The Great Physician is at Work – 24

Featured

February 27, 2017

The days are flying by. It is difficult to get all the things done that I am accustomed to doing in a day. Everything takes so long, particularly the reading and writing; these I have been used to doing easily and quickly. This is due to the macular degeneration going on in my eyes. The only involvement the cancer might have in these processes would be less energy. My life has been one of early rising, shower, eat, and go to work with very little time consumed. Not the case now. Of course, all the equipment that I am using, my body, may be less efficient than earlier in my life. Nothing that I know about can be used for 95 years and function with the same efficacy the whole time.

I really wanted to write yesterday, but somehow the day slipped away. I felt so much like my younger years, it was like I had just taken a ride back into younger days. I woke up only once in the night, and slept soundly until 5:30 a.m. My body and mind felt rested, as they have for so many years. It was early, but I had no desire to go back to sleep. I did not have aching joints; they all moved freely and easily when I got out of bed. My walking felt straight and normal. The energy was abundant. It was Sunday and I had an opportunity to get to church. Why would I think about the cancer when everything feels so normal? It was not only a gift of the day, but it was like waking up on Christmas morning as a child. Wow! It truly was amazing.

Showering was easier; dressing was easier; breakfast was easier, and walking felt so much easier that I wanted to try without my walker, but I didn’t. I did not want my new found energy and enthusiasm to get me to do something foolish.

It was great to have people ask me how I was. Usually that question with my church family is answered with positive words, but yesterday the response carried the weight of all of the fruit of the Spirit. It truly was “the day of the Lord,” and I could rejoice and be glad in it.

Today is another beautiful day. No, the California sun is not shining. It is raining and the gray sky is a welcome sight. It is a beautiful, soft rain that will nourish the earth rather than run off to the ocean. I feel for those in Northern California who are getting too much of the liquid sunshine; for us in the South, it is a distinct and welcome blessing.

Oh yes, the cancer. I’m not certain what is happening in the breast lesion area. It acts pretty much like any other part of the body that forms a scab and bleeds if the scab is removed. Usually it just stays there; The area did bleed once last week. When the cancer was at its height, the area was surrounded with the angry, red cancerous skin. The last couple of weeks it seems to change color. Perhaps it is my eyes, but I don’t think so. I think it is sometimes cancer red and sometimes less so—more of a peachy color that looks like it is striving to reach the normal skin color.

The rest of life goes on. Hailey is adjusting to her semester in New Zealand; Cassidy is finished with basketball and starting lacrosse; Bob and Kim are busy and Kim just had a birthday. Britt is tired of the rain, snow, sleet, ice, and mixtures of the above in Portland; Diane is busy at work and with her father; Colin and Molly are desert rats, and I haven’t heard from them in some time; Kera loves Boulder, Colorado and calls to fill me in periodically. Another school board meeting this week and one next should be interesting since we have some “stuff” going on. My church and church family are great.

How normal can this get. I ask you, “Would it be any different if I didn’t have cancer?”

 

I Don’t Spell Cancer with a Big “C” – 25

Featured

March 29, 2017

It has been a while, again, since I have updated “My Life With Cancer.” It seems that it is so normal at times that the day slips by and I don’t think about it. Sometimes I think about writing, but it seems that other activities take over. I believe that is why I have been able to live with the intruder. I have not occupied most of my neurons thinking about the negative things that could happen. I know what they are; I am reminded of them by my doctors and encouraged to take some kinds of treatments by my family. It would be the same with my friends if they knew.

What we think, we become. Is that a truism with metastatic breast cancer? I don’t know, but I do know enough about learning and the brain that neurons (as far as I know) are not multiple use little items. But they don’t need to be because we have so many. I do believe that when one is occupied with negative thoughts of cancer, it cannot be occupied with healing thoughts.

The rainbows dance on my living room ceiling and I smile. I watch them shift as the sun shifts in the sky; they stay awhile and move to help others retain their hope and promise in their lives. I hope they have a crystal in their east window to catch the rays and reflect the promise in their presence.

Being so very grateful for what I can do makes it easier to document what is going on in my “life.”

