Life Happens When You’re Planning Something Else

The current year has been full of surprises, not all of them happy. And while I don’t want this blog to be a downer, I feel I should set the record straight in some regard.

If you’ve read my previous blog this year, you are aware of the death of my dear son-in-law, Carleton, on January 6. A traumatic event leaving behind grief, a complete reorganization and dissolution of life style for my daughter. An altogether sorrowful time which only the memory of his dear and presence can lighten.

After spending two weeks in Vermont with the family, I returned home and tried to get myself back on track. First on the list was scheduling my annual mammogram. Check off that item. But four days later I received a call from Kaiser. They needed to check their findings with an ultra-sound. I remember the thumping of my heart as I heard the message. It was that night that my husband said he felt a hard lump in my right breast. But I was in denial. I’ve had fibrous “lumps” before and besides I’d had stage 1 breast cancer 13 years ago in my left breast and have been clean every since. I had other things to do than revisit that scene.

Unfortunately there was no denying the x-rays and ultra sound screen presented after that second visit. Invasive ductile carcinoma, at least stage 2.
Next stop was a visit to the surgeon. I elected for a lumpectomy as it seemed it would take out the bad stuff and still leave me with something to fill my bra.

Surgery revealed that 12 of 14 lymph notes had cancer cells. An appointment was set with the medical oncologist and later with the radiology oncologist. A cat scan showed a couple of suspicious flecks elsewhere in my body, so meeting my new main doctor didn’t bring the best news. Best case scenario stage 3. The worst, 4th stage, or terminal.

With my daughter and husband with me, I thought I reacted rather well. No tears, no Oh My God, am I going to die remarks. Shock does wonderful things. Next came the Pet Scan which would zero in on those nasty “flecks” and reveal if they were simply artifacts or actual cancer.

Fortunately, the results were good. Stage 3, which means the cancer cells have migrated out of the original tumor and into the lymph nodes but no farther. That day I was euphoric. I had a chance. Within a day or so, relief spiraled into something more somber. My biggest fear was that I would suffer the horrendous nausea experienced after my first bout of chemo in 2000. My doctor assured me they would provide me with an arsenal of anti-nausea medications to prevent a recurrence. All I could do was pray they would work. Other than toothache, I can think of few things I dread more than vomiting.

But I now realize that a great blessing has come to me with an outpouring of love, encouragement, and prayers from family, friends, and colleagues. My daughter so newly widowed and in straightened circumstance, flew from Vermont, via Virginia, to spend 8 days with my husband and me. With Bill and Paige at my side, I was encouraged and supported. Ongoing concern, Reiki treatments, and offers of food from friends smoothed away many of my darker thoughts. It’s a beautiful thing to know that people genuinely care, that they are willing to write and send their healing energy to a friend in need, putting aside their own concerns to do so.

With renewed hope and strength, I’m actually getting back to writing on my current WIP, Emaline, and today I am breaking the blog barrier. Life does go on. Thank you all for being my companions and guides along this new trail.

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Published in: on May 3, 2012 at 11:24 am  Comments (21)  
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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have to admit I’m not a very good cook, but i do make a tasty African Peanut Soup, if that sounds enticing for dinner some night!

    • That’s a great offer, Pat. I’ll run it past my oncologist as I’ve been having some issue with digestion these last few days. Hopefully, I’ll get through this latest complication.

  2. I’m glad you seem to have a positive outlook on the whole situation. I hear that’s one of the best ways to get through. Good luck to you, Alice. It’s good to see you in the blogging scene again.

    • McKenzie, lovely to touch base with you again. Thanks for your good wishes. They mean so much.

  3. You are always in my thoughts, Alice. And I am so happy that you are writing again. You are a wonderful wordsmith.

    • Moma, thank you for your good thoughts and compliments. I’m sending you prayers and healing too for you and your Joe.

  4. This is a journey no one wants to ake. I’m so sorry you’re on it, but I’m so glad you feel the love and support of those around you. Please know you’re in our prayers and my you have the blessing of a spring breeze blowing through your mind, clearing out the cobwebbed thoughts of doubt. Hugs

    • Such a lovely message to uplift the spirits when today, I’m not at my best. Thank you for your love and prayers.

  5. Alice your positive sttitude is so inspiring. I know you can lick this thing. It is a journey none of us want to take but you have shown great courage! Much prayers & love. Janice

    • Jan, love reading your comments. With your positive energy and friendship, I know I’ll get through this.

  6. Again, you are in my thoughts, and as I am kicking butt in my surgical recovery, I’m trying to tie you to my victory strings and draw you along that road. They keep saying the positive attitude is important. I’ve got lots, so I am hereby sharing. Positive vibes and ESPs (Extra Special Prayers) winging their way to you. Love, Beth

    • Beth, thrilled to know you’re “kicking butt” in your surgical recovery. I also send you an extra zap of prayer energy to keep that healing process on track. Thanks for remembering me and hooking me up with all your prayers and special energy. You are truly one of a kind. A great role model. Love, Alice

  7. You are a one of a kind, Alice. A woman that I admire in your strength and perseverance. I’m one of the luckiest people around to have become friends with you. Even though we are so many miles away, I feel our spirits are mere inches and I’m so thankful for that.

    You are an inspiration to us all! Thank you for that!

    • Laura, I count myself luck to have met you despite the miles between us. Kindred souls make for a wondrous friendship,,,physical distance can never separate us. Thank you for all your love and support.

  8. “A woman is like a teabag. She never knows how strong she is till she gets in hot water.” Alice, you are two bags of Darjeeling and a shot of bourbon strong! With honey! And think how much richer this will make your writing. Love you dear. Holding you in my prayers.

  9. Roxy, you have such a way of putting things. I love that you think I’m two bags Darjeeling and a shot of bourbon! I get such a boost from you. Thank you, my dear. Look forward to having a celebration one of these days complete with tea bags. 🙂

  10. Dear Alice,
    I am sorry to hear you had to go through this. I will keep you in my prayers too.
    Mary Jean Rivera

    • Mary Jean, so nice to read this today as I have had a rough 4 day siege. Hope that will get cleared up soon. Keep those prayers coming. 🙂

  11. Sometimes I think a card or words of encourgement are not enough and want to do so much more but do not know what to do. I am glad that all the prayers, support, cards and words of encouragement do help. Please know that if you need anything, you may call on me. I am sure you have all the books you want to read (if anything like me, more than can read!). Need a puzzle to pass the time? Anything??

  12. Your diagnosis has made me cherish your wise and talented presence in my life.

    • Orice, your kind words lift my heart. And I can, without reservations, return the compliment to you, my friend. Thank you.


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