So hard not to be terrified …

Posted: December 28, 2012 in Breast Cancer, Spiritual/Emotional/Energetic
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I think I have mentioned before how I lose friends every other week or so to this monster of a disease.  I have so many acquaintances, online, from all over the world, and quite a few of them I have actually spent time with face to face.  I met some incredible warriors during my time spent in Georgia this past spring.  Of the several I befriended, only two are still alive and their disease has spread to where they had to move on to conventional oncology.  Most recently were a woman with ovarian cancer and a man with pancreatic.   I have changed their names to Stella and Todd.

The woman had a situation very similar to mine with tumors in her peritoneum and fluid accumulating in the free space in her abdomen.  She called me frequently just to let me know she was still in the fight.  Well, the weekend before Christmas, I got a text from another friend saying Stella had passed on just the previous night.  Let me tell you, she was doing much better than I currently am.  She was running errands and living her life.  One evening, she went out to dinner and the, later that night, began vomiting.  She went to ER but her intestines ruptured en route.  Her heart went ballistic, she coded, and could not be revived.  Just like that, her precious spirit had left us.

I have been secretly fearful of this exact scenario playing out in my life.  Those tumors have only ever been visualized twice … both times in an OR and it was the surgery team that saw them.  Scans or MRIs have never picked them up because, though there are hundreds of them, they are too small to be seen.  But the photos taken last April when they had me on the table, sure looked big enough to show up.  Anyway, they are all over my large and small intestines, and my stomach.  And no one knows what those little boogers are up to.  In her case, they were eating away at her intestines from the outside until the wall of her intestine was thin enough to just rupture and that was it.

Many nights I have vomited, unprovoked, and been scared of that very thing.  How much vomiting is too much?  When is the time to go to the ER if I want to catch things before they eat into my intestines?  Could it be happening right now?  And now that it has happened to someone I loved, I’m even more scared!

Also, I have been having horrendous night sweats, so I went to my go-to conventional community,  I typed Arimidex in the search block and the very first post to come up was from whom?  ME!!!!  Dated Mar 09.  I have used this drug before.  So I went to my spreadsheet to see what was happening with my markers while I was taking it.  Unfortunately, not one helluva lot.  So it didn’t really work for me then.  Not sure where that leaves me this time, but I will have markers drawn again on 1/10.

Tazzie Jump2And then, the day after Christmas, Todd left us.  Todd had pancreatic cancer and refused to believe the 3-month stats for that kind of cancer.  He survived for a few years, despite their predictions.  But ultimately, though he was with us for far longer than they expected, he did leave and he wasn’t even 50 yet.  So much loss after such hard battles.  And the devastation goes on for generations.  Cancer deaths don’t just affect the person who dies.  It takes everything from you, both physically and financially with nothing left to leave or give to anyone.  And then there is the genetic predisposition aspect.  All in all, it just sucks.

So it is bitter cold again here today … too cold for me to go play with Gunner.  So I sit here crying, zoning, writing, watching tv … when I would much rather have my “old” life back and be competing in a dog agility trial somewhere or xc-skiing since there is such wonderful powder at the ski resorts right now.  Or even Me & JR Sapper's Return Trailrunning all over town, shopping with my BFF and trying on stuff … none of which I have the juice for any more.  And I’m beginning to suspect it will never return.  My mother used to always say it.  She would say not to give things up because, once you do, you never get them back.  Now she didn’t mean material possessions … she meant activities and things you enjoyed doing.  And, in my situation, I can see her as being right on the money.  That is one of the biggest reasons that I have not given up a horse, despite the expense Gunner is turning out to be.  But I will not give up a horse.  If it is the last piece of my old life I can keep, dammit, I will.

  1. slythy says:

    Hi Mel,

    I hope you get this message.

    I had a dream about you last night about riding Gunner and your breath came out white in the cold just like his. I think it must have come from listening to the Joan Baez album, Diamonds and Rust. Somehow my dream captured you two inhaling the same cold air.

    My dear friend Ann passed on from a rare cancer last month, and I have been trying to get to a place where I understand… I remember she used to talk like a cowboy and use phrases from 1950s Westerns like, “how are you, you ole rattlesnake?”

    Your Mom was right, just keep on doing what you love with your animals and your loved ones. That’s what counts…

    Love, L.

    • Oh wow. Well it surely is cold here and breath is certainly billowing but I’m busy staying warm inside. Lol. I am so cold-sensitive that I actually experience pain in the cold these days. Whaddya reckon yer dream meant? Dreams fascinate me but I have not been good at interpreting.

  2. shanti says:

    Your writing always provokes such truth. Often there are no answers – there’s only just BEING. We lost many/most people we’ve met along the way. This is really tough. Your Spirit always comes through Melissa…Much love and many blessings. None of us know our next moments- we just think we do- this is what always helps me. We live in earthquake country and in the midst of fear and grief I’ve said to my husband, (because I have this warped sense of humor).. hey we are worrying, protecting, stratagizing what to do next- we can go to bed tonight and have an earthquake and land down in the bottom floor apartment and it will all be all over. (we live in an apartment building, an OLD one at that…) Does this help me? In the moment it does. I’m glad you have Gunner… He’s good medicine.

  3. We who have cancer are so afraid of death sometimes. We are only looking from this side – and seeing our friends and fellow survivors disappear. I hate it, too. I’m really, really hoping that this living stuff is all an illusion, and that there’s some amazing transition coming to something truly spectacular. I don’t want to go either, but with so many gone, I guess I am hoping that there will be a big welcoming committee for me on the other side. Those with near-death experiences say it is so.

    It’s OK to be afraid and bitter. And it’s OK to keep your horse to love.

    Wishing you some comfort today… in the moment.

