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Thursday, March 26, 2009

when we must make choices....

I have been becoming a bit despondent lately and it has been a roller coaster ride....I have trouble sleeping, and than at about 2-3 pm (used to be 4 pm) everyday, I am hit with overwhelming fatigue...I can't keep my eyes open and it puts a fear in me when I get behind the wheel, but I have no choice..I must press on..Today was a good day; though the fatigue hit me hard at 3pm, I was happy to see a smiling and magnanimous plastic surgeon, caring and hopeful; what a difference from my last experience..He is kind and empathetic..he was wonderful, and his assistant was from Scarsdale, NY! my home town! I tried to hold back the tears, when I realized that the only way to find out the truth was to have my magnet expander's FINALLY taken out..it is a relief, but still, very frightening to be alone and facing a major surgery. A possiblity than after a approximately month of convalescing and not being able to do anything physical I will a test to see if the cancer had indeed spread. Such mixed feelings..I had to opt for the smaller breasts because I can't wait two months for more saline injections to make me larger..he asked me if I was sure, and I said "absolutely", I have done the D's and you can keep them..as far as I am concerned..less to go down south!! it would be a relief..who cares what size they are as long as I am healthy and will beat this..so, it looks like the condo is coming off the market for a short time and hopefully if everything goes OK, I will be on the table again getting those damn magnets out of me, and those cute breasts..I believe..I believe that it isn't my time to go..I have survived worse times, when you put it all in one big basket..and it has made me who I am..I must go on.so, one more month to wait for the surgery. It will be another step to regain my strength and fight this insidious disease...yes, it is a disease and it sucks..but I will get through this..and all of the other survivors out there, please remember that we are all in this together..there is a cure out there. Love does conquer all... first, love yourself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"We are all angels with just one wing. Only when we embrace each other can we fly."


Flight



"STEPH"




I sometimes sit in pity on myself, and ask "why me?" That is when I realize that we are not privy to what turn our lives will take. One moment we can be sitting in our safe home and the next it could be flooding all around us...We can easily be washed up in sorrow. There is one thing I do know. I will never give up hope..and will not believe for one moment that medical prognosis' or diagnoses are the end to end all...We can actually shrink our tumors, with love and prayer and believing that it is not so...I recently went for a second opinion from a new oncologist. She nonchalantly walked into the exam room and all I could see on her face were her eyes, from the mask she was wearing. Her glassy, red, ill eyes peered out at me. I was shocked that a doctor could be so incompetent to expose her cancer patients to a nasty cold (flu) bug (she informed me that she had a nasty cold)..she spoke her words between tissue blowing, and didn't seem too concerned that she could be exposing an already low immune system patient, to a room full of germs. She looked at my records on the computer and the last new CT and bone scans, asked me a few questions, and five minutes later sprung from her chair to grab another tissue. She turned and announced that she was afraid that my cancer had metastasized to my bones and I was in Stage IV metastatic breast cancer that had spread to my bones. I looked at her in shock and as tears ran down my face, I was suddenly hit with overwhelming anger and fear. She grabbed the tissue box and handed it to me without expressing much concern, and said she was sorry. Period. I was in a daze after that and all alone, so i didn't remember too much more after that..Her mouth was moving but her words were disappearing into the atmosphere. I was in shock and in a state of disbelief. I told her I was not convinced by such a quick judgement call. She explained that she wanted further testing and even more radiation inflicted on my body...I have endured almost ten contrast CT scans and bone scans in less than a year. I left her office feeling numb after they dug into my veins for 30 minutes for blood work... The nurse handed me a pamphlet about medi- ports and I told her I didn't need one. I would not believe that it could be what they were telling me.... chemo was never an option for me...ever...it killed my father and I would not have it..I drove in a daze and ended up in a dump site and was lost without my GPS.. I had left it in my Volvo at the body shop..The BMW didn't have one, and even than I don't think I would have heard him anyway...I had already heard enough "directions" for one day.. I immediately called my oncologist, and he said that he didn't feel that it could be possible, considering that my blood work and tumor markers was OK. He didn't see why it was necessary but was a bit annoyed that I had sought out another opinion .I explained to him that my breast surgeon and internist had suggested it...but I am now telling myself the same question. why did I? I cancelled the tests. Sometimes it's better to go with your gut. My gut told me that I indeed had breast cancer both times. This time it is not telling me that ....I know that I have a new area of concern that is called a "hot spot"on my rib, but I have decided to continue my "anti-cancer" diet and to rid myself of all toxic people from my life..unfortunately, that also means my family which have been very, let's say, non-supportive. I am now surrounding myself with Eastern Medicine practices, the spiritual conquest of healing and positive people.



I know how sad my father was that his children abandoned him when he was ill. I was there everyday. The only time my sister came to see my Dad was at the end of his life and with her boyfriend. My Dad had to pay for them to come to see him.. how sad. I never heard my sister or brother call in all the five years I cared for him and it hurt him very much. They never called me. I spent night after night with him, because he wanted me there ... and he thanked me with his sad eyes in the morning, when we shared a very contemplative and quiet cup of coffee (we are (were) both not early birds, and allot of noise and talking was disturbing to both of us)...there were no phone calls form anyone in the morning from the family, but I made sure I made him feel loved and protected. The doctors and nurses all asked me .."you must be the only child.?" Now they ask me if I have children and I shake me head and say "yes, and than quietly.." no"..." My Dad's doctors had never met my sister or brother..Funny how history is repeating itself. Dad never talked about them to the hospital staff or doctors, neither do I...it saddened him to talk about them...he felt abandoned. I feel that way at times but I am NOT forgotten. I have my inner strength and gift of forgiveness to get me through this again. Sometimes you just have to let go of the dream that there are people that are your own blood that care. Sometimes, the sad truth is....They don't. I know my Dad had me there for him. I wish sometimes that I did have my family to lean on. but sometimes we must do it on our own and pray that we can make each day count. Now , I have a new lease on life..on to better things. Life, art, and the family I have in Italy that I will soon be visiting...I have many more beaches to see and paintings to see and create...the gift of art has to be restored in me or I will not be strong enough to get through this new "fight" but I will not take flight, only if there is too much pain at the end. I have no family to make that decision, so i have to plan another way..to live, but i do believe in the right to die and only the ones that have never faced death in the eye can spew such nonsense about how it isn't right. You must walk in one's shoes to truly understand..I had my Mom come to me one day and tell me that she was afraid that my Dad wanted to kill himself. We hid the gun, period......I hope that my story of hope will provide the strength to delve into your own optimism ..it is there, just waiting to be restored...you CAN do it. there are so many more rainbows to catch and there is a pot of gold there for you and for me....and an angel not only on the other side of that rainbow but walking right beside me....sometimes we might not have that "human" embrace, but I can promise you that you are being embraced in your heart..We are not Forgotten..

steph

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Follow your dreams...




The smell of the salt in the air
as I pick up my array of shells...
beckons me...
The winds blow my hair back,
...and I smile
the sea calls me
whispering to me
..to follow my heart...
to feel the colors that surround me
to paint the many hues that make up my life..