Yes, there is ongoing treatment. I have been on a new drug to inhibit the production of estrogen in my body; the oncologist believes that estrogen is the food that metastatic breast cancer needs. I don’t know yet whether the Exemestane is working better than the former medicine, Letrazole, or not. The new nodules that the oncologist is worried about have increased in size over the last month. But I believe they are static at this point.

The doctor takes measurement of the nodules, but I must admit I believe they are less than scientifically accurate. The very nature of the growth prohibits that accuracy. But he believes that I should do radiation therapy pronto. My son accompanies me during the general conversation about my status. He is not privy to the conversation during the examination. He, of course, agrees with the doctor that I should start the treatment. My sons know me well enough that they don’t pester me about the treatment. They speak their piece and occasionally remind me that the daily trips for radiation can be worked out. I’m not so sure that the daily trip for radiation for two or three weeks would be so welcome.

I also worry that the increased dosage to reduce the time involved in the radiation could be a problem. It kills cells; more concentrated doses would surely kill more cells. Fatigue is one of the outcomes of radiation. The quality of life for me is a large, large, factor. The medicines I currently take already play into a fatigue factor. There are days when it is difficult to go to the computer and write.

Of course, the macular degeneration progression probably has more causation to the fatigue than the cancer, but either could become my culprit if I allowed it to be so.

I want to share my story of cancer. It is important to tell you how much I value, more each day, an attitude of gratitude. To be grateful allows movement forward. It allows the promises of the rainbows to bring a smile; it causes me to remember what my Creator gave me and continues to give me what I need. To “Accentuate the Positive” is a tune that can play in my head all day long.  I can walk to the end of my driveway and see the beauty, hear the sounds, and feel my good fortune to be able to walk, see even if not clearly, hear, and thank the Lord for all that I have.

Cancer has a Hard Time Without Your Support – 26

April 29, 2017

I have been trying to keep an eye on the little nodules that have developed on the edge of where the old cancer lesion has almost disappeared. A couple of new little lumps have merged into a larger lump. I don’t really know whether or not it is much larger. The entire lesion still remains what I call cancer red–an angry, wine color. It does not hurt; I feel a twinge occasionally so I know it is there. It remains open in a spot that is lower than the new lumps. It scabs over but does not bleed or weep openly. I bathe the area with colloidal silver and can place a little cotton in the valley. The breast itches similar to wounds when they are healing.

Most of the time I don’t think about it. I am busy living my life. I spend a lot of time doing work on issues that confront me as a trustee of our school district. I keep in touch with my friends. I help as much as I can with church activities. I still do programs for my United Methodist Women’s Group. Since I have the macular degeneration issue, I work together with a friend on putting the programs together. It is quite interesting to see how much you can do as a visually-impaired person that you would have thought impossible when you were fully-sighted. Every day is filled with intensive problem solving to learn  things in new ways.

Yes, writing this is difficult. I hate errors in my writing so I strain assiduously to find them. But, you know what–I can still see enough to do it. For that I am extremely grateful.

So except for the times in the day that I spend concentrating on sending all of the healing powers possible in my body, I live purposely with the healing hands of the Great Physician. Cancer is an interloper, an unwanted guest. I spend my time every day being grateful for the beautiful blue California dome that graces my sky, the wetness of the wonderful rains that have blessed our drought-stricken California land, and the rainbows on my ceiling when the sun hits the amazing crystal cross in my east window.

I watch the sunrises and the sunsets. It’s the time of year when I marvel at my orange trees. I walk by and the fragrance is such an old friend. In a few weeks the gorgeous blossoms will turn to those little green nubbins that will keep transforming themselves until they become the round gems we call oranges. There they are. An orange tree is a beauty to behold. The  intense orange against the green foliage is always a marvelous beauty of nature. But it is just one of many that allows me to spend my time living with cancer and not allow it to take strength from my body to support it.

 

Cancer, The Great Physician, My Doctor and Me – 22

Featured

October 17, 2016

Today I had my monthly appointment with my oncologist. Each month I get blood work done at the Lab Corp office in Fallbrook a few days before my appointment with the oncologist. The blood work is done to make certain that the various components of my blood remain in normal ranges while I am taking the XGeva shot which happens during the monthly appointment. The blood work also has a tumor marker component to the analysis and it keeps tabs on kidney function.

