Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Caught by the Monster

Well.

I'm pretty sure that starting a post with the word "well" is not considered to be stellar prose, but sometimes, words fail us.  Sometimes we discover that we are not nearly as strong as we think we are. Sometimes we are reminded that life isn't as fair as we want it to be. Sometimes, we can feel the monster that has been chasing us getting ever so close.  Sometimes, the monster catches us.

The monster caught me.

The Tuesday before Christmas the nagging cough that had been plaguing me for weeks escalated into difficulty breathing.  A trip to the ER confirmed that the asthma diagnosis I had been given just 10 days earlier was definitely not asthma.  A chest x-ray quickly revealed the truth.  I had enlarged nodes in my lungs and spots in both lungs of various sizes - spots that were consistent with metastatic breast cancer.  The monster was back, and it had colonized new territory.

A whirlwind of tests and scans followed including two CT scans which also showed lesions on my liver. Additional PET Scans and a liver biopsy confirmed what we had all fully come to expect. It's the very same cancer I started out with eight years ago. It just found some new terrain it liked, including a spot on my hip bone and a spot on one of my lumbar vertebrae, and my immune system just couldn't keep up. I'm pretty proud of my white blood cells for doing so well for so many years. But even the best defenses can get overwhelmed by the monster.  So, it's time to call in the big guns again. Chemotherapy.

Those of you who know me well are aware that this is the part where I attempt to find the positive side of things.  But, the thing is, I do have an awful lot of positives.  I have an amazing network of support - Lanny and Jasper, my Mom, and so many of you who have stepped up and said, "Just let us know what you need."  I have a totally supportive work environment. I am, in all other respects, very healthy. My breathing is strong again. I have good insurance. I have a yoga and meditation practice that keeps me clear headed and grateful for each day. And I have the advances of medical science in my corner with, what my fabulous oncologist calls, "some amazing new drugs."

I had a port installed today, and I have my first infusion on Friday.  I used to have a Caring Bridge site, but since I can't quite remember how to access it to make more posts, I've decided to resurrect my blog.  It feels like the right place to share the journey anyway, because, as awesome as Caring Bridge is, it's meant to be a place to share health information. And I am so much more than my cancer.  My cancer is simply a part of me. I have a lot more to talk about than cancer. Granted, it may dominate the conversion for awhile, and I won't pretend that I'm not concerned, and I still wish I didn't have to do this, but I don't plan to go anywhere anytime soon.

So, I guess sometimes we do find the words.  Sometimes we discover that we are a lot stronger than we thought.  Sometimes, we discover that life is unfair and messy, but also beautiful and generous.  Sometimes, we turn around and face the monster, and when we step out of the shadows into the full light of day, we discover that the monster loses its fangs and claws.  Sometimes we grab hold of the monster and decide to tame it. I think we can do it.




13 comments:

  1. We're out here cheering you on, DeAnn. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  2. DeAnn, you never cease to inspire and amaze me with your spirit. Thank you for sharing - this was beautifully written. Love you!

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  3. You are prepared with the right attitude. We know the great physician. I will be adding you to our prayer list at Bible Study tomorrow. I also am a pretty good cheerleader, DeAnn. DDHess

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  4. David & I sure love you DeAnn and we are praying for you.

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  5. David & I sure love you DeAnn and we are praying for you.

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing this DeAnn. You are a true gift to the world. We are in your corner. Curse the monster!

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  8. David and I are with you, De! Sending love and positive energy.

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  9. You are an incredible person, DeAnn, and I don't know anyone stronger. I've got your back my friend. Xxoo

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  10. If anyone can tame the monster it's you, my dear. I love that analogy, Taming rather than fighting. Taming means getting strict and getting that monster to behave, but doing it with love rather that hate. So wise. Please let me know if you need help. I could come over on Sundays and clean sinks and toilets, or do whatever. Jennifer

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    1. Really? Do you do windows too! LOL! Thanks so much! I'll let you know if we need your cleaning skills!

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  11. DeAnn, your mother provided me with the news of your Return of cancer as well as your blogg address. My heart cries for you and your family in having to deal with all of this again. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am grateful that you will be using the new monoclonal drugs thus reducing the dosage of the chem used. Hopefully, making the side effects from the taxol more tolerable. Deanna Thompson is the author of Hoping for More, a book about her stage IV breast cancer that included multiple fractures of her spine in 2008. She is a survivor and has presented at the Fergus Falls Cancer Center for the past three years. I am giving the book to your mom to read and to pass it along to you. I have found grace, faith, and hope in this book. I know how important it is for me to connect with some one who has walked the path I am traveling. Hopefully, you will find comfort in Ms. Thompson's book as well. Diana Z

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    1. Thank you Diana! I appreciate your support and I know my mom does too!

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