Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”

“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”   
 Rita Mero

One of the attributes of being human is to have the knowledge that you like every other living organism are going to die one day. Animals seem to have a instinct that danger is at their door. We had several cats exhibit signs of restlessness as they grew closer to death.  They darted around the house or waited near the door as if going outside would allow them the escape the sensation something is wrong inside. Imagine if you will the frustration when humans first became conscious of death, the humans as they stood over a member of the pack who looked suddenly looked very different, who ceased to breath, who was no longer moving.  http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu/HistoryCulture/kawagley.html

Only humans have the ability to know there comes a time when no matter how strong, powerful, wealthy, famous, beautiful or intelligent any is one day each of us will face our death.

Having been a caretaker of my parents while they were dying allowed me to be by the side of numerous people as they ceased to breath.  In my mid thirty's it became very vivid to me that today is all we have, right now, this very minute is all you can be sure of. The hands on knowledge that life is not a dress rehearsal was the catalyst for me to see what would happen if I went back to college increasing my knowledge for a passion I possesses from a young age. 

Even with all the intellectual soliloquies that have played inside my head on the knowledge that I too will one day die, when I heard the word malignant and Carol in the same sentence my blood ran cold.  No matter how much money or how large of a family or social circle, somethings you have to do alone. We come into this world with No Thing and one day we will leave this world with No Thing.  

I don't know how many people you are going to hear say this but I have found in this situation, Cancer is my FRIEND.  Although they may not be aware of how it appears to me, I can feel people reacting to me differently now that I have the Cancer stamped on me.   Some people who have been close have pulled away from me.  It is not about me, rather, they look at me and it stirs up the fear of their own death.

I took these images November 15th, 2010 8:20 am.

Some people who have been close to my for many years have pulled away from me now. It is not about me that they pulled away, rather, they look at me and it stirs up the fear of their own death.

Some people I never would have expected have come into my life
 "for such a time as this." Esther 4:14    

 So far along this journey I feel very strong, optimistic and  profoundly thankful that I have been able to manage and attend to my health care tests and visits alone.  

As part of my decision making process, I elected to have a PET CT scan of my body from my brain to my thighs. Perhaps the worst part of having this test done is following the rules prior to the test.
  • No exercise for two days before the test.  This was really difficult as I have made a lifetime habit to build exercise into my day I had to stop myself all day long from working muscles.
  • No sugars, that includes complex carbohydrates, of any type because cancer cells feed on glucose.  We wanted the cancer cells good and hungry for the scan.
  • Eat only proteins; eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish... sounds easier than you think until around 2:00 in the afternoon when I got really nauseous from the protein only diet.
  • Eat only green veggie, that sounded easy also until I began to crave red pepper, oranges, cranberries, winter buttercup squash...I make a habit to eat a rainbow of colorful veggies everyday. 
Overnight fast was easy as I had an 8:30 appointment.

As soon as I arrived two chilled bottles of Barium Sulfate were waiting for me.  It may sound odd but I dropped my straw into the first container then began to sing The Teddy Bear's Picnic
in my head. 
The song was a favorite of mine back in the days when we listened to blue, yellow, red or black 45 rpm  single records on the Magnovox console in our dining room. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnavox

 From the waiting room I was taken into a small, quiet room with a Lazy Boy type easy chair.
Somewhere around the bottom of the first container my body was telling me no matter how much fun I tried to make drinking this concoction to be it was a NEGATIVE. " Danger Will Robinson !!!"
Steady at the helm I consumed half of the second container as per instructions. With great relief, Jan, the soft spoken technician took away both containers mumbling that is enough of this.

Next came the metal box that Jan carefully opened behind a very, shallow metal shield she said was to protect her from the heavy exposure she has to radio active material. 

YIKES !!! 
  I was sure to THANK Jan numerous times for performing her job to help people like me. 
 No way am I going to hang around radioactive material if I can help it.
Once the radioactive tracer in a sugar solution was injected into my vein I was covered with a soft blanket to sit quietly for an hour. 
This was the easy part because I had my brown, wooden, rosary beads brought back as a gift from my dear friend Pat when she made a Pilgrimage with her daughter Lisa to Medjugorje.  http://www.medjugorje.org/
 The hour passed quickly and quietly as I prayed for all of us ;~)

After an hour I was escorted to a very cold room, instructed to lay down on a toboggan sled like table that was so narrow my arms hung by my side.  " Arms up over your head. " Do not move at all during the twenty minute test."  At this point I closed my eyes as the sled was drawn back into a narrow scanning machine.
Here is where I wonder what people who claim to not believe there is any power greater than man exists.   Believe me this part is not for the faint of heart.  I challenged myself to lay there perfectly still throughout the entire test. After all my 80 year old father survived this test when they scanned his brain looking for areas damaged by strokes.  He did it like the Marine he was.  Now I could know for myself about the vacuum like sounds that come from the machine.

Once out of the scanner I was told not to hold any small pet, children, old people or go to the airport unless I wanted the body cavity search of a life time.  I was radioactive for the next twenty four hours.  Can't even tell you how many cups of green tea or veggies I ate that day to clean that stuff out of me.

Yesterday the waiting ended at the doctors office.  The only evidence of cancer in my body is the sprinkling of cancer cells within my right breast.  No  Metastasis Cancer cells found.  My lymph nodes are clear.  This is cause for rejoicing indeed.

Why am I spending all of this time sharing very personal information with you about my health issues?
Because this is not just about me.  Cancer is very prevalent in Western Culture both Europe in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Please take time to listen to this podcast by
Dr. Servan-Schreiber

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