IN LOVING MEMORY…

In respect to my mother-in-law’s passing yesterday, I have not posted an entry today. Instead I send her my love, and will never forget her. May she rest in peace…

Funeral services coincide somewhat with next week’s post, so please allow me this time for mourning.  My next post will be April 5.  Thank you.

Be well,

Patricia

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Mom & Dad, I Have Cancer

Now came the difficult time of telling my family I had cancer.  They all knew about my appointment that day.  Until that moment, I had little concern about what they were feeling, but it wasn’t due to lack of sensitivity.  Having been withdrawn from my own sentiments, their emotions were not at the forefront of my mind.  Since tumours suggest cancer, had they struggled with that possibility all day?

So how the heck was I going to tell my parents their baby girl has stomach cancer, and would need a very risky operation?  Certainly, not with a phone call.

During the drive, I became methodical, and I put my resources to work immediately.  No one had to tell me what to do, nor did I have to ask, for some odd reason.  It was as though I had gone through this before, and my instincts took over.

I was in for the fight of my life, and I needed to know I was in the best of hands.  There didn’t seem to be any one within my circle who knew an expert in stomach cancer.  No immediate information was available for referrals or the disease itself, since I hadn’t known anyone who had this type of cancer.

What I did know was that the hospital that diagnosed me was not a cancer or research hospital.  So where would I go?  My best option was to ask every one I knew about getting a referral for a Gastric Surgeon.

I spoke with one of my employers, Lyanne, to give her the news.  We also discussed finding a surgeon in the field.  She would check with her sister, a hematologist, if she could refer me to a specialist.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have confidence in the surgeon that agreed to handle my case, but he was a general surgeon.  A specialist in this field of medicine would likely increase my chances, right?  I also believed post-op treatments should be done at the same institution, which I felt were better funded at a larger hospital.

 

Normally, I’d have an annual scan to check the status of my remission.  The last one was in June of 2014.  That’s over twenty months ago, and my surgeon’s secretary agreed that although there was a delay in the radiology department, they should have contacted me by now.  Well, yesterday I finally had the scan, and I “look forward” to hearing and posting great results. 

Sorry, especially to those close to me, if you didn’t know about the scan.  I try not to worry any one, and real-time postings are sometimes tricky.

Have a wonderful week!

Ignoring the Signs

How could this happen?  Years earlier, I did experience strange digestive issues.  Friends have told me that I had mentioned stomach problems.  Some of the complaints I talked about were bloating and pain, without being too explicit.  I also had constipation.  But so many people experience these discomforts.  These symptoms may be attributed to many things.

They also said my husband and I had often brought up recipes we had seen on the food channel.  I loved food and cooking.  Gourmet cooking was more interesting to me than Italian dishes because they expanded our meal possibilities.  I wanted to learn how to make every thing.

What stands out now is the time I was awakened by horrible abdominal cramping.  I went to the washroom, but became dizzied by the pain and the difficulty from excreting.  “Ma,” I managed a whisper to my mother before falling out of consciousness.  I must have hit my head on the bidet that was right next to the toilet, then fell on the ceramic floor, half undressed.  I still have no idea how much time went by before awakening, and stumbling over to my mother’s bedroom to let her know what had happened.

“I heard a bang, but didn’t think it was from inside the house.”  She sounded stoned from a deep sleep.

My black eye demanded an explanation to those with whom I came in contact.  It is funny when I think about that incident, but I hadn’t given it further concern.  Perhaps there was mention to my family doctor later on.  I really should start paying more attention to the signs!

Happy Woman’s Day to all the ladies around the globe!  Be strong, and continue to give love, for this Earth is nothing without you.

Patricia

How Did I Get Here?

After leaving the room, Mariano and I took the elevator to the ground floor and headed outside.  But I don’t remember getting there, or seeing other people along the way.  You can snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, but you wouldn’t know how you got from one place to another.  It was almost magical.

We sat on the bench in the sun on the hospital’s pathway to the road where our car was parked.  The landscaping around the hospital had grand trees and pretty flowers.  Scattered benches, some shaded by the trees, were mostly filled with people trying to enjoy the last warm days we would have for many months.  “It’s nice the hospital staff gets to sit outside here.  It takes them away from all that negativity inside.”  Some employees tilted their heads to face the sun so they could tan.  For a few minutes, we also paid attention to all the people walking in and out of the hospital, passing us.  There were sad expressions, indifferent ones, and even jovial.  Were they wondering about us?

Mariano told me that we were shocked that the surgeon would make really long cuts to my torso in order to remove the cancer and my stomach.  I don’t remember that conversation, but I had obviously reacted to it.  I’m so grateful Mariano was at that meeting to properly receive the important information.

We tried to soak it all in – the cancer, the operation, the risks, the change.  I was unemotional about the details Mariano shared with me, and found I wasn’t absorbing much of it.

Mariano was calm.  He’s not one to share deep emotion, even with me.  But you know his pensive mood when he begins asking questions aloud, like “What could have brought this on?”

The sun was shining brightly still.  It is said that rain brings luck – on a wedding day anyway.  In my case, the constant shining sun that day could have been a sign of success to come.  Sure, I say that now!  In that moment, I was not confident about the outcome.

I’m always fascinated while observing people.  It makes me realize that we’re not the same, yet exactly the same.  Inside our private lives we are ourselves, on the outside, we’re strange to one another.  We all have our own manner in dealing with crises.  I realized I’m not infallible – just like there are people who would commit suicide in times of despair or kill to get what they want.  Have I discovered my vulnerability?  How will I deal with this trauma?  There are so many unknowns still, and I wasn’t processing the information emotionally.  Am I strong enough to support what lies ahead?

 

On the weekend, two people I knew, one fifty-two and one sixty, passed from cancer.  I wish them peace and their families great healing.  Hopefully, you haven’t known many you have suffered or died from this awful illness.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s estimates for 2015, over 200 people would die from cancer every day, and more than 500 will be diagnosed each day.  Since my diagnosis in 2004, I have known and lost too many already.  Please offer your support – even a shoulder to your neighbour during their time of suffering.

Be well,

Patricia