HEALTH UPDATE: I’m mostly boring now with little change. My 20 something-ish CT scan yesterday showed no change from the scan before and no cancer spread. The tumor monster has dwindled from the size of a small football to a round-ish egg size. Truly and incredibly amazing. A medical miracle, if you will. My legs are so much stronger. I recently was able to sit on my garage step (low low low) to put on my shoes and I actually was able to get up!! Big win! I’ve had 4 negative tumor dna tests which means there doesn’t seem to be any of my tumor dna floating around in my blood. As I write this, I’m waiting to see my doctor before administration of my 43rd immunotherapy infusion. Next week I’m having an esophogram procedure. Before we decimated the tumor monster, it caused a hiatal hernia. I’ve been having digestive issues for 4 years now and as long as I’m still alive I decided to take this issue off the back burner and see what options there are to remedy my symptoms. Basically, imagine your bathroom sink with a huge hairy clog in the pipe and your toothpaste spit & water won’t go down. That’s how my esophagus feels. It doesn’t matter what kind of food or if it’s solid food or water. If it’s acting up, it won’t go down. It’s gross! Not to mention a recent endoscopy and biopsy showed some weird cells (not cancer). I’ve also got a skin issue on my face. All things that are tiny compared to cancer but as long as I’m still here, might as well check it out!!
I had a cocktail! I actually had a COCKTAIL!!! I tried my first love, Miller Lite. Nope, nope, nope. Carbonation is just not doable with my messed up esophagus. While enjoying my amazing nephew Nolan perform in his band SALT, I ordered my first drink at a bar in years!! I went old school with a Malibu rum and pineapple juice. HA!!! It was delicious. It was really hot out. I think the alcohol evaporated because the only buzz I had was on life and being in complete awe of Nolan. What a star!!! So proud!!
I think of how cocktails can be like life. To say my life has been shaken is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been shaken to my core. I just keep shaking! I’m not sure how to eloquently describe it! Diagnosis. Death sentence. Survival. Uncertainty. Back to reality.
I was relatively quick to accept my grim prognosis. I credit my self diagnosis of hypochondria as a helpful tool to understand what was happening as I had already convinced myself that cancer is real and it could happen to me. When my recovery began to take shape I would call this the “kittens and rainbows” phase. It was at this time my life expectancy and life expectations were low. It was the most blissful I’ve been in years. Strike that. Change to EVER! The flowers smelled better. Chocolate was sweeter. The sky was bluer and the sun shined so much brighter. I will not commit to denial that these thoughts still exist. They do. But it’s different.
One word. Reality. I would have never guessed that survival could be so complicated. I find myself unsettled. When I thought I was going to die, I only allowed myself to live in the present. There were few worries of a future that I was no longer going to be a part of. I took care of as many things that I could control for the future as fast as I could as I assumed my sand was slipping through the hour glass. As I transition yet again, I’m facing the realities of life. Work. Finances. Health maintenance. Work. Weight. Covid. Drama. Work. Tripled life insurance premiums. Health insurance. Work. You know, stuff like that. Is the dying honeymoon over?
How twisted does this sound? Am I really complaining about being part of the 5% that survive pancreatic cancer in the first year? Maybe. Maybe I am. Life is hard. I read stories of people who have had near death experiences. They share all sorts of experiences. Bright lights. Beautiful calm feelings. Being outside of their own bodies and looking down not wanting to go back to their life. On a much smaller scale, I can’t help but to compare this to my experience. My heart has not stopped though. It’s only been cracked. I’m changed forever. Mostly for better. Some things are worse. I am grateful that fate has kept me here. I trust my God and I will keep on going!