Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cancer - 1

***Warning:  this post was written on a particularly bad day. It is REALLY negative.  I decided to post it anyway because of it's rawness, but please proceed with caution!***

I wrote this post last January documenting my bi-yearly CT scan appointment, and the positive results the scan revealed.  I titled the post, "Joan - 9, Cancer - 0" because at that point, I had undergone nine CT scans over the course of three years, all with positive, "no tumor growth" results.

Yesterday marked my eleventh CT scan, with my third oncologist (moving to a new town also means finding a new specialist).  This time, the results showed marked growth in the majority of my lymph node tumors, one especially in my pelvic region which has prompted a huge red flag.  The "conclusion" line from the radiologist's report was one sentence:  "Increasing thoracic, abdominal and pelvic adenopathy suggesting progression of lymphoma."

Cancer - 1.

So, here we are in Scarytown.  My new oncologist feels it is still necessary to wait before starting chemo, because my particular brand of lymphoma (follicular) can sort of wax and wane.  There is a chance that it will diminish on it's own, without treatment.  My doc feels it is safe to wait six more months, scan me again, and make the decision for action at that point.

Although I recognize this glimmer of hope, and will be clinging to it with both hands for the next six months, I still feel an enormous sense of defeat.  Here's why:

It's time to admit that cancer holds all the cards, my friends.  We can eat right, replace our carbonated sodas with green tea, and exercise daily.  We can juice fresh veggies and fruits and down them after our morning runs, and consume healthy, green salads every day.  We can even invest in a pricey wheat grass juicer because someone said that ingesting a frothy, thick, green swill that tastes like you're drinking your lawn has "been known to cure cancer."  And even though each shot of that stuff makes us want to vomit, we faithfully grow that damn grass and down it every morning because just MAYBE it'll be the healing remedy that will solve everything.  Except that it won't.

I did all these things, my cancer has never gone away.  I raised a triumphant fist in the air after each of those ten CT scans, as if I had something to do with the results.  I didn't.  Cancer was just deciding to stay quiet for awhile.  Now, I must sit and hope it will do the same until November.  I have no control.

So, I'll wear my colored ribbons and donate to my friends' 5Ks and Races for the Cure.  I'll keep a positive attitude (after I'm finished purging myself with this particular dramatic pity-party I'm now composing) and smile at my friends and relatives and tell them I'm doing just fine, that I'll "show cancer who's boss!"  But I know the truth.  There is no score.

Cancer has me, literally, by the throat.


Elena Gravelle said...

You remain a Champion, baby, whether in silence, or out loud! <3

Anonymous said...

You inspired me back in our college days, and you're knocking my socks off to this day. Thank you, Joanie.

Faith Alexander said...

Joan, thank you for sharing what's in your heart with your friends and family. I love reading your posts!! :)

Chrystal said...

Thank you for shariing. My mother in law juices & drinks essaic tea. Stay strong sister!

karen said...

Sending you my love and light...wrapping my arms around you for a big hug. I;m sorry you're having to go through this.

Shady Del Knight said...

You are entitled to express your fears and frustrations, Joan. This was not an excessively negative post. You simply told the truth about where things stand and how you feel about your situation. The only advice I could offer is to remember that when you're engaged in a battle it is important not to defeat yourself. Keep acting as if a positive outcome is assured. That kind of programming will enable your mind to send that signal to your body. You are such a dear person and it makes me very sad to know that you are plagued with this kind of challenge. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Debbie said...

what an eye opening and beautiful post! Your story is remarkable!

ReformingGeek said...

Cancer bites.

You are a very positive person. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kakka said...

WOW that sucks big time. Sending positive vibes that this is just a little cage rattling by the big C and now it will go back to sleep - forever!

I will send positive vibes to help you on the down days (and may there be few of those), you are inspirational.

Big hugs, warm positive and uplifting thoughts are all yours today. xxx

Red Shoes said...

You ARE a very positive person. Keep your faith... You are in my positive thoughts and prayers.



Sylvia K said...

You're braver than I would be in the same situation and I do so admire you! I'm sending lots of love, hugs, positive thoughts and good wishes to you! You'll be in my thoughts and in my prayers!


Amy said...

I just don't know what to say- I'm sorry that it's reared it's head for you again. I like the way you've written about it though, when people take responsibility for 'beating cancer' they also have to take responsibility for when it comes back- and honestly, the entire damn thing is just so out of control.

