Thursday, December 15, 2016

breathing life into your moments








I don't try to carry too much with me anymore.  It's hard to go back through the recesses of my mind for anything weighty, or medical- related, or too detailed.  I know I'm about to find out if I have another primary cancer, and yet I haven't had the steely nerve to google just what this would mean for me.  

But when I walk into the lobby of Roger Maris Cancer Center, my steps become leaden, and my shoulders round, as the weight of it all enshrouds me.  My pager buzzes and as the nurse takes me in to weigh me, I shed as much as I can. My coat, my boots, my scarf, my sweater, my bags, my burdens, my anxieties, it all heaps on the nearest chair.  I simply can't carry it all anymore.  I feel like  I'll weigh 532 pounds with all that comes with me.  

 My focus, now heightens, keen and alert.  My questions que up in my brain, clambering to be heard and acknowledged.  My prayer is for my heart to have enough space for anything new I need to absorb, and strength for my body to somehow carry more.  

It's been 3 weeks since I've seen Dr. Panwalkar.  But I've been seen by Dr. Tinguely, who performed the biopsy of my uterus, and then had a 3D vaginal ultrasound completed.  I missed her call to me, however, and she was booked with surgery all day the day the results came in.

So I waited for results until this past Tuesday, the 13th, when I saw  Dr. P.  

He enthusiastically greets me as he strides into the room.  "I was just reading the pathology report... here, lets look together."  He points to the screen and I squint, not sure I'm ready to see with my eyes.  But there it is...

Two words.

blah, blah blah... breast cancer... blah blah


The pathology report says the findings are consistent with breast cancer cells, not uterine cancer.  How is this possible?  I've never felt such utter relief to hear, "You have breast cancer."  

Yet, I take a short breath.  I know there is more.  I'm hyper focused on what comes next.  Once again, we're chartering new territory.  Its HIGHLY unusual for breast cancer to metastasize to the uterus- yet its surrounded my colon before, and we found it on my ovaries when they were removed- this is all very rare and the path is simply unclear. 

"Surgery?"  I ask.  "Will we remove my uterus now?"  

Dr. P leans back, and his arms come up to his face in thoughtfulness.  "Well..."

I quickly insert what I know..."its tricky to do surgery, when I need treatment to growing tumors in my lungs.  We'd have to stop chemo, and even then, healing may be compromised."

"Yes," he says, "true."  "Plus we know that there is no increased survival benefit to removing the tumors, not with breast cancer.  We don't debulk, because there is no benefit- and getting clean margins in this instance can be almost impossible."

"We should continue systemic treatment- the chemo regimen you are on, and watch and see."

He motions to the exam table and I laugh as he throws the gown on the table, off to a chair and then helps me up.  We're way beyond such formality.  Yet, he is thorough in checking my stomach, which is not as tender to the touch, and has many questions about how I am doing. 

We conclude and he says, "well you seem to be doing just fine."

He turns to write orders for chemo, and I happen to ask about my lab work.  He flips on the screen and we both flinch as the red warning signs leap off the screen!

"Oh!  He says... shaking his head.  "Your counts are way too low.  Oh, .6.  No, no chemo for you."  We start looking ahead to see when I could possibly start the next round, but its the week of Christmas.  

He is leaning back again in his chair, deep in thought.


"Do you want to just wait until January 3rd?  How do you feel about that?"

I'm trying to read him, as he tries to read me, and suddenly we both laugh.  He simply tells me its not like my cancer is racing away right now.  I should be ok to wait, as long as I continue to feel ok.

I have such a deep sense of trust.  He seems to have a 6th sense for my body, and my cancer, and I simply tune into his intuitive nature.  

He asks if there is anything else I need?  

I've saved the best for last...

A small gift he can share with his family.  A travel book with all kinds of fun facts about each of the states in the US.  He literally starts paging through it, smiling and genuinely seems engaged with it.  He then opens our family Christmas photo, and again studies it.

"They're so big! He exclaims, looking at the boys.  The youngest looks like Rick, and Vicky, the oldest looks like you."  He raises his eyebrows as he looks to me, and I smile, and nod.  

We've exhausted our time, and need to move on.  My emotions are welling in my throat.  He's holding the very thing that matters the most to me. This image sears in my brain.  He has breathed life back into my moments.   

He leads me down the hall, my walk lighter, my back straighter again....and as we part he leans in and whispers to me... "Have a Merry Christmas..."  and I barely whisper back..."Merry Christmas to you."  




Source: Tyler Knott Gregson





















27 comments:

  1. I am so, so glad you are having a Christmas break. Your grace never fails to take my breath away. And I just love the picture of Dr. P holding your Christmas card (which is beautiful, by the way).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa, thank you. I pray that another break will be coming for you after awhile too. Its these little things that give us just enough room to breathe before we dive back in. Merry Christmas to you- am praying for Grace to cover you in the days and weeks ahead.

      Delete
  2. You are so good at describing the moments that leave us pause, and make everything inside us tumble and shift, and then...the hope, the good stuff, that we cannot do without. I am so happy you are still finding it, my friend. You are in my steadfast prayers! I hope we can find a spot for that coffee soon. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your description of what you feel- its very similar to what it feels like to me as well! Yes, we can do coffee soon! I sent you an email and will wait for a time that works for you!

      Delete
  3. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Glad you are going to be able to enjoy the holiday season and the birth of Jesus. Francis C. Moore

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so happy, Francis, that I can put HIM at the center of my focus this Christmas. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

      Delete
  4. Thanks be to God for a break!

    Your description of the time with Dr.P leaves me breathless; once again I thank you for taking us with you on your journey.

