Eight years

Eight years ago yesterday, I was a 28 year old kid, sitting in my cubicle at work when the phone rang. It was about a week after my biopsy and I still hadn't heard anything from the surgeon. She had gone on vacation, and I was anxious to hear the results from the pathology report so I could finally exhale. I had left a message earlier that day, and the surgeon's associate, whom I had never met, finally called me back. He started telling me the results, and at the time I couldn't remember if malignant was the good kind or the bad kind. I remember writing down all that he was saying and then I heard the word "carcinoma". I looked down at the paper, and suddenly, my writing was completely illegible. I still don't remember any of what was said after that except that it was cancer, and I needed to come in and see them. I can't even remember if I saw the surgeon's associate, or if I waited until she had gotