Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A mixed bag...

Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there. ~Author Unknown

Dr. Panwalkar walked into the exam room yesterday and exclaimed... "Vicky, you're famous!"  It seems that everyone at Sanford and Roger Maris reads the newspaper.  

He brought up the scans on the computer and started showing me the "slices" or "frames" that the scans take.  He pointed out the anatomy as we went, orienting me to the view.  I flashback to my anatomy /physiology class in grad school.  Our professor had decided that in order for us to really learn the brain, we needed a med school book.  I needed a dictionary and interpreter most of the way through the book. It all comes rushing back to me as I stare at the image of my very own brain.  Each part flashes in my mind as I blink, cerebellum, blink, cerebrum, blink, brain stem, blink.

Honestly, despite all of the long names of the anatomy, it looks like shadows in varying shades of smoky grey, with white splotches appearing every now and again.  Frame after frame everything appears normal.

Until he slowed and suddenly in the brain, there appeared the same white blob.  Blink.  He said, "its unchanged.  It didn't grow.  Its still lighting up which it normally doesn't do."  Perplexed I said, "but not cancer?"  "no, he said, we DO think its cancer.  Blink, blink.  In three weeks time, it went from being not a cancer, to probably a cancer.  "We just don't know what it is. Since it hasn't changed, we don't do anything for now."  

I am immediately trying to disseminate all that this means.  I realize the variables are confounding.  It won't go away on its own.  But it could just lie there for a long time.  Or it could grow, fast or slow, or maybe in ways that are hard to decipher.  Will I come off the study and go through a wash out of my current chemo to start a new one?  Will we try to radiate it?  Will I have brain surgery?  These are all possibilities and I know, he can't predict any more than I can at this point.  Questioning him won't give me the results I desire. Gulp.

As I am pondering this chess like move my cancer has made, I am completely caught off guard as Dr. Panwalkar proceeds to my CT scan.  While the lymph node tumors remain stable, as does the spot in my spine, something new has cropped up. Blink. Blink again.

This time we look at my lungs.  Again, frame after frame passes by, until suddenly a tiny white wisp of appears on one single frame.  It disappears on the next frame.  Its the tiniest blip.  He confirms its tiny, 3mm... which is too small for a PET scan to accurately reflect if it is cancer.  Its also too small to biopsy.  In fact, it could be a small infection that I have that will resolve on its own. 

Again, we will watch and wait.  Lung surgery?  Radiation?  New chemo?  How many drugs does it take to fend off possible brain and lung mets?  Deep breath.

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia

He examines me.  I'm remarkably fine.  I'm the healthiest looking "sick" person you've ever seen.  I will continue on with the study drug and have scans in a couple of months.

He walks me back to the infusion center where I am instantly grabbed by one of the nurses and given a huge hug.  I usually fly under the radar at chemo.  Dr. Panwalkar slips away as I am escorted off to my room amidst lots of smiles and compliments on the newspaper article.  The good natured spirits of the chemo nurses buoy me and I am swept away in a tidal wave of positive energy.  They flow in and out of my room, each one bringing me a smile, a hug, an encouragement- an acknowledgement.  

I am still hopeful.  I am still counting gratitude.  But I am human, and everything is tinged with a tiny sadness.  So I am sitting with the sad today, and blinking in the sunlight trying to force its way through the clouds.   I know I will resurrect the joy.  The giddy and the merry are there in the messy, I just need to dig a little to find them again.  Sigh...  


  1. As your mind and thoughts twirl in millions of directions, and you are engulfed in unhappiness, please rest assured that YOU are loved, and God is in control!
    Praying for you as you go thru these difficult days!
    Love you.

  2. My sweet Vicky. Im thinking about you and hope your happiness will come back, I´m sure.

    Your mind and your soul need the time to became new power and you will be strong I know it!

    I love you so much ... and I wish I can stay with you, look with you to the sky ... never forget ... we will have a date ... in the future, if the cancer is going away, we will capture Munich and the HofbrÀuhaus.

    Hugs and Bussal

  3. Hugs to you -

    have you read this blog?

    She is dealing with the same illness, has been treated for the spot on the brain recenlty, and right now, kicking cancer in the a**, despite her odds. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer at the very same time. You might already be in contact with her, but if not, I think you two could share stories and treatment options.

  4. May you be held in Grace and renewed hope one day at a time.

  5. Sweet One...will email or text or something in a little while-right now, I'm sitting in the sadness with you. And stepping out of my day to kneel and whisper prayers.
    love love love

  6. Oh, Vicky ... I'm sad to hear this. Certainly not the news we wanted for you. Sending you all the love and light I can muster across the miles between us.

  7. as this is the first i recall hearing these specifics about location of the cancer, i am a bit taken aback. but i'm NOT GOING ANYWHERE. i am praying for you and telling myself what you are: worry only saps today of its joy.

    this is the longest night of the year (see Robin's post), but our Lord declares that JOY comes in the morning. clinging with you to that truth, dearheart. BIG hug, girl. thanks for being honest.

  8. I know . But you have to cling to the fact that if the doctor knows nothing, then it could be anything.It doesn't have to be the worst possible scenario.
    But you are still here fighting, living life and enjoying your children and this is a blessing in itself.What you have to think is, ok the doctors keep you informed moreso than others.I am sure if we all went to be examined this way, most of us should have long passed but we all live and so will you.