    Have a wonderful Christmas season :-) Oh, almost forgot, your card is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Susan. His hand is clearly all over this. Merry Christmas to you as well! So happy you choose to come along with me, Susan!

      Delete
  5. it's almost (almost!) become impossible to read your blog. the words just take me to a place that is almost too exquisite to experience. Merry Christmas. And thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Joan, such grace-filled words- they touch me so! Merry Christmas to you, and thank YOU for showing up and reading!

      Delete
  6. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’– thank you for this. I can imagine what it took out of you to write it. Enjoy the rest and all the memories of Christmas - - my favorite being Emmanuel, God WITH us. Oh how we need Him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn, it was the first time in a long time the words just tumbled out and was such a relief. I miss being here more often and am hopeful I can muster some energy to persevere a bit more. Amen- God with us indeed! Merry Christmas to you!

      Delete
  7. Your Dr. P. is surely an angel sent to you! I am and will be praying for you and your beautiful family for BLESSINGS this Christmas. I am so glad you are getting break, I never know how you do it. You are such an inspiration, Vicky. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pinky- yes- I had that same image in my mind- He feels like a guardian angel to me! I don't really know how I get by like I do, either, Pinky, but the right thing always comes along at the right time it seems. Merry Christmas to you dear one!

      Delete
  8. OH! Thank you for sharing this in the most perfect way ... I feel as if I am lighter in my steps, too, walking with you. You have such a beautiful spirit, an extraordinary gift of communicating ... and an amazing doctor/friend. Vicki, Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Merry- what delightful name! Thank you for your sweet words, they truly honor me. Merry Christmas to you Merry!

      Delete
  9. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Vicky. What a great family photo!! It appears you have a wonderful doctor in Dr. P. and I'm thankful you get a break for the holidays. Kristi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Kristi, for such kind words. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Delete
  10. I wish you and yours a wonderful Merry Christmas. Enjoy this break in your treatment and the time with your precious loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Denise- it sounds like the best possible plan to me. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Delete
  11. Your writing. Holy goosebumps. As always. Vicky, I promise, I held my breath while reading this. You have such a gift, and you so freely share it with us. You don't hold back. You give it to us straight. And you always, always stir faith.

    You bring me closer to The Father.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how you bless me with your grace filled words! When you say, "you always stir faith," Its such a high compliment. I believe he pours into me and uses me as an instrument to hopefully glorify Him. You do this very thing for me through your own talented offerings on your blog. So grateful to do this with you!

      Delete
  12. How can my eyes not well up when I read your words. You get right inside my heart when you write your very first word, and I read each of your words with my heart in my throat. I want to call you "brave"....but I know you won't hear of it. But my heart whispers it.
    And my heart tells me you are blessed...with the best attitude, husband, boys, (young men, now)...doctor, and friends who love you.
    My prayers are with you...and I rejoice with good news regarding my sweet friend.
    Merry Christmas.
    Always,
    Jackie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Jackie, I am so very blessed and you are one of the biggest ones. All these years you take the time to show up here, and invest your own time, your big heart and offer your prayers and encouraging words that speak to me so. Thank you for rejoicing along with me! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Delete
  13. He gave you a Christmas gift by giving you Christmas. How Dr. P like and I laughed with both of you at the scene of you trying to read each other. Grateful you have this break and time through Christmas. I know it means so much more, sweet friend, but I, with you, will take all the good news I can get. And a few weeks off is good news. May you feel the full good effects of a break and revel in the winter stillness of being, instead of being done TO.

    If you've seen my posts you know our friend Chris is on his way to Stanford to, hopefully, receive a new liver. He has been SO sick for so very many years that having to wait has nearly cost him his ability to be a candidate. And we still don't know. He has stood at the precipice of death's door more than once and yet God has made a way. He has defied all odds and surprised everybody. You do the same thing with your warrior ways. You may feel slumped and defeated sometimes, Vicky, but you battle on and when you can't, God grants you rest, like now. You SO deserve a rest from the battle and I'm glad you get a cease fire at Christmas. Love you and praying on. Merry Christmas to all of you. And I LOVE the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my dear sweet friend,
    What a gift Dr. P is and what a gift he gave you. He does breathe life into your moments. He does have a 6th sense of what is going on with your cancer. I can just picture your interaction with each other. You...giving him a thoughtful gift and a card showing your precious family.
    Dr P...giving you his time, sensitivity and care that is so much more than physical.

    How grateful I am, sweet friend, that you are HERE, now, and you have had another Christmas with your dear ones!! Praise God!!! You, dear Vicky, are the one putting away the Christmas ornaments again this year. I am so, so grateful to God for answered prayers, for making a way when at times there seems to be no way.

    And speaking of gifts... YOU, my dear friend, are just the best Christmas present ever for me. Your love and care and prayers and concern enrich my life. Your "warrior ways" (as Robynn said) give me courage to face why ever comes my way!

    We just got back late last night so I'll share more later!
    Know that I love you, Vicky, always, to the moon and back! Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers every day!
    Your soul sis,
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  15. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you and your family Vicky. I've read your posts over the years...can't even remember how many years it's been now, but I feel like I know you as a friend or sister. I've watched over the years your writing style go from every day "mom" life to an amazing cancer survivor, and now mother to teenage boys. I think of you often Vicky and marvel at your strength and loving nature. You and Dr. P were meant to be...working together to beat cancer. God bless you Vicky and NEVER give up my friend.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

Popular Posts

Minnesota.com

Minnesota.com - MN Weather, Map, Businesses and Blogs