Monday, August 26, 2013

An Update of Sorts

I am struggling a bit. Maybe more than a bit. I feel like there is an undercurrent of angry. I feel unsettled. I am going to sleep on the average at 2:00 in the morning. My living space is a mess. My living situation is up in the air.

My health situation is unnerving me. My tumor marker went up a bit from last time. It isn't in a "bad" place overall, but it isn't the only indicator of what is going on in my body.

The only way to tell what is going on is to get scans that I don't want to get. As long as I am not having symptoms, and my marker is in the OK range, they're not as concerned as they otherwise might be, and might be willing to delay the tests a month, or so.

I was told the oncologist never returns calls. That's OK, except for the fact that someone should have told me that when I asked to speak with him. As a result, I heard nothing before my visit.

For some reason when they need to do both an MRI and a Pet Scan, the MRI needs to be done first. I didn't quite understand it, but there is some reason it is necessary. I didn't pursue the explanation, as it really didn't matter why. It mattered more to me that there might be a potentially unnecessary test.

From what I understand a Pet Scan is a one-dimensional image that lights up areas of potential concern. An MRI is a 3D image of the same area, so it tells doctors if the highlighted area is an actual growth of some sort. If for some reason a Pet Scan showed no areas of concern, I don't know why an MRI would be done. And this is the question I asked.

I asked if there was a necessity to do an exam if we could start with the Pet, and if necessary, I go back at some point for the MRI. So now I wait to find out if that is possible.

I hate this. How do I know what the best option is? When I talked about the tests causing additional problems down the road, the person I spoke with minimized the concerns. Do I believe her? There are many who wouldn't believe her - or any doctor.

When I got the previous MRI all I kept thinking was that I was hoping that I wasn't in some way going down a path of multiple scans and testing. If I get a Pet and an MRI this year, that will be 2 in the year, and that is after 3 Cat Scans last year and at least 2 Pets.

I also got some indication about my back. The "good" news is that what is going on might be temporary, as long as I don't keep re-injuring myself. The "bad" news is it could take up to six months of temporary. It is no stretch to say it scares me to have to deal with chemo and/or surgery with my back not doing very well. I am not happy about it period, but this added dimension sucks.

This is unnerving me, and wearing me down, on top of everything else. My friend is stressing about the sale of his house. The potential owners are being a pain in the butt. Other than the fact that the deal may come down to the wire, he seems to be handling things fairly well. It could be that they could walk away at a late hour, and that would be pretty messed up.

Having to sell furniture sucks. I don't want to do it, but I can't keep it. I can't afford to. Plus, even if I did, I have no way of knowing if one day I will have a place to use it. It is too bad I didn't somehow know this before I left California. I spent money moving it because I intended to be back on my own within a couple years at most.

Apparently life has had other ideas.

In the back of my mind I am scared. In the back of my mind I pray that everything is OK. I pray that surgery and/or chemo never come back on the table. I pray that I am one who gets to live another day and look back on this as an experience that I lived through. At the same time, I am afraid because there are the most wonderful, optimistic people who don't live to see another day, and their road ends.

When someone who has been dealing with cancer dies, you often hear, "after a xx-year battle with xx cancer, so-n-so has succumbed." I don't want to be that person. I don't want the last thing that someone hears about me to be about how the last years of my life were spent "battling" cancer.

Often I say that while I talk about cancer here, this blog is about life. As I think about what I am dealing with, the experience of cancer is now a part of the weave that is my life. It is inescapable. I keep thinking about how people will view me when my time comes. I certainly hope that is not a sign that the end is anywhere near.

I don't know if I ever said this, but I wasn't surprised when cancer showed up. I think I somehow knew it would. For many years I was concerned about cancer - almost irrationally. Then, in Nov/Dec of the year prior to my diagnosis, I had a thought at one point that I wouldn't have hair the following winter. It was a blip, and it was one I didn't know what to do with, so I just kept going. But, somehow - I knew.

I don't think my time is up, and I hope it isn't up any time sooner than I want it to be. The "good" thing, though, is that I am almost as ready as I ever could be to go, as I have really felt like I have done the best I can do. I would be disappointed to "leave" without writing a book.  Although, in some way, I have written the book by the number and depth of these blog entries.

But I still intend to do more. I still want to do more. I still hope to be able to do more.

I just hope my body and mind agree to a longer lease.

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