Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quiet On The Western Front.

Hi!  Remember me?

About three months ago, I was reviewing blog entries and thinking that my blog is a bit  I thought I should probably find some new topics/projects in the areas of knitting, family, baseball, etc. to write about.

Then, in late September/October, I took off on vacation with my DH to visit family while they're spending a year in Alabama.  We had a WONDERFUL week, checking out the Birmingham area, playing with the grandkids, and just enjoying family time.  Even our youngest daughter and her husband came down from Boston for a few days!  Everything was perfect.

Shortly before we left to come home, both DH and I started to come down with colds.  By the time we got home, mine was making its usual progression to a sinus infection.  That seems to be my pattern for the last five years or so, and I finally know the drill (yes, I may be a slow learner...):  when the headaches start, call the doc to get some antibiotics, because it's not going to go away like a "regular" cold would.

So, that's what I did.  I made my appointment to see my doc.  By then, the headaches were feeling like something other than a sinus headache, and pain relievers weren't making a dent. When I described them to her, she said they didn't sound like a sinus headache, either.  Thankfully, I have a proactive doctor!  Rather than trying to fix it with antibiotics, she suggested we first do a CT scan.  I had one the next day and was in the hospital by that night after finding a cyst and tumor on my brain.  Come to find out, the headaches were the result of the left side of my brain being pushed to the right side of my head due to swelling from the cyst.  Ouch!

Two days later, a neurosurgeon removed the stuff, and two days later I was home.  Two days after that, I was informed that the pathology shows I have brain cancer.  They don't know what causes this particular type of tumor; however, they're the most common tumor in adults, the medical community doesn't know how to cure them yet, and they know they're not hereditary.   Sounds pretty special, doesn't it?  Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

In early November, an MRI revealed that they didn't get all of the tumor during the first surgery and that I'd be having more surgery to get the residual in December.  Yay, me!  Some things are just so much fun, you have to do them twice.

To this point, both surgeries and all follow-up have gone smoothly, and I've just begun radiation and chemo treatments.   Yes, simultaneously.  I intend to do everything within my power to fight this off and live a healthy, productive life for as long as I possibly can.  After all, I still have many people left to annoy around here. :-)

I have been the most boring person when it comes to health.  And, I mean that in a good way!  The last time I was overnight in the hospital before this little episode is when I was born.  I've not been on any prescriptions for my entire life.  Until now, of course.  I exercise, and--for the most part--I eat well.   Apparently, brain cancer doesn't care much about all those things.  When it's your turn, it's your turn.

Now, don't expect that this is going to turn into a cancer blog...that is not my intent.  I just think it's interesting how life changed so quickly, and completely took my focus off of my "boring" blog.  And, I decided that I should probably post something before those of you that DO actually read this wondered what's become of me!   I'm still here, and will again be searching for interesting stuff to post about.  Stay tuned!

Before I go, one small note:

In the few short months since I've been involved with all this, I've seen some valuable lessons brought front and center with great clarity.  I've always believed these things, but have really seen them in action lately:  
  • Faith, family and friends will get you through just about anything. I've always known this, but have been astounded at the love and compassion all of my family and friends have demonstrated.  It's humbling and inspiring.  People can be amazing. A couple of examples:  
    • Both of our daughters were on planes as soon as they found out about my first surgery; one of them with two small children.  Keep in mind, they both live 2,000-3,000 miles away.  No small effort for them to get here without a great deal of planning, quick action, and yes, travel fare!  And then?  Then, they turned around and came back out for Christmas!  DH and I are so blessed to be the recipients of that much love.
    • Two friends who drove 4 hours each way to decorate our house for Christmas.  They both realized that I shouldn't be on ladders, lifting stuff, etc., and gave up one of their weekends to do it for us.  Those are true friends.
  • All the little b.s. that happens day-to-day doesn't really matter.   Deal with it quickly, but then move on. Look for a way to impact someone's life in a positive way, and your day will be well spent. 
  • It's really easy to overlook the simple beauties in everyday life unless you focus some effort on catching them.  Don't go through your day on autopilot!
An eagle resting on the Deschutes River during one of our recent walks.   Beautiful!

Okay, enough lecturing!  Go out and have a great day.