no less thankful at this point than I was the day I woke up from my little surgery nap to learn that Glanda was gone and my life had been saved by a scalpel and the brilliant workings of Dr. Carroll and his team. It’s just become what it is and I’ve worked extra hard to swallow any fear that gurgles up and tries to choke me.
I hope you’ll continue to follow the ride and pray alongside us with all that’s to come no matter how boring my updates may or may not be. I’ll try and change it up here and there to keep you enthralled though…see poem from yesterday as my first offering.
So, until next time here’s to pulling a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and being a total miracle child through radiation despite what’s normal.
Let’s do this thang.