Last week was my 10 month “anniversary” of the Trauma. I’m feeling stronger everyday- doing yoga regularly with a bit of cardio. I had an oncologist appointment, with CT scan and bloodwork last Wed. The appointment was a good one, and my doctor said the magic words..
My labs showed only 2% of the aggressive cancer marker in my blood. This is the lowest I can get, having had a cancer experience. This low marker, along with the biopsies of the tissue they took during surgery, and the tests they’ve done during these 10 months, gives my oncologist confidence to say I’m CANCER FREE!!!!! Because Neuroendrocrine tumors grow very slowly (mine was estimated to have been growing at least a decade or longer) there will be monitoring over the next 15 years that include yearly CT scans and colonoscopies, and quarterly bloodwork- but in the NOW, I have the cancer free diagnosis!!
The other part of my appointment was about the leak in my colon- which is indeed still there. My oncologist said at this point it needs to be fixed surgically, which we scheduled for Nov 7, right after SAFF. He was refreshingly honest, telling me it will be a difficult surgery for me. I am at high risk of infection because of the previous trauma. The incision will have to be longer than the first- so I’m looking at an almost breastbone to pelvis incision. I have a lot of scar tissue in my abdomen from the sepsis that he’s going to have to work through, and find (and fix) the colon leak. Because he’s so certain I’m cancer free, and my high risk, he’s not going to take the lymph nodes that were closest to the tumor. He’s just going to do the bowel resection and close me up. He predicts a week in the hospital, 8 weeks off my feet with a 20lb weight restriction, 12 weeks until I can lift my massage table (50 lbs).
SO I have 2 workshops before surgery- an amazing 3 days of fiber prep, creative spinning and exploration of 3 d weaving at Shuttles Spindles and Skeins in Boulder Sept 15-17, and 2 workshops at SAFF (corespining Friday10/27, Wildplying Sunday 10/29). I am excited I will be able to have some fun teaching and creating before I’m off my feet for awhile.
I admit, I have a lot of anxiety about this upcoming surgery. But I know that I am stronger going in this time- Well, anything not dead is stronger, so I’ll say I’m MUCH stronger than I was last time. I will keep doing yoga and strengthening my core. I will keep journaling and meditating. I will plan my room- bringing my own towel, a suction cup wall thing for my toothbrush, and a pretty crystal for my window. I will put up the cards, felted hearts and words of love and encouragement you sent. I will give myself the illusion of control in the most out of control place there is. Of course there’s still the everloving stress of the medical bills. (“But you’ll feel so much better if you don’t have stress) I am $56 from meeting my “max out of pocket” for this year ($6000) but I am still fighting the current $35,000 they are billing me from the trauma. I have paid about $10,000 (bless you all for contributing to my medical bills fundraiser), and we are still hoping they will lower the rest.. but it’s proving to be a long fight. These 10 months I have spent almost $3000 in bandages, tape, creme, skin barrier, .. (to you person/s who have sent me bandages and tape via amazon- I have NO idea who you are, but I have cried when I opened the packages. You don’t know how much a couple rolls of tape (and an awesome yarn inspired coloring book) or bandages and tape, makes me feel loved.. Still don’t know how you knew the kind I use.. but I love you…
I’m learning about truly just trusting the process, knowing that things will work out in the end as they will. We are doing the very best we can-Staying positive and enjoying every moment. I have made what feels like 300 batches of jam this summer, and am currently writing and sampling for 2 new videos I will go shoot in a couple weeks. I am taking about 1/4 of my massage clients now, and my husband is working 2 jobs and being an awesome caretaker. The fundraiser will stay active through the next surgery, every dollar helping in ways that words are inadequate to describe. Every good wish, every prayer, every positive vibe is appreciated and felt deep in my soul.
I’ve edited this post to add a link to this amazing blogpost about the things you CAN do for people who are sick. I got lots of offers to send flowers.. and some arrived. They were beautiful, but my hospital room was (and will be again because I”m going to be in the same wing/floor) SO SMALL, with literally no counterspace…. and I was so sensitive to fragrances.. so this blogpost is 10 amazing things you can do for someone who is sick. I am so lucky to have an amazing support system, both locally and across the world… If you want to send flowers, instead send that money to my fundraiser and I can pay a bill or buy bandages (hopefully I won’t NEED them after the surgery) OR send us a meal via our mealplan website that will go active again once I go to the hospital, and through my next recovery. That was no doubt the hardest thing last time, was finding the energy to cook, let alone eat. So when you have a sick loved one.. offer to take them to their appointment, or bring them food.. or any one of these things, and save the flowers for valentines day.
SO.. that’s the current state of things.. Cancer FREE with still a bit of a journey.. but it’s a journey that will be smoother than the one before. And it’s the last leg of my journey back to a healthy body and life. I can’t thank you all enough (have I said that yet?) for being there for me. For being my community. For being my friends. I can’t wait to hug you at SAFF.. or at Shuttles.. or next year at the fun things I have yet to announce!!
HUGS and LOVE!!