This is the picture I saw as I was walking down the stairs. I already had tears in my eyes and this picture really drew my attention. It made me think of the saying, "Sometimes the Lord calms the storm, and sometimes the storm rages on and the Lord calms his child."
4 times is how many times I have cried about my cancer since November 2nd 2009, when I was diagnosed at 10:30am...
The first time, I cried with Morgan late one night three days after my initial diagnosis when I still didn't know what stage of cancer I was in. I cried because I was remembering all the good times we have had together and how hard it would be to leave him behind with the kids to raise..... I cried for him.
The second time, was just recently when I found out that my cancer had returned, or more accurately, had never ceased to exist and had actually thrived somehow on all the drugs that were soooo horrible..... I cried out of anger.... I cried to my husband, mom, and best friend.
The third time I cried, I was bearing my testimony in September of 2010, just a mere month ago. I wasn't going to bear my testimony, but the Spirit gave me a bit of a kick in the pants, and I hustled up to the stand. I cried that I needed the ward to look after my family, to smile at them and to take care of them...... I cried for my family....
And I am crying right now as I type this blog entry..... cry #4.... and today I cry for me.
I cry because...... dang, why am I crying???? Well, first of all the last two days have probably been some of the most stressful in my life..... and I am really, really, really tired. And I do not, not, not want to take another sleeping pill to "put me to sleep.... everything will be better in the morning." No, actually it won't be.... the sun will just be brighter, and o.k...... I might be more rested, so that is a plus too, but basically my fate remains the same. I am at the mercy of something beyond my power..... beyond anyone's power really......
That was kind of grilled into me at MD Anderson in Houston today. And don't get me wrong, the appointment itself, went great by most standards. Well, scratch that, I am not going to be nice tonight, it stunk! We had to wait 4 1/2 hours to get into our appointment and when we finally got in there, I think I was ready for the doc to write me a prescription for a "magic pill" that would cure my cancer. one pill, mind you, not several, because that would "bog down" my life! he he he
Well ladies and gentlemen, guess what???? Oh, you already know the answer... THERE ISN'T A MAGIC PILL!!! Crapzilla, I was really hoping though! I guess I thought that maybe if we paid a lot of money and went to a really fancy hospital that specializes in my specific breast cancer stage/ age/ etc, that they would write me a "special" script and I would be back to coaching my kids' baseball teams in no time.
You can probably see where this is heading... I had a hard time "choking down" the true pill I learned about today. The one that I was already taking last week.... possibly/probably/maybe the one that made me so sick. Yea, that one... the one already in my medicine cabinet under lock and key along with all my other "special" meds.
So, the synopsis of the appointment was:
a) I am already on the right track with Xeloda, but stop taking the Navalbene drip in my port because that is mainly for pancreatic cancer.
b) I will NEVER be "cured". There is NO cure for Stage 4 cancer. I will ALWAYS be stage 4, even if I live to be 109. The best they can do is one of two things...
1) get the tumor/tumors to shrink or go back down to normal size if they are actual lymph nodes causing a "hibernation" period to occur. (MD Anderson doesn't like the word "remission"). It will always be there, just sleeping.... but like a 4-year-old with a lot of energy, it will probably "wake up" again someday if I don't take medicines the rest of my life.
2) get the tumor to remain as it is and not get smaller or any bigger... just stand still. This is called "Stable disease". It would be just that... stable, basically. until it decides to get not stable again....you get the picture....
c) I will take the Xeloda for seven more weeks, and then they will take another PET scan. This will be the "real test" to see what the medicine is doing for me. If it is working, they can leave me on the Xeloda for up to 18-months, then they have to give my body a rest for a while..... then???
d) Since I HAVE to take Xeloda (seriously, who comes up with these names?!), I just need to get good at managing the "side effects" that come along for the ride with the said medicine. Let's just hope they don't get as bad as last weekend because I was seriously considering throwing away the meds and trying out the "New Filipino medicines" the Direct TV guy gave me a packet about..... seriously...... sort of.......
e) MD Anderson will be my "captain doctors" and Dr. Cavalcant will do as they prescribe...... this could mean clinical trials in the future if the Xeloda isn't working, etc....
Doesn't this all look like a bunch of college notes to you? Sooooooo sorry about that, I just couldn't figure out a good way to summarize everything correctly. And yes, I feel like I have taken a "crash course" in breast specific cancers over the last year, and yes, one of the doctors was exactly my age, and yes, I know this post is LONG (please see heading to realize that you WERE warned!)
To put it into "Princess Bride" terminology for you.... as spoken by Indigo Montoya..."Let me essplain.... No, there is too much... Let me sum up...."
p.s. I also asked the doctor what the life expectancy is for my cancer.... she looked at me and said, "Do you really want to know? It is just a general number that is lumped with others who are older than you and who have cancer that has already spread to their brains, etc." I thought for a minute and said......"No, never mind, I don't want to know... It isn't going to affect me anyways! Statistics are horrible! I am not going to be a statistic!"
So there you have it... now you know as much as me....(don't feel too blessed), and it is 2:37am Houston time, so maybe I had better sleep if I can, I have another appointment with my oncologist here at noon tomorrow.... or today rather.
SIDE NOTE: I wrote this post last night and it was true last night and it is still true today, yet my spirit is not as bleak. I had a wonderful day today full of beauty and fun and glorious weather, and life is good. This blog is just a glimpse into my mind late one night.... it is honest and sincere, and probably a bit scary.