Friday, February 22, 2013

Hurry up and wait

"Hurry up and wait. Imagine the best. Purge your thoughts of the worst. Keep the best. But when you discard the worst, don’t ignore what might be real symptoms," said the woman who ignored all the clues that something was wrong.

So since my last status report I’ve completed my brain radiation, spent time with my extended family who came from as far as Texas and Alaska to celebrate the life of my brother in law who died after a 5-year siege, joined Silver Sneakers and started to use the treadmill every day (today is day 5), attended my first metastatic support group and the Support Center’s memoir writing group (talk about talent…check out Carol's video here. ), and begun to change my diet. The time with my extended family made me feel like Wayne chose this time to die because he knew how much I needed their arms around me.

I turned down a work project. WOW! Turning down work? I don’t know the impact of my Christmas Day trauma and the radiation on my brain and don’t feel ready to handle the stress, despite the lure of additional income.

Yes, I'm bald.  I’ve watched many YouTube videos to learn to wrap and tuck turbans. And, I’ve been putting all those scarves from my hospital administration days to good use.

We're exploring juicing to see whether it will fit our lifestyle.  So far,thinking about it is the most we've done.. Do you juice? Have you done a juice fast? Any tips to share?

I’m off the steroids now so I expect my activity level will slow. This week I had my first day when I thought I’d just like to sleep all day. Or, at least keep my eyes closed while I hurried up taking control of my attitude, exercise, diet, and whatever else comes my way.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Cancer, eh? Ain't Life a Bitch?

On Christmas Day, at my sister's in New Hampshire, I had some kind of event, maybe a seizure -- net result: two weeks on the neuroscience unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Diagnosis: advanced breast cancer.

Neuroscience? Yes, my brain decided to be the organ to bring this to my attention. I'm doing well,though. And, after completing all the testing, everyone is optimistic about my prospects. I'm up and around. Can attempt do anything I've always done except drive. Everything depends on my stamina and current brain functioning. My energy level and concentration level have been improving daily.

 (Photo credit: Unknown)
So many people have asked to stay current on my journey that I decided a blog would work best.  You can decide what you want to read and when. This is the place. Directions for getting posts by email are in the right-hand navigation column.

Here's my current status:
  • I've a team of MDs helping me put a short term plan in place. The team in Albany  connects with the Kingston folks. 
  • I'm currently having  three weeks of brain radiation therapy to shrink this sucker. It has already helped control my immediate symptoms. I function better every day. I'm slow. Reading and research-- the core of my daily existence in the past-- is slow and challenging. I can't always trust my thinking (eg. I fought with the pharmacist. She,of course was right). Now the hard work starts. Learning about both conventional and non-conventional treatment alternatives and self-help.
  • The MD's are optimistic. They've started me on hormone therapy.They say my tumor type, which I don't understand, is receptive to new treatment protocols. This is an example of the research I need to do. 
I never realized the pressure that comes from trying to deal with business, income, and community responsibilities at the same time you're trying to cope with a catastrophic event which has triggered this.

Friends and colleagues have found alternatives for my business and community responsibilities. Glenn and I have found ways to deal with most of the business/financial issues. Ain't that a bitch dealing with the financial bureaucracy while in the midst of a medical and emotional crisis. 

I can't tell you how supportive Glenn has been. And, he frequently makes me laugh, he's so irreverent and we disagree about so much! Keeps us talking.

I am balancing this medical life with some entertainment, fun, socialization.  We've been going to lots of concerts and enjoying home-cooked meals. (Thank you, Richard and Joy, Doris and Irwin, and Irene Miller.) I'm beginning to see friends again. Everything is so new and my functioning so changeable. 

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