So yesterday I had an oncologist visit. Then yesterday afternoon I was in a processing, thinking, stressed, frustrated, trying not to cry in front of my kids kind of mood (you know what I mean, right?!?!) Well, anyway, I was just trying to focus on something, anything other than my situation and so I checked facebook and several of my friends had posted this video saying "watch this if you need a pep talk!" So, go ahead, watch it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o It is too cute and my favorite part is at the very end where he dedicates his video to his friend Gabbi that is "Fighting Cancer like a BOSS!" I love it. If you didn't watch his video then you won't get the title of this blog either! So, go watch, I'll wait...
Anyway, back to that oncologist visit. I know this isn't new news but for some reason it just hit me yesterday... HARD.
First, I went to my appointment alone. I know I know, I have lots of people that would go with me, but it wasn't an MRI appointment. Just blood work (and I do that every single Monday so that's routine for me) and a visit with the doctor about my month and what's the plan for next month. Oh and what I call sobriety testing... really they are checking on my brain and reflexes but if you were looking through the window while I walk up and down the hall and touch my nose and repeat a list of words (yesterday's were: frog, bicycle, and apple) and spell words like train forward and backward then you would be wondering if they were checking to see if I had enjoyed too much fermented fruit for breakfast!
Then we went over the plan. Start my 18th and LAST (for now) round of Chemo on Monday (Feb 4). Then schedule an MRI with Profusion (the long one hour, 2 hours from start to finish MRI) for our new Baseline. Um, okay... that's when I started asking more questions (questions David and my sister Neida had asked 18 months ago and I listened but hadn't really heard). New Baseline. *sinking in*... So can we expect it to shrink or die anymore or lessen blood flow to the cancer any more. NO. Right now we are believing that the Chemo and radiation has done all it can to fight my cancer and continuing it right now puts me under too many new risks (like building a resistance to chemo and putting me at risk for other cancers... fabulous). So I said, ok, baseline for what... Finally she put it in Direct easy for Natalie to understand terms. "We have to have a baseline because the tumor WILL grow and come back, we just don't know when. This will allow us to closely monitor it so that we will know what we are dealing with WHEN that happens." (To be clear for those of you that just decided to panic for me... this could be in 3 months, 3 years, or prayerfully 30 years. Either way, LOTS more awareness and funding and research needs to be directed toward Brain Cancer!) And starting out I will be getting an MRI every three months and then eventually stretching it out for longer periods of time as long as no new symptoms appear. I will stay on my massive doses of seizure medicine since much of the tumor is still in there pressing on important parts of my brain.
Okay, so there I am, proven to be sober and with a pretty cooperative brain and face to face with my reality. Time to do the blood work and schedule my Baseline MRI and next appointment. Well scheduling was a nightmare... everything was booked so we are having to split my MRI and oncologist visit over two days. MRI Feb 26 and Oncologist Feb 27 (David will go with me for both some way some how even with the end of the month being his busiest in car sales and we will work out childcare/taxi services for Kirstyn and James). While Marsha and Betty (my oncologists' awesome front desk ladies) were on the phone trying to work out a MRI and appointment time for me, I picked up a book that a patient had left behind and started reading. It's called "There's No Place Like HOPE. A guide to beating cancer in mind-sized bites" by Vickie Girard. (I'm currently looking for a copy for me so please message me if you see one... I wasn't able to find an ebook version.) There are little quotes all in there divided into chapters. The first one I read was about Nighttime (note: I'm exhausted because I never sleep good before a doc appt). One of the quotes said, "I'm fighting so hard to live, why do I yearn so deeply for the sweet nothing of sleep?" Another chapter was Well Meaning Comments... my sarcastic sense of humor was reading these and laughing out loud... I've thought so many of these while just smiling at well meaning people... one was something like: We all die from something, I could walk outside right now and be hit by a car. Uh huh, let's level the playing field and you put on a blindfold and stroll on the freeway and I'll take my cancer and cross the street.
Let's just say I needed to know that other people have thoughts like that. Not that they are good but they are REAL. I've done nothing but try to be real. I'm still trying... and I have to agree with the kid in the video, Not Cool Robert Frost, Not Cool!
"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." Psm 55:22
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
(If you are reading... please comment so that I know who you are. I know many of my friends visit here because of David and I on facebook, but I also know that there are several others that only use this blog to check on me. If that is you, please comment so that I can be encouraged to keep posting.)