Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Y luego...

Much as I'd like to fool myself into believing that I am forever-after cancer free, I know that I will need to keep meeting with my oncologist every six months.  For the next five years.

Heavy stuff.  Mortality is a heavy topic.  Dealing with one's own mortality is sort of tonalicious.
But, I think about the fact that all I need to do is circle a date on the calendar and then I can go about my business for a half a year.  Gives a cancer survivor a certain emotional freedom - for at least five months.

I had my visit with the oncologist yesterday.  I was more anxious and excited about the visit than I was about surgery a month ago.  Tried to figure out why.  Near as I can figure out, the surgery was steeped in a bit of faith and ran in a fatalistic mode.  I had no control over the outcome and I didn't know what next steps might be.

Chemo or radiation might await.  They might find something  that would change the surgery from having five small incisions to one large one.  Or there was the possibility that lymph nodes would be removed.  This would increase the likelihood of other longer term complications.  So many options; too many for me to worry about without going a little wonky.  It was very clearly out of my control.  So my response was somewhere between Alfred E. Neuman and Joan of Arc.

At the moment  I remain in the Land of the 70-80% healed.  I can walk but I can't lift anything over 10 pounds.  I can shower but submerging into a tub filled with warm water is not an option.  I can drive and walk Lali, but Pánfilo is still James' charge.  And Larry can walk across me from shoulder to shoulder but the tummy is still tender turf.

I read what I've written and see a lot of I can sentences.  That helps.  It begins to close the primarily focused on cancer chapter.

So I'm moving on and finish the focus on said chapter with a giant thank you.  To all who spent time with me, to those who cooked and shared food, to those who sent me good things to read, for those who prayed or sent good thoughts, to those who made sure I had something to do with my time and made me laugh.  A special thanks to those who offered to help but who will understand that I didn't contact them because I was short of energy or focus. To those who I was meaning to help but found my focus elsewhere.

Flowers from the Pasadena Senior Center - board and staff

And thanks to those who shared a bit of floral beauty with me.  Sometimes it helped to have my vision filled color and detail.  It meant more than I can ever express.

Gracias.  And on we go....


  1. We're hangin' in there with you, Roberta! Go out there and live a life when you're ready to do so. Those dates on the calendar twice a year are simply that: dates. Just add each one to your list of to-do's and walk into the doctor's office with your head high! xo

  2. I have felt so lucky to have so many folks offering emotional support and so many encouraging words. I tend to like to have an "end date" for work that I do, so this is a good stretch for me. Lots for me to learn.

  3. Familiar with the six month blood work. My sister went in last Thursday for hers. At this point they say it can be once a year, but she likes 6 months. As a witness to her struggle, it seems that once you cross over that line, time has a question mark attached. Up side is people seem to take on a sense of wisdom and daring.

    Ovarian cancer - so far it's been 6 years. I'm betting you'll be saying the same thing 6 yrs from now.