There Is No “All Clear” in Cancer

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I got the results of my 6-month scan today. Everything is stable.

Stable. Meaning that my tumor is still there, looking the same as it did 182 days ago, and the other lesions that are not (yet) tumors still show up as, well, just lesions to be scanned again in another 6 months.

It’s a waiting game. Full of stress and the discomfort of living with the unknown.

“That’s amazing news, your tumor is stable,” friends and family say when I give them the update. “Yes, it’s the best news possible, given the circumstances,” I quip.

It is good. It could be so much worse. The report could read “metastasis” or “additional tumor.” That’s what happens in my nightmares. That’s what gives me anxiety, because it could happen, and at a rate much higher than people who aren’t predisposed.

You can’t really understand how it feels when the report comes back as “stable.” No one can understand, unless they have been through it. There is no “all clear” when it comes to tumors. It’s more like “You’re cleared for another 6 months!”

It sucks to live life in increments based on when your next scan is, so I try not to do that anymore. It took practice though. Just like lying in the scanner took practice to manage without popping a magic pill.

It is good news, but it doesn’t eradicate the worry. It is good news. But better would be if there were no other enhancing lesions, malformations, or spots that lit up the MRI at all. Because those represent my unknown. And people can say, “oh don’t worry.” But they don’t read the research like I have, they don’t hear from other patients in the similar situations, but farther down the path of this disease.

And so they say “don’t worry” because they don’t know what else to say. And I nod and let them.

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A Heart’s Divide

divide

Looking into his eyes

I see beyond the bounds of me

Trust was implicit from the start

in the comfort of his hand

upon the small of my back

 

Now I find myself vulnerable

in a place I yearn not to be

Insecurities for all to see

I gave my trust

Without question

No reservation

He held back the truth

For fear I would run?

Or perhaps he was afraid

I’d ask something of him

He wasn’t ready to do

 

No longer absolute

About what to believe

A single lie by omission

or intuition’s built-in protection?

 

Not wanting this to bring us to an end

Yet I can’t risk losing myself in another

Again

So I’m left navigating my heart’s divide

 

{Update} Learning to trust again was so hard, and so worth it. I think I will always be timid because of my life experiences, but I am determined not to make the same mistakes. I know that I have found the right person to entrust my heart to, and I have faith that no matter what happens, we are capable of loving each other the way we all deserve to be loved.

Our Little Bubble

bubble

Sometimes when I daydream

My mind wanders to this place

Where we live in a bubble

Our own little world

Filled with our love, our lives, our kids

Everything we need to be happy

Missing from this bubble

Is the ominous presence of ex-spouses

Buzzing in the background of our lives

We wouldn’t be who we are today without them

It’s how our families began, how our children came to be

But we’re always tied by them

Even though our bond to each other transcends it

When the clash of it all starts to weigh on me

And I feel tugs at my heart

I dream up our little world and hang out there awhile

Our bubble

Our trouble

Messy Mantra

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Life once seemed so simple

It was never easy, never dull

But simple

Grappling with the drama that’s been infused into my life

Despite my best efforts to deflect

It feels like my energy is wasted

Accept it, take it on, I tell myself

Adjust to it

Messy is your new reality

Like it or not, it’s yours

Here to stay, it’s not going anywhere

Possibly it could go from messy to super messy

Best case scenario

But the simplicity of marriage, of raising a child in one home has slipped beyond anyone’s grasp

Messy was what was always to come

Embracing it is likely the only way through

When you can’t run

Too Busy

busy-underground

We live in a world where being busy can be so extreme that meeting all our commitments is literally impossible.

If only there were more hours in the day. If only our bodies didn’t need the restorative power of sleep. Yeah…

I used to think I was busy. I put my work obligations first because at that point in my life, when I was just starting out in my career, that was most important. Then I became a mom. I took it all in stride – I loved being a working mom and took pride in balancing it “all.”

It wasn’t until I received a complicated medical diagnosis that sucked up huge amounts of my time, energy, and well-being that I began to feel overwhelmed. I had no choice but to make changes in my life. I should probably make a lot more. Someday.

The fact is, we’re all busy. It’s the world we live in, combined in part with the expectations we hold for ourselves and the expectations of others.

Until we hold ourselves to a different standard, the cycle will perpetuate.

Finding the Words

swimmer

I struggle to find the right words

Attempting to describe how this cruel world works sometimes

To a five-year-old

It’s hard

I want to shelter him

But he is wise beyond his years

I want to coddle him

Usually, he lets me

How do you explain to a little boy how his father broke your heart

Left you to pick up the pieces of your life

Put it back together again?

Show him how to build a more fulfilling, meaningful life filled with love

How do you explain to him that although he may have a fun daddy, and one who loves him, he’s not a good father in the true sense of the word?

You don’t

You just do your best to answer his questions

Knowing that the understanding will come later

When he’s older

And figures it out for himself