“You have about six months without a viable treatment option”. I heard these words close to 15 years ago - and again this week. I turns out the “non-event” tumor that the Doctors found on my bladder is, indeed, quite the event. It has permeated the interior wall of the bladder and has made itself at home. Under “normal” circumstances, the specialists would schedule surgery to remove the tumor, and possibly part of the bladder, and call it a day. However, it’s not very safe for me to have surgery that involves general anesthesia. The last time we tried that, I had a heart attack and I’m not really up to doing that again!
So, we’re trapped at this crossroads of what the specialist sees as the best course of action, what the cardiologist sees as a VERY bad idea, and what my Doctor deems appropriate (or not) for me. If we play “status quo”, the most likely scenario is bladder failure and gestation and spreading of the cancer. Pair that with the other organs that have gone on strike, and it’s just a matter of time.
However, my Doctor is a bit more stubborn than that. “This is NOT an option” she told the specialists “so get off your asses and FIND something that will work.” Have I mentioned how much I adore my primary Oncologist? She has an extensive knowledge of the medical field, “friends in high places”, and the most amazing will to help me survive – and more importantly - LIVE. Actually, the whole scene was quite entertaining to witness. Picture this; a very petite man (i.e., the specialist that gave me the 6 months) sitting in a chair. All prim and proper with his glasses and his spotless white coat. Being very matter of fact – which I very much appreciate – about the current situation. He stated all the facts and summed up everything very well. “If we can’t do surgery to remove the cancer, it’s going to get aggressive and start spreading. If we can’t complete a cycle or two of chemotherapy or radiation because your system can’t process it, there is no stopping it. Therefore, without a viable treatment option, you’ll live about 6 months. I highly suggest you looking into End of Life options including extensive pain management and Hospice.” He’s a great doctor and he’s doing exactly what he should be doing.
Enter: My Doctor. She’s 6’5’’ and has a very strong voice. She strides over to him and leans over him – towering over him so his neck is craned way back. She speaks so loudly that I’m pretty sure people in Arkansas heard her. “That is NOT an option. She hasn’t fought this hard, for this long just for YOU to come in and say “sorry I refuse to think out of the box so buy a f@%King casket . *yes, those are her words exactly* You’d better get on the damn phone with EVERYONE you know and get this figured out or you’re going to face something you’ve never wanted to deal with.”
I sat back and just smirked – this isn’t the first time I’ve seen my Doctor do this. When she was done, she turned around to me and just smiled. My first response was “Bloodview – 6pm Friday or Saturday night. PLEASE. .. let me put you in a set.” I’ve been trying to get her to come up and act for years now, still no luck. L
Needless to say, it’s been quite a rough week for me. I have total faith in my Doctor and her team to get me through just about anything. However, the fact of the matter is, the body can only take so much, and eventually it’s not going to want to work anymore. I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon – I have too much yet to do.
When I was first diagnosed, nearly 15 years ago, I told myself I had one goal. To see my little girl graduate from High School. That goal is what kept me going through the treatments, the hair loss, the weight loss – and gain – and loss – and gain, the pain and everything else. I saw her graduate and am continuing to witness her grow into a mature, responsible, incredible young woman.
I have a new goal – and that’s to be there when she gets married. It may not happen for many, many years; and that’s fine with me. She’s happy and healthy and gives me something to live for every single day. This new goal is set and I WILL see it through. When Sami finds that perfect person that she wants to spend the rest of her life with; I want to be there for the dress fittings, the cake tastings, and the tears during the ceremony. I want to watch her toss her bouquet, dance with her Husband, and celebrate with her family and friends. I will be there when they drive away to start their new life together. And who knows, maybe in the mean time; I’ll find my own piece of happiness with someone?
So, listen up kittens. Life is shorter than you expect; it goes quicker than you realize. We can all be taken at any given time – so don’t waste it on hate. Don’t waste your life on sorrow, regret, or unhappiness. Live your life like it’s your last day; showing the people in your life how much you love them, and what they mean to you. Experience joy and share it with others. Make the world a better place by striving to be a happy and positive force in the world. Then, when your end of days arrives, you will leave with zero regrets. Trust me, I know.