I’m experiencing a recurrence of ovarian cancer. I got the news last Wednesday. It’s never good to answer the phone and hear your oncologist’s voice. A significantly higher CA125 level led to a CT scan which revealed the presence of malignant nodules. My favorite nurse says I have minimal disease, which I find reassuring, but nonetheless I am a cancer patient again.
That day I alternated between fits of near-hysterical sobbing and rage. When I could pull myself together I notified people. Those phone calls are horrible to make. I feel so, so sorry for the people I love because they are upset and have to see me endure this again, and they largely feel powerless to do anything. But my family is rallying around me, surrounding me with love and support. As my son said last year, “We’ve got this unity thing down.” And that is indeed true. My friends are praying for me and people will drive me to chemo if my husband can’t. Friends will bring meals and do anything I need. I am so grateful.
I’m not scared this time. The utter terror that I experienced in February 2015 has not reared its ugly head. I’m experienced at having cancer. I was much sicker then than I am now. My doctor is confident she can get me into remission again. There is much to be optimistic about.
But I am furious. My life is disrupted yet again. There will be days after chemo when I feel rotten and will have all I can do to get myself up, showered, dressed and teach piano. Some days the piano lessons will be impossible. I’m going to lose my hair again. Oddly enough, I was more distressed last time about the loss of my eyelashes and eyebrows than the absence of the hair on my head. I’m going to have chemo brain again and let me tell you, that is a real thing and it sucks and I still have it from last time. I will probably have neuropathy again, which is numbness, tingling and sometimes pain in the hands and feet. For someone who is passionate about the piano having hand problems is devastating. I’ll be immune-comprised again and that means potentially missing out on time with my beloved grandchildren because little kids get sick a lot and I can’t be around sick people. Chemo will start next week and continue through mid-January. Fall is my favorite time of year to be out and doing things. My birthday is October 14 and I’m excited that it’s on a Friday. Unfortunately this year it’s also the day after chemo. And then there’s Christmas with all the work that entails. Thank God for Amazon.
My husband will do all he can. He is a rock. He also knows when he needs to give me a prod to get me moving when I become too mired in sadness. He tells me a joke or teases me to make me laugh. Last night he told me I would get some points for having cancer again but about thirty minutes later told me I’d already used them up. That really did make me laugh. He is strong, funny, smart and can do just about anything. He is the most important person in my world. I am so lucky to have him. We will battle this awful disease together just like last time. We’ll go out to lunch after treatments, joke about it all and enjoy being together.
Lest you think I am sitting around all day in tears, I gave myself one day to wallow in misery. When I went to bed last Wednesday I told W, “that’s it: tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to get moving.” When I got up on Thursday I was cheerful and motivated. That doesn’t mean I don’t still cry or get angry, but I won’t live there. What a waste that would be. I live my life in a positive frame of mind and am productive even though I’m a patient again. It’s better for me and everybody else, too.
If you’re inclined to pray for me and add my name to your church’s prayer list I would appreciate it. If you’re not religious sending me some positive energy and good thoughts would be equally appreciated.