Cancer Journal-Part 6

Dear Readers, 

     Here is the last of my cancer journal. 

     For the first time I began to feel like I was going to die…..

     Cancer Journal- Part 6-  final

     December 15, 2003- Monday

     I was so ill at home for the first few days I could barely breathe or sleep.  I awoke all night soaked with sweat and feeling like death would take me before morning. 

     Now, a week has passed since I came home and another new doctor  (Dr.E) examined me and told me, "It’s radiation poisoning for sure!"  Dr. M. says, "It is not, and we should resume treatment."  Dr. K. has been pushed on me for more tests, eco’s and stuff, and I’m so confused I don’t know what I’m doing.  I have already cancelled two scheduled visits this week.  I’m to frail to make the trip to Worcester, but they still keep piling on the tests and the appointments.

     My family is pushing me to get a second opinion.  Dr. S. (the oncologist for my two sisters who had cancer in the past and were treated at a different hospital) has agreed to see me with her opinion on where I should go from here.  On whether I should skip the last 9 treatments of radiation, since the other hospital’s doctors can’t agree on radiation poisoning or not.

     Having fluid on my heart can be a killer, so I’m reluctant to go outside much in this flu season.  And no flu shot for me!  I’m told that shot is far to dangerous.

     Poor CJ.  Last week he put me in an ambulance, dealt with a noreaster and snowblowing, went to work in the blizzard, and picked me up Monday night at 9PM, when he got off work.  For three days he didn’t hardly sleep or eat.  My beloved Calvin has been there for me over, and over, and over.  He’s so weary I’m worried about him collapsing from all the pressure.

     December 22, 2003-Monday

     Today I am off to a pulmonary doctor at a new hospital.  Another attempt to find out what caused my last relapse.  Thursday and Friday last week were spent having more tests at U Mass Medical.  I lost it when yet another doctor was thrown at me!  Twenty different doctors and a radiologist that refuses to accept the "radiation poisoning" I’m experiencing, put me over the emotional edge.

     I finally went and got a second opinion outside the hospital.  This time to Dr. S. (my sister’s favorite oncologist), at Medical City.  She was afraid the other doctors were missing something, so she sent me to pulmonary today to have a piece of my lung tested for cancer cells.  No sleep and three hours later and more tests, this time my legs for possible blood clots too.  The pulmonary doctors said, "No, there is nothing to warrant a fluid test of my lung.  More damage could be done, and we are not going into her lung for nothing!  There’s no spots, no fluid, no reason!"  I lost a nights sleep for nothing.

     So here I am, three days before Christmas, humbled beyond reason.  I am experiencing loss of financial control, physical control (urine loss, feces loss often) embarressed beyond belief.  I cried all the way home from the new hospital.  I listened to the spiritual tapes Julie gave me as an early Christmas gift, and cried through them too.  Never have I experienced the depth of humility in 60 years of life, that I have with this illness and it’s complications.  And somehow, I know it could have been much much worse!

     I think I hit bottom!  To have to lay on a table almost naked immediately after having diarrhea, to be vomiting uncontrollably so hard that your wetting yourself and passing gas, as the doctors and nurses stand over you and work on your body, to be so humiliated when you have always been a person so meticulous that you have never had a hair out of place, is beyond explanation.  I looked up to God today and begged His forgiveness for all the pride I have suffered from in my lifetime.  Humility such as I have encountered in the last two months has been life changing for me. 

     "But for what purpose Lord?" I ask, "To humble me for what purpose?"

     Will I look down on anyone ever again?  I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person after this is all over.  To what end has this been for?  Life changing, oh yes!  But to what end?  I know now that I want to retire.  I also want to run away with my grandkids.  Will any of this be what God wants for my life?  His will is so important to me.

     "Why God, have You brought me to my knees in humility, life altering humility?"  It’s time to move on.  To move on to doing good for others while I still can.

     Now I have a huge decision to make.  Is it time to quit radiation, or should I finish?  "Please God, You brought me here.  Guide my decisions from error, please Father, amen."

     January through April 2004

     I ended up switching oncologists, switching hospitals, and cancelling the rest of my radiation treatments.  The new doctor and hospital ran more tests and told me I had scar tissue all the way from the top of my left lung to the bottom of my left lung.  I was on and off steroids for the next three months until my lung healed enough to allow me to breathe just using an inhaler once in awhile.  In March a new cardiologist did a cardiac cath on me to rule out any potential heart problems, diagnosing my heart, "In excellent condition for a 60 year old!"

     By the spring of 2004 I was pretty much my old self and cancer free.  It had been a whole year since I first started noticing pain in my breast.  The longest year of my life!  It was finally over, except for the yearly cancer check-ups.  But thank God I could look forward to seeing my grandchildren graduate and hopefully marry.

     Only the Lord knows the day we will go to be with Him.  He has known that since before we were conceived.  Somehow, when it happens to me, I don’t think I will want to come back!  I know I won’t want to come back!

        Love in Christ,    Claire  xoxo

The end of my cancer journal.  Thank you for hanging in there!


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