It’s difficult waiting for treatment to begin. I am anxious to start. I feel like I’m in the starting position of a race just waiting for the gun to go off. My muscles are tense, my stomach is anxious, and I feel a surge of excited adrenalin coursing through me all day long. I am not a patient person by nature, and now that we have a plan it is difficult waiting. I made the mistake of researching melanoma online earlier today; I won’t be doing that again. I had a moment of weakness (i.e. fear and sadness), but my wonderful husband held me close and reminded me that I am not a statistic; I am a person, I am in control, I am young, I am healthy, and I will survive this (we will survive this together). I can’t use the cliché of what you don’t know can’t hurt you because obviously that’s not true: I had no idea I had cancer and it is clearly hurting me. But I can say that maybe I only need to know as much as I need to know. I have to think of my fight as a unique occurrence. While hearing stories of other people’s victories over melanoma and other cancers is extremely encouraging, hearing the other side is so overwhelmingly terrifying. I have to remember to focus on this one day at a time.
I am lucky that I am not feeling any symptoms from the cancer. I am thankful for that each day. It does, however, make knowing that I have cancer extremely surreal. I know it’s real, but at the same time, I can’t quite grasp the enormity of it. It’s like this huge whirling cloud that I can see spinning high above me and I know that it’s the big picture, and I know I’m right in the middle of it, but it feels like it’s outside of me, like it’s not really a part of me. Instead, I’m thinking about the treatment in steps. As each step passes, I am that much closer to getting my normal life back. Tuesday I go back to NCI for more scans: A CT scan of my liver that will help inform the surgeons how to best perform the liver surgery. They believe from the images from my PET scan that the tumor is superficial enough that they might be able to do laparoscopic surgery, which would mean a quicker and easier recovery. Then we meet with the surgical team to learn more details about the trial and obtain more in-depth information about the logistics. Thursday is my liver surgery and I’ll be in the hospital for 3-5 days depending on recovery. So once I get through this week, then the first major step will be finished and I will be that much closer to my inevitable full recovery.
The amount of instantaneous support I’m being given is overwhelming (in a fabulous way) and humbling. I am blown away by the number of people who have contacted me through e-mail, phone, this blog, and on Facebook to show me love and support. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderfully caring people and I can tell you, it makes all the difference. It gives me extra hope and strength to fight this fight. I am so thankful that this has given me the opportunity to reconnect with good friends, strengthen existing friendships, and meet new friends who I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to interact with. I am also thankful to be reminded just how precious friendships are. From now on I am going to tell people when I am thinking of them, even if I haven’t talked to them in years. It usually turns out that if you have a friendship you wish you could rekindled, it’s the kind of friendship that doesn’t need much help getting right back to where it used to be. We may fall out of touch with each other due to the business of our daily lives, but we’re all still connected by the fabulous (and sometimes sorrowful) times we’ve shared together. Not only does this onslaught of love and support give me hope for my personal battle, it gives me hope for all of the world’s battles. It never ceases to amaze me how people band together in love when times are tough and the compassion we show each other in times of need. We are good. We are very very good.
I am going to make sure that I am thankful for at least three things each day. No matter how difficult the treatment gets, I will find at least three things every single day for which I am thankful. Today I am thankful for: My amazing friends, old and new, who are choosing to share this journey with me; the delicious fresh-baked scones that our friend Missy brought us; my loving family that is being completely supportive and giving me the strength I need; the fact that I have a place to live in this bitter cold weather; and especially for you, Jeff, and you, baby Kai-I love you more than words can say.
I have no idea what role positive thought plays in a person’s health. I don’t know exactly what power the mind has over the body. But I do know that I never want to look back at this time as time that I wasted being worried or depressed or feeling sorry for myself. I want to know that I spent each and every day being thankful for my amazing life, my amazing family and friends, my amazing baby boy. Because I am so thankful, so very thankful for it all. And in the end, this is all that matters.