Journal of a Living Lady #379
Nancy White Kelly
This week didn’t start off too well. Due to my cryptic shorthand on the wall calendar, I was two hours late for the funeral of a friend who died with breast cancer. She fought a good fight. Linda was the epitome of bravery when on a death march. She is at peace now and perfectly healed.
This column, first called Journal of a Dying Lady, began when I too was facing the big C for the second time. When originally diagnosed, our son Charlie was 5. I asked…well, begged, the Lord to let me live to see him finish high school. I got my request. Weeks before he graduated, the cancer returned with a vengeance. The doctors gave me 18 months to live if I took chemotherapy and nine months without it. In spite of the cancer news, I was the happiest mama in Town’s county the night Charlie got his diploma.
It hasn’t been easy. ”Slash, cut, burn” is a negative euphemism for the difficult journey with aggressive cancer. On this second round, the cancer metastasized to my lungs and spine. I eventually was enrolled in hospice which was a wonderful help to Buddy and me. One morning, when the nurse decided on her own to take my car keys, I decided I didn’t want to be in hospice any longer. I checked out and never looked back.
God gave me another miraculous span of time, years actually, whereby my cancer has been stable. I have lived to see Charlie finish college, get married, and have two wonderful grandsons. Our last foster child, whom we later adopted, eventually grew up and became a responsible adult in spite of a turbulent adolescence.
Recently, while having my routine oncology check-up, I told my doctor that I didn’t have a good feeling about the up-coming scans. He moved the scheduled scan date up knowing that we cancer patients often have intuitive vibes.
Two hours ago I got the call. The results weren’t what we had hoped. For the first time in this long span of almost normal living, there appears now to be a new lesion in the lung. It may or may not be malignant, but the scenario is eerily similar to my last episode.
My oncologist has been amazed all along at my longevity. He says he doesn’t see miracles very often and beams proudly while pointing upward. We both recognize divine intervention.
So where to from here? Because of the size and location of the growth, it can’t be biopsied just yet. In a few weeks I will have another scan to see if that spot has enlarged enough to be sampled.
It is hard to predict the course ahead. My doctor previously said that we have used up all the chemo options. Maybe some new drug is in the pipe line for breast cancer. Perhaps this is a different type of cancer that will respond to other untried chemotherapies. The best scenario of all is that this is a false alarm.
There will be many questions to ask and hopefully miles to go before I join my friend, Linda. One thing is for sure. I won’t be late to my own funeral.