Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. – Winston Churchill
Frailty, thy name is cancer.
One moment, an oracle, another, a despot; it’s wedged its way in the crevice of each day – lurking, threatening to erupt if I give it too much attention.
Or too little.
Six months ago, I burst out of the oncologist’s office with an uncontainable laugh. I’d just found out the philadelphia (ie. leukemia) gene was at the lowest it had ever been. When David pointed this out to my doctor, he acknowledged with a smile that yes, you are doing very well, and several other words that I somehow understood to mean I was past the goal line and I was out of danger and this was as close to remission as CML gets.
I don’t know what I was thinking.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. – Helen Keller
Some days, I just don’t know what I’d do without my friends.
Well, maybe I do. Maybe I don’t want to think about it. Maybe I don’t want you guys to know that. Maybe there’s a tiny part of us that is unfit for any other human to know, see, or understand,
even those we trust the most.
I firmly believe in the power of community.
Nothing hard is conquered in isolation. Nothing painful is endured so well as within a safe community.
But even the safest community can be – at times – dangerous.
On my counter sits two bags of delicious homemade bread. My fridge boasts a beautiful display of homemade roasted pepper soup made by one of the very talented local authors of Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Last night we devoured plates of roasted potatoes, walnut chocolate chip cookies, and ‘easy lasagna’ casserole, all cooked fresh by a very dear friend of our family.
And right now I’m lightly cleaning up for the arrival of some of our favorite people ever – whom we also happen to be related to. These amazing friends and relatives are bringing every last inch of Thanksgiving dinner to us.
All of this comes on the heels of the best news I’ve heard in the last few months: my prolactin levels were normal.
That means, no tumor.
At least, not in my pituitary gland.
It wouldn’t technically have been cancer, and it wouldn’t technically have been in my brain, but the thought of operating inside my skull – and the thought of something growing inside my skull, affecting how I thought, saw, and did things – really shook me.
The thought of another cancer or almost cancer made my brain – and heart – hurt.
David texted me the news on Thursday morning: I called the doctor. Pit levels are good. Read more
Welcome to the roller coaster that is now my life.
Buckle up. Keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle. I promise the ride will be bumpy, twisted, and upside down.
Good. Now that I’ve warned you, let me tell you about my week.
I’ve seen four different doctors. I’ve been to BC BioMed Labs three times. And, so far I may have one or more of the following four illnesses: pulmonary hypertension/heart failure, hypothyroidism, cervical cancer, or my favorite, pituitary tumor.
All are possible, the last three are likely. And they may all be related to the last one: a tumor in my pituitary gland.
Technically, pituitary tumor is not cancer. Nor is it a brain tumor. It’s called pituitary adenoma, a slow-growing tumor in the pituitary gland that messes up all of the body’s hormones, causing things like hypothyroidism and a host of reproductive issues, including the iron-deficiency anemia that I’ve already been diagnosed with. Depending on its size, it’s often not operated on; best treatment is usually through medication.
It’s also often never even diagnosed. Read more