I hope that six months from now, you'll be writing a post about this 'scare' and how you have both feet firmly planted in recovery mode.

Unknown said...

More hugs, positive thoughts, and prayers coming your way. You Will win!n Remember, the score is 9 to 1! You are way ahead! Much love.

Anonymous said...

"think positive thoughts" is the one thing that rattles my cage. I have found NO positive thoughts when faced with my mortality and the unknown progression of follicular squamous cells. It is in my armpits and groin. It progressed to large, painful boils that used to need surgically removed, or lanced to ease the pain. Now, I lance my own.

The doctors needlessly tell me "You shouldn't be doing this. You could get an infection." Infection. HA! Like THAT scares me. It's just a way to take some control back into my own hands.

Throw in diabetes, crohns disease, an ileostomy and more icky things, and being called "brave".... whatcha gonna do about that "positive outlook"?

Let no one pass an opinion or react as if you're whining. WHINE!!! GRIPE AND MOAN!! Even Mother Theresa might have said a few cuss words!

Linda Myers said...

Thanks for sharing where you are.

Unknown said...

Love you, Joan! Keep blogging for many, many years to come.

Shan said...

Cancer sucks. I know because my friend gave me a hat that says so.

I wish you weren't going through this.

Rachel said...

Oh Joan. I'm so sorry.

Cancer has us by the throats right now too. Two weeks into an entirely unexpected battle for Mom's life.

And it sucks.

Praying for you. God knows the number of hairs on your head. Make your days count - I know you are a blessing.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

This is not a pity party. I hate that phrase, it suggests that we all have to be happy shiny people the whole time. This is your blog, so what better place to write down your hopes and fears and sometimes it helps to get it out of your head. As you know I do this all the time and it certainly helps me: I'm usually really positive if you meet me in person, but my blog give me a chance to let out stuff.

Keep doing what works for you and I'm praying that there'll be positive news in November xx

Anonymous said...

I hate cancer, it has taken so many of my loved ones. I hope and pray they find a cure for it and one day there will be no more of it. Thinking of you sweet friend and sending up prayers for you. Don't lose hope and keep fighting. I have family members who have beat it and I am praying you do too. Hugs

Jean said...

You are in my thoughts. I will be praying for you and that you will once again raise that fist in victory come Novemeber and each one after that. Keep that chin up and Im sending positive vibes to you along with all your other readers!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I am sorry you had to write this damn post.
You are allowed to have a pity party every now and then you know. Don't be so hard on yourself!

I wish I knew the proper thing to say at this point. Your personality and dignity and warmth have always come out in your writing. I feel as though I know you. You are a good person and this all sucks.

I don't know if you are a praying woman or believe in any of that but I have you in my prayers, my heart and my thoughts and you know I'm a mean MFer so cancer and God are not gonna mess w/me. :-)

I pray for many more sunny days my blogger friend.

Cheeseboy said...

Well that sucks, sucks, sucks. I didn't realize how much I start to care about my blog friends until I read posts like this one. Please, take this bastard down! I know you can do it.

jel said...

came by to say hi,

and send ya a BIG HUGG!

cata said...

Good luck and keep fighting!

Teresa Evangeline said...

Dearest Joan, My best thoughts and prayers are with you as you move forward and out of this. I look forward to the day when I read your post that tells us this is gone forever into the foggy distant past and your radiant,completely healthy self is fully recognized.

Delana@dujour said...

Joan, it's not a pity's real. I'm the positive thought Queen but I've realized that reality has to rear it's head now and again. This is your "again". I'm glad you wrote this. Make no apologies and take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this must be the worst possible thing to have to deal with. I can't even pretend to understand it. The closest I've ever got to cancer is my mum, and while her prognosis is good etc, there are still scary days and dark days scattered through the feelings of positivity. I hope that you remain strong and in 6 months time your news will be good news!

Unknown said...

Ah Joan, I'm sorry to hear of this setback you're handling. *giant hugs for you* I will join you in grasping at the thread of hope for the next six months. You are a champion and I am in your corner, fighting with you from a million miles away!

Randy Slovacek said...

Having been where you are now, I'm thinking great big positive thoughts your way. My lymphoma got the sh*t kicked out of it, and you'll do the same. You rock. Never forget that. xoxo

Sharon Rose said...

(((((HUGS)))))) Because I have already sent up prayers for you!

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