Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Simultaneous Truth

The title for this post comes from my Spring Hill friend, Thom Herman. He may not have coined the phrase, but he was the first one I heard use it. By "simultaneous truth," he meant that two things that appear to be opposite can both be true. I'm in that place with my diagnosis of gallbladder cancer, I have realized.

The first place is understanding the gravity of my diagnosis of gallbladder cancer, and that the prognosis is not good, and that I've already passed more than one of the potential survival deadlines for the diagnosis. I don't deny that it's serious, and I am doing my best to live fully in the awareness of the diagnosis and its significance for my life. I am doing my very best not to live in denial.

Simultaneously, the second place where I stand with my body, my feelings about my body, and my very serious diagnosis, is that I still feel like a healthy person, intrinsically. Yes, I have cancer, and sometime my body, my gallbladder cells, took a turn for the out of control. But, I still feel strong physically, able to live my daily life and do what needs to be done (at least when I don't run out of steam!). I think this is kind of strange, myself, so I'm not sure how it will seem to those of you reading this, but I was thinking about it today on the long drive up to and back from the hospital and my doctor appointments. (Yes, it was a wet, snowy, slushy, rainy, sleety drive, but we made it up and back safely. And Alice, I trust that you and Lexie did as well!) Part of the sense of my innate health was confirmed today by the fact that my blood work came back good again, with all features in the normal range. (This doesn't include the tumor markers, which will be in in a few days, but it's the "CBC" count.) So, my body has held up well under the chemotherapy. Let's hope those cancer cells have been knocked for a loop!

This also impacts the way I respond when someone else refers to my serious illness, my serious diagnosis. Some part of me is surprised to hear that, and then I remember that I do have a serious diagnosis!

Simultaneous truth. Yes, I have cancer, and yes, my natural strong constitution is holding up well under the assault. I seem to have adjusted to the bypass done around my bile duct last May, to the stent between my kidney and bladder, and now my blood has held up under the chemo. My life goes on.

So, with my good blood work, I'll be going in for an infusion of Oxaliplatin on Friday, and will begin another two week round of Xeloda. Then, in a little more than two weeks, on March 5, I'll go in for a CT scan and we'll see if the stent is properly draining my kidney, and if the tumor has stopped growing or even shrunk. One potentially positive note: We told the oncology nurse that sometimes the "spot" in my side aches in the morning if I've slept on that side, and she said maybe that's because the tumor is breaking down. That would be great news!


Anonymous said...

i can't tell you how relieved i am to see your post !!!! i was home and online and didn't see anything, and i wondered about your day, your ride (yuck !!!), your appointments, etc., etc.
so i am glad to hear your blood is good, since that means you can have more chemo, and that is what we are hoping will slow your tumors down considerably- and i agree in that simultaneous truth is what cancer appears to be all about some days -
love you always-

Anonymous said...

Lynne - As I made it into BU and back today, wading in ankle-deep slush to cross the street, I thought several times of you going to the doctors today. I was hoping you were safe and dry and not stuck in some awful traffic snarl. I'm glad your doctor visit, in the middle of all that travel, was so successful! - Grace and Peace - Cathy

Anonymous said...

Lynne....It WOULD be such great news if that tumor is being broken down by the chemo and your strong body! Just envision that...Jamie

Sandy said...

APOPTOSIS to those tumor cells!! Glad to hear your body is holding up well with this chemo regime. I hope your house stays nice and warm for your return tomorrow!
love, Sandy

Elaine Pascale said...

As I've said before, I believe the mind-body connection is incredible. If you "think strong" you will be strong. I don't think that is denial, I call that "fighting mode."

Anonymous said...

Hooray for good blood counts and nurses with potentially great news - I shall work on envisioning that tumor breakdown, too. And kudos for weathering everything yesterday. Why should I be surprised that you braved the elements? I continue to be very proud of you.

Much love,

Anonymous said...

Your strength amazes me!! I think your inner resolve and strength, faith in God and resolve to fight for your life is the energy force that is being sent to those spots in your body to break down that cancer!! You go, girlfriend!!!

Libbi said...

Hoo, boy, does this resonate with me, Lynne. I don't have cancer, but have been disabled by Multiple Sclerosis for six years now. One of my mantras is "I am NOT my disease". Some days it's easier to believe than others, but the important thing is to keep that belief alive, even on the worst days. I'll be checking on your progress, and hoping for more and more good days for you.

Illness to Stillness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Illness to Stillness said...

A landmark study was done in 2004 by prestigious MD's and surgeons fed up about the Chemo myth. It proved once and for good that chemo works in 2.1 percent of cases, 1 of 50, it kills the other 49 quite quickly. Please people educate yourself and don't let fear of death get in the way of simply using the time you have left to enjoy yourself. I feel for all the people getting cancer, my father has it now, but we must educate ourselves.