Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gotta face the music

I get a call from the radiologist over the weekend that he has spoken to my surgeon and it is imperative that I reschedule my appointment and come in.  It feels like a scare tactic.  I still feel great and make plans for my trip to UCLA.  I might even catch Dr. John and Joe Bonamassa at the Nokia Theatre and make it a fun weekend.  In the meantime, I drop off all of my medical results to the new gyn-oncologist I am going to see in a few days.  The surgeon tells me that there is no way she can just go in and remove the cancer with another surgery.  To do that she will have to remove my bladder and colon and I will be wearing two bags the rest of my life.

My son's birthday comes around.  My husband and I arrange with the International Star Registry to have a star in the Cancer Constellation dedicated to him.  It's a wonderful thing to know his star is shining down on all of us.  They send the coordinates and a beautiful colorful poster of the star that bears his name.  It's a small gesture to honor him and it makes us happy to remember him on his birthday this way.  No matter, it's the most emotional week I had to get through since Mother's Day.

I contact the Imerman Angels and asked to be paired up with another cancer survivor.  They have a bit of a problem trying to find someone who has the exact same cancer or even someone who has taken an alternative direction.  They call back, ask a few more questions, and they think they have someone in mind.  In 24 hours, I will get an introduction email from my "Angel" and we can arrange to speak on the phone or email, whichever is comfortable.  She emails me on a Sunday and I am reading her description, when the phone rings, it's her!  She has had cancer three times and beat it.  She lives in San Francisco and runs two non-profit houses for women in the latter stages of cancer.  She takes them to indulge in an oasis retreat and have a total pampering spa day away from the hospitals and cancer groups.  I am so inspired by her ability to find such an awesome gift to bestow on others to create a non-profit business while you are in the grip of your own cancer fight.  In our conversation, she validates all that I am doing for myself to fight with alternative methods as a warrior woman but understands that I may need to integrate them into my treatment.  She's made that journey and stands beside me in my struggle.  I am in awe that Imerman's found me someone so gifted and accomplished in life.  She tells me to call any time of the day or night and she will be there for me; she truly is an angel and a blessing to me.
The day comes to get my second opinion.  I make my way up to the office, sign in and wait.  They take some vital signs and put me into a room.  The doctor comes in and I immediately feel a connection with her.  We talk for a while about the timeline from November 5th until now.  Her smile makes me feel safe, like someone finally understands all of my efforts to make a difference in my situation.  She steps out while I get ready for yet another pelvic exam.  I'm totally hoping she will tell me it's gone, she sees nothing and I can Tweet the news to the world tonight.  But I'm wrong, it's just the opposite, I hear exactly what I am not hoping to hear, that the cancer has spread and now there is a second smaller tumor to the left of the original one.  She explains very gently and clearly that I do not have time to waste.  She knows and respects the radiologist I'll be working with and I need to get in there and get started on the treatment.  She does not feel another opinion with the head of oncology at UCLA will make any difference as they all come from the same school of thought and the opinion will be the same, to take the radiation.  I drive home thinking about the gaviola juice clinics in Mexico or the Budwig's Clinic in Malaga, Spain.  It only requires a nine hour flight, 10 days of treatment and $7,000.  But I don't have anymore sick or vacation time to take off from work.  I'm right in the middle of selling my house.  I knew that if I could not make a difference on my own it would come to this and here it is.  Gotta face the music.  My back is against the wall, I will have to take a conventional route and schedule radiation.


  1. I frequently think of you and keep my fingers crossed. I know you will beat it, but all the stress and suffering you must go through first! You are a brave and strong woman. I admire you!

  2. You know Jurek, it's people like you that send me such encouragement to carry on when often every thing seems so bleak. Thank you for being my friend. I've loved every moment with you, from our coffee klatches in the morning at Apple to us sharing posts from afar. I just love you!