  9. Hold on tight, Vicky! Hold on tight to the fact that none of this has been "diagnosed" as cancer. And, never, ever lose HOPE!

    "Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all." ~Emily Dickinson

    Sending hugs, thoughts, love and prayers your way!


  10. I'm thinking of you Vicky...sending you a big hug. I'm glad you have good chemo nurses. Tomorrow is a new day.

  11. Praying with you and for you.

    "Don't fear tomorrow, God is already there" is one of my favorite quotes. I have it written several places where I am forced to see it.

    On my refrigerator. Over my desk at work. Because I keep needing to be reminding.

  12. Oh, my heart just sank and sank further as I read through your post. Words cannot express how upset I am for you, and I know this fear. But I am also so encouraged by you and encouraged that you're still able to count your blessings. And I am praying fervently for peace and calm.

  13. Loving you and praying for God to fill you with peace. I'm thankful you are surrounded by loving, Godly friends & family. Wish I could give you a hug in person, but a cyber hug will have to do. ((Hug))

  14. Vicky, the blinking is such a poignant way of sharing your thoughts with us. You have a brilliant way of expressing what you are experiencing with all of us. And we are concerned with you, and hopeful with you, and praying through it with you. This is a season of hope in uncertainty, light in the darkness. Keep looking at the light. Don't lose sight of it. It's leading you into life! We are here for you, sweet girl!

  15. No matter the time zones, you are still in my daily prayers and I wish you could feel the hug I am sending you right now.

    Be strong, sweet friend and know love comes your way from everywhere. Sending you healing energy and loving thoughts :-)

  16. Hi,
    You don't know me at all, but I have been following you for quite some time, since Sweet Sara asked us to pray for you. Just wanted you to know I have been praying for you, for have been praying a bunch more for you this week.
    Barb from CNY

  17. Oh, Vicky. So frightening. I am sorry for all the fear and sadness this news brings.

    One of the things I always see in your posts, your experiences is this world of good people that are drawn to you. Even in this post, with all of its sadness and uncertainty, there are hugs and smiles and positive energy - the good that your presences generates in others.

    This goodness is here for you, because of you. Be strong, and know that the goodness will follow you.

    One step at a time...

    Thoughts, prayers are with you. Sending giddy and merry in your direction.

  18. we all appreciate the update and with it, we continue to send prayers your way.....

    i can only imagine how hard it is to not think about the latest news and the thoughts that weigh you down....but with the strength you've shown us, we know how you continue to fly.....xoxo

  19. i've been walking through today with you on my mind for most of it. been wearing your bracelet and praying for you every time you came to mind, which was a lot!

    trusting that you are feeling His everlasting arms underneath you (deut. 33:27), carrying you to the manger. He came for you; imagine if you didn't know that at this time!

    big love from GA

  20. oh, Vicky...there are no words. My heart just kept stopping with you as I read along. I am so so sorry. I am praying for you, praying for a miracle, praying for peace for your heart along with your husband and boys. Have been thinking on/praying this verse for my sister and am now praying it for you.
    Psalm 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.
    I just keep picturing the actual mountains that surround Jerusalem and then imagine that those mountains are the Lord surrounding His people--it comforts my heart. Praying for you to know the comfort of His surrounding presence--many prayers. And I am sitting with the sad with you right now.

  21. So much love. So many tears. If love alone could restore you to perfect health, you would have it immediately.

    "To fight the unbeatable foe
    And never to stop dreaming or fighting -
    This is man's privilege
    And the only life worth living."
    - Dale Wasserman, playwright who wrote the book for the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha"

  22. From the grey Illinois prairies come prayers and understanding. We have just had a sudden and wholly unexpected death in our family, once again putting this season and life in perspective. You shine among all the candles and lights of Advent, Vicky.

  23. Sighing with you, Vicky. I have had to be off Facebook, too, and somehow missed this post as we addressed a suicide in the family. I don't want any of this news for you (x 1000) and I'm sorry you have to deal with this now. The not knowing is untenable but I know you lean heavily on the everlasting arms and wait there until you can move on. I love what everyone said but especially Kass. My fingers are lingering over the keyboard and writing, and erasing, so many stupid things that are meant to be wise, or comforting, or at least useful and they all come out wrong.

    I don't know what to say and the reality is I'm speechless. I don't have anything that will bring instant relief or deep insights of wisdom. But I'm aching with you and hoping with you and wishing with you and praying FOR you. May the next MRI show that this white blob is gone. It has happened before, Vicky. We know of someone who experienced it. It can happen for you. Praying it will...praying it WILL.

  24. Oh sweet girl, I will pray that the saddness recedes and is replaced with joy. I will also pray that all those BLIPS disappear completely. Sending love and hugs to you. XO, Pinky

  25. Vicky, I am sorry your going through this, the darn not knowing for sure....but try to remain positive, I know that is easier said than done. remember how much love you have surrounding you and many prayers are being sent your way. I believe in miracles and you never know when one will show up. I just wish you did not have to go through any of this, one love. cindy

  26. I am saddened too Vicky to hear of the latest development. But something tells me that the worst and toughest part is over. It will all be taken care of. The clinical trial that you are going through will take care of the latest wisp and blob. When God is making his presence felt all around you, rest assured, He will ensure you breeze through this too. Keep the faith. I shall continue to pray for your well being. Love you loads :)


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