    Meg in Oregon

  4. gary ryan says:

    Hi Melissa, been thinking of you all the time, and praying. You are a very special lady. xx

  5. Dianne Degnan says:

    Hi Melissa,
    It’s Dianne from awhile ago. I’m the one whos hubby died in Sept. I had to answer your latest post, as I can identify with alot of it. I do not have cancer that I know of, but have researched and been caregiver for almost 4 years! You are right ,it sucks!! bigtime!! I also met many people on line. 4 of them whos spouse had brain tumors, and one couple that we met in person at Burzynski clinic in Houston. What is scary to me is that not only are the brain tumor patients all gone, 3 of the spouses are now also gone. ( 2 women and 1 man). The partners died within 1-2 years of their mate, with different kinds of cancer.
    Sometimes I think it is worse to be the one left behind. I am soooo lost without my Husband. He was my everything.And to make it worse for me, I kept hoping right up to the very end. Even though I was totally spent and physically exhausted, I was ready to take care of him for the rest of my life. John was really ok with dying and never even mentioned being afraid. He didn’t want to leave me or our kids and grandkids, but he knew where he was going and had peace. I don’t know where you stand spiritually, but it is important.! We are (were) both Christian believers and are assured of the next step after life here ends. That is the only thing that brings me sanity when I am missing him so bad I think I’ll just melt into a puddle. I try not to cry alot because I think I may never stop. The other thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that John would want me to. He was just the most amazing man!!
    Remember that each person is a different case and you may be the one that gets totally healed!! I will remember to pray for you and your family. What are the Drs. telling you now? . Not that that really matters because I don’t think they know even 1/2 of what they claim to know! Tell me how I can pray for you. Are you in pain or just struggling with the could be outcome?
    If you want me to, I could send you some encouraging reading. Probably by snail mail as I,m not real great on the computer.
    Right now I am in Chicago visiting our youngest daughter who just delivered her 4th baby. This one was a girl and she has 3 little boys at home. I came down with a nasty cold ,so I can’t even enjoy holding the precious new one. I live in Pa. and I’ll be going back Jan. 4th. So I still have a week to get better and make up for lost time. Baby’s name is Noelle Joy (appropriate for a Christmas baby).
    Hope this finds you feeling better.Don’t let yourself get depressed. That makes everything worse. We will all die sometime and only God knows when is our turn AND if we believe, the next part is MUCH better than this life!! Love and Prayers to you, Dianne

    • (((((((((((((Dianne)))))))))))))! SOOOO good to hear from you! I do worry about my husband for when I’m gone. He won’t really talk to me much about it … while I know this is his way of keeping it together, it makes me feel very isolated and alone. And he hopes too … I sometimes call him Pollyanna because he just has this hope despite all. I don’t have a lot of pain, and I am SO blessed in that regard. When I do have pain, my fentanyl pops make pretty quick work of it. And what that doesn’t take care of, my MMJ does. My dr really doesn’t have much to say. I mean, no one expected me to live the past 5 years. No data on someone like me, so they really don’t know any more than I do. 😉

      I am SO happy that you have this wonderful little Noelle to love on and adore! As for not getting too depressed … oops … too late! 😉 Seriously, I started taking Remeron for appetite, but somehow I seem to feel a bit better, mentally since it is an antidepressant.

      I am a believer too, but I have had more than my share of anger with God with this whole thing. But thankfully, His shoulders are big enough to take it!

  6. Therese says:

    Melissa – appreciate your blogs. You are a very strong person and it comes through in your beautiful writing, Very true and to the point, and so descriptive. As you may recall, lot my mom to colon cancer (with a twist) and my dad to lung/brain cancer. So between that, and the HBP and heart issues, I could very easily be in your shoes at anytime. You are often on my mind and always in my prayers….Therese

  7. slythy says:

    Has the Remeron worked on your appetite? You haven’t mentioned if you’re eating.

  8. Tracy says:

    I’ve lost so many people I loved, still love, to this disease all before age 50. Now it’s my turn to fight, with no guarantees. You’re right, it is scary and there’s no easy way to tackle the darker thoughts. I try to tell myself I could be knocked down by a bus or killed in a car accident just as easily…. In a bizarre way sometimes it helps to focus on the randomness of life (and death).

  9. Mel, I pretty much follow your website sporadically. Mostly due to fear of what may lie ahead for my wife.

    Lynda’s numbers are trending down, and her PET/CT shows that her “spots” are fewer and smaller.. Then she got hit with this intestinal “stricture” which has put her on a liquid diet for sometime… she goes into the surgeon on the 15th, for what I hope is nothing more than an unrelated surgery to clear it. they did an endoscopy, and it showed no cancer. But the cause is still unknown.. Her oncologists are convinced that it isn’t cancer.. of course these are the same docs that didn’t think she had cancer in the first place…

    But I digress. I am truly hoping that somehow you can find the strength to power through this *%*& disease, and somehow beat it.. Back to the point I was trying to make in this seemingly weird post.. Life has no guarantee past right now.. none. Hell, I could keel over for an unknown reason, or get in a car wreck and the list goes on… Life is a damn funny thing, that sometimes lacks a sense of humor.. I guess the key is enjoying what you have while you have it.. I know we do…

    I can only hope your journey has been fun, exciting, and all the goodies that go in with that… and if it is meant to be, there are more goodies for you as you walk down your path.

    Keep on keepin on girl…

    Erick and Lynda

  10. and my deepest apologies if I offended you with my post… not the intention at all. nor do I mean to minimize the stress you are under.. there is no way for any of us without cancer to fullly appreciate those with it… life is short run, I don’t care how much time you get, it is never enough. so with that, I hope that somehow you can overlook my statement, and that you keep on tickin… Like the energizer bunny, just keep going and going….


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