Sorry I haven’t posted in a while — there’s been a lot going on and a lot of adjustments to make. Here’s some of what’s happened: Most recent PET scan results showed a great deal of increase in amount & size of cancer throughout bones and liver. I felt bad for my doctor to have to deliver the news. We usually have some laughs together and this visit was different. Since I was expecting unwelcome news my friend Lora went with me, it was good to have her there. It was difficult news for my family as well. (I often wonder if it’s not easier to be the patient than the loved ones who feel so helpless.)
My oncologist suggested a more aggressive chemo that might alleviate some current symptoms but would add other symptoms of its own, and no more real time. There is no cure, just possible experimentation with more and more chemo agents, which would only be kicking the can down the road (but not for long) in terms of the end game while making my life dismal. (I love it when doctors say, “This drug is well tolerated,” and my question from experience now is, “compared to what, having your fingernails pulled out?!)
I’ve decided not to pursue any more treatments since the disease is so advanced and no matter what I do the prognosis is poor. I’ve decided I do not want to live at the hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office, with more tests, needles, injections, or to spend every Friday for hours getting an IV infusion. I want to enjoy the best quality of life I can for the time I’ve got left. Hopefully by now everyone has seen the Frontline Documentary ‘Being Mortal’ which is very helpful in understanding where I’m at in my cancer journey. This will take you to a link to the Frontline piece: Being Mortal
So instead of starting a more aggressive chemo I decided to go to The Orchid Show. It was a stellar choice, filled with joy, beauty, laughter, life, and friends. That week was also my birthday so some very special angels, in the form of humans in my life, took me to The Bronx Botanical Gardens and wheeled me around for a breathtakingly, spectacular, multi-sensory experience of color explosions, exotic diversity, scents, sights, and tastes! I was speechless many times (and if you know me that is something).
I literally cried from being overwhelmed by the beauty, that continues on for what seems like miles of tropical jungle with elaborate backdrops of thousands of exotic orchids, fountains, waterfalls, and overhead passes created out of flowers you never knew existed. It was a little taste of what Heaven will be like. The Orchid Show closes after this coming Sunday, so drop everything and get there tomorrow, or Sunday.
Another blessing was a good friend I’ve known since we were 16 came to visit for 4 days. Also, my niece Jenn & her husband Fran from CT stopped by for a long hug and to drop off an amazing pillow that has changed my life (more on that later).
The following week (last week) my sister Debby & her husband Don were in town for his follow-up at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) after being diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 kidney cancer last year when he had multiple surgeries and procedures. Unfortunately, his current scans showed progression of cancer in his bones. It’s agony waiting for test results and then so much worse when you get news the disease is progressing, even when you know that is what is going to happen. With stage 4 cancer it’s an emotional roller-coaster ride that never ends. Please keep them in prayer.
I had hoped to travel back to Florida with Debby & Don so I could see my 92-year-old Mother, however, I was not well enough to make the trip. Hopefully, someday soon.
I am now being followed by a Palliative Care doctor who confirmed I probably have about 3-9 months left, with a year being an optimistic goal. (I’m an optimist.)
There is much more to say and I’ll update more soon.
Please understand I cannot answer all email & phone calls, but I do read everything.
posted 15 April 2016: http://hopeandcourage.com