Friday, October 31, 2014

Still Waiting

As mentioned in the previous post my next step is a biopsy. After all the issues we had with my partner Kim's prior medical issues, we decided not to deal with the struggle of trying to find good doctors in this area and are going to the Moffitt Cancer Center is Tampa. The appointment is this coming Monday, November 3rd. We've had to wait I little longer to get answers, but we feel we will be in much better hands.

I have been feeling pretty well overall, but continue to have wondering sharp pains associated with my breathing. Yesterday was the first day I woke without them and made it through half the day without any, but then it started up in my right side around 1:00. It feels like a stitch in your side when you run, but much worse and intensifies when I need to take a deep or quick breath which, if you have ever gone through anything similar, is so much more often than you realize in a day. 

It is hard not being able to take deep breaths because it causes pain which in turn makes you feel like you need to cough or yawn just to get some air which causes pain. It is getting better everyday and I can't wait to just be able to breath normally and feel like I am standing up straight.

To top it all off, I started my period yesterday and am feeling a little bipolar. The Gerson diet I am on is very restricted in terms of what foods I can eat and I cried just a little because I am sick of oatmeal and just wanted an egg and piece of bacon for breakfast. The next minute I was laughing because the juicer sprayed juice everywhere, which could have gone the other direction and caused me to get pissed. So it should be an interesting day. Watch out trick-or-treaters I could be much scarier than any costume out there tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Initial Diagnosis

I had the PET scan yesterday and I received my initial diagnosis this morning. Cancer in the breast, lungs, iliac bone and spine, and possibly lymph nodes. It has been an emotional rollercoaster.

My immediate reaction was I am not dying like this. I teach high school and decided it was probably not good for me or my students to stay. Luckily, I was on my planning period, so I was able to leave and there was time to find someone to sub.

I drove home and was contemplating not telling my partner until she got home, since she only worked until noon, but I knew she would not want me to wait. So began my afternoon of hard calls.

I went back and forth with feeling strong, ready to fight anything and crying and, of course, anger. Typical emotions in this circumstance. It is emotionally exhausting and at some point I just needed to shut off the phone and take a time out, so I allowed myself that.

My partner and I stopped by and spoke with the Physician’s Assistant I have been dealing with and I asked if there was a possibility even if very slim that this was not cancer. She said it was possible, but with the nodules, lesions, etc. being in so many different areas that it was unlikely. Yet, it felt like a glimmer of hope.

The next step is to get a biopsy of the breast to determine what type of cancer it might be so we know how to proceed with treatment. I personally have already started treatment. I am a firm believe in food and nature as a healer. I had heard of the Gerson Institute a few years ago and have always been intrigued at the work they do. Depending on the results of the biopsy, I will decide whether or not I will include traditional treatments in my approach to fighting this, but the Gerson Therapy will definitely be a priority for me.

So I have accepted that fighting cancer may be my path for the next several months, years, but when I am alone and still, a calm comes over me and I have this feeling that this diagnosis is not right and it doesn’t feel like denial, although maybe.

So I sit here tonight not clinging to but gently hoping that my original thought of a lung infection may still be correct and the other stuff is just a coincidence. I know, it’s a huge stretch, but if it’s going to happen, then I would be the person it would happen to. I tend to do weird and unusual. For example, when I had my knee surgery, the doctor thought it was a torn meniscus, but it turned out to be benign tumorous tissue and plaque build up which had to be removed.

So, perhaps for the first time in history, a human sits praying for a lung infection, because it sounds a lot better than the alternative. Either way,  I still maintain, that I will get through this and be better for it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Big Scare

I am a healthy person. I eat well, take care of myself, and typically have plenty of energy. I rarely go to the doctor and when I do it’s usually for injury rather than illness. The last time I got blood work done for a physical, the doctor told me I was one of the healthiest people she had ever seen.

On Thursday, I scheduled myself an appointment because I was having a tremendous amount of pain throughout my entire abdominal cavity, along with pain when I took sudden deep breaths which felt as though I might have cracked ribs and intense lower back pain. The discomfort started out as just that discomfort and over about a week got slowly worse then suddenly became very painful. AS an indication of how bad it was, I can say as an individual who will barely take aspirin, I was seriously considering going to the ER.

I scheduled my self an appointment for the following day. The fact that the pain moved around from day to day was confusing. I went and had blood work done and was scheduled for a CT scan the following day.

I was given the results of that scan about an hour later and my world was through off its axis. I was told that I had nodules in my lungs and intestine, a cyst on my ovary, and a lesion on my hip bone. I just sat there in stunned silence. I was told some of it looked suspicious and some not so much but the real concern was that it was all there together. This news was so shocking to me that I didn’t even discuss what I had intended when I went in that morning which was that I thought I had a lung infection.

I had gone on a vision quest in the New Mexico desert about 3 months ago and slept outside under the stars. During that time I had also inadvertently inhaled a big breath of sage smoke which had sent off on a coughing fit. On my drive back home to Florida I began experiencing sharp pains when I breathed in suddenly like yawns, sneezes, laughs, etc. Overtime, the pain went away and I had a slight dry cough which seemed to be going away when I went back to my teaching job and caught a cold. The cold symptoms were mild and went away quickly but I was left with mild chest congestion for quite some time, then just the the dry cough I had been experiencing before which lingered a bit and eventually seemed to be going away until this all started up.

Many of my family members have both had and died from cancer, especially lung cancer, so the possibility of my having it scares the hell out of me. I’m still convinced that I have a lung infection, perhaps something like Valley Fever, which is found in the SW desert and which if untreated can cause nodules in the lungs and even move on to other parts of the body, however, the chance is still there that this is much worse.

After my initial reaction, I pretty much said fuck cancer, I am not doing cancer. This is bullshit. Yet the possibility remains. I sat with it for a while and I have always been in tune with my body, and I just feel like it doesn’t  fit. Yet the possibility remains. I have started using an herbal tea to treat the infection myself and am already feeling much better. And yet…the possibility remains.

This is like any other negative situation. The not knowing is very possibly the hardest part. So I wait. Tuesday I have a PET scan and should know more, and until then I will continue saying fuck cancer, you are not welcome here. I will remain my typically positive self and I will use this time to reflect on what has brought me to this point, because cancer, infection, or whatever it may be, we all share in the responsibility of was has brought us down this road in our journey. And there is always a lesson or treasure to be found at the end of the journey.