The lesion on my breast had changed a little bit  and for months, the dark, angry, red color had become lighter and could best be described as a coral color; the angry, dark, wine color was gone. Also, the weeping stopped as the color had subsided. Everything was working as desired.

But now there is a nodule that has resumed the dark, angry, red color, and the lesion has been weeping for a couple of weeks.

It is not sore nor painful. There are a few little spots that are sensitive to touch, but I certainly cannot say that it is painful. It continues to get smaller all the time. The lesion is one of bumps and valleys. The oncologist keeps measurements on the lesion and surrounding area each time I see him.

Today he spent some time talking about alternatives to the Letrazole–two additional drugs that interfere with the growth of cancer cells. We also talked about radiating the spot on the old lesion that appeared to be active–the small nodule that had returned to its angry color. He also said that radiation would smooth out the hills and valleys of the affected area. We had an amazing discussion of alternatives and every suggestion was introduced with, “If you would consider…” We are a team taking a look at concerns, alternatives, and potential treatment.

I really have been getting along well. Today he, too, said that I was doing amazingly well. We talked again about the parry my GP, my Lord, the Great Physician plays every day in my health and well-being. He agreed that he was an instrument to do what he could in the process. I know that my faith and trust in my Creator is the one who gives me the gift of life each day.

It is amazing that I can get up two or three times during the night–sometimes to go to the bathroom and others to walk a bit to ease cramps–and get up in the morning feeling refreshed. I am given the energy to walk the path set before me. There are lessons of faith that I learn each day.

Usually I get up to rainbows on my ceiling as the sun comes through my east windows. This morning it was thinking about raining, and the ceiling was gray. But I know the promise in all those rainbows that I see on the sunny days is still there. The gift of the day is wrapped in the promise of rain for the thirsty plants. The gift of the day lies in the learning available to me as I open my heart to God’s plan for this day.

 

The Saga of Life Begins and Ends with My Creator: Making Cancer Run a Marathon – 23

Featured

October 6, 2016

The rainbows on my ceiling are the reflections from the crystal cross sitting in my east window. Each rainbow is an excellent reminder of the promises kept yesterday, the promise for today and the immense potential in the promises of tomorrow if I but have the faith to seize them.

I have struggled with the issue of going back to my general practitioner. I think I will make an appointment to see him in the next month or so. I have such split thoughts about the man who told me my life would be very short and very painful about two years ago. In my heart, I know that I must go back and discuss again who is in charge of my life. We have discussed before the Great Physician’s role in my life and his. He is a Christian and understands my words. He is also a physician and the medical model for many physicians does not include a role for our Creator as the Great Physician.

The tests, X-rays, MRI’s, bone scans, CT scans, consults, and the screens that illuminated all the stuff told them the dire story. What they forgot was that they could not write the ending of the saga living with the longstanding metastatic breast cancer. That lies in one place and one place only–with my Lord. Yes, I am taking medicine, but started that just lately.

I just hope that my prayers and faith can match the promise of the rainbows on my ceilings. This morning there was one reflected right above where I am typing this message. It is not always there, but the colors were clear and pure this morning.

It is amazing how well I feel so often. At 95 I am not free of aches and pains. But they are so minimal until some of my joints act as a weather vane, that it’s incredible. When the barometric pressure changes rapidly, I feel it, But I’ll bet many of you do, too.

I haven’t taken my grateful walk yet today, but sometimes the promise in the rainbows reaches my starting gates first. But I will take a walk to the end of my driveway a little later. I need to sit a spell and admire the incredible beauty, fragrance, and uniqueness of all the plumeria that line the last third.

I have work to do on a program for my church circle this month, a school board meeting next week, and I want to do a blog about what issues face our first-time voters this election.  I have a granddaughter who has reached the privileged age to vote. What’s out there for her?

Everything I do now, particularly, reading and writing, takes longer with the macular degeneration issue. I was grateful at 60 when I could do so many things. Why would I stop now?

May my faith this day match the promise of my Creator, my GP, my Great Physician. That is my prayer this day and every day.

So it is also for my life with cancer. I have had some nausea this morning, but I am not willing to blame it on the metastatic breast cancer. If I felt that everything that isn’t positive in my life were due to cancer living with me, cancer would win in a short race. I’m going to at least make it run a marathon that I will win as I follow as best that I can, the path my very own yellow brick road constructed by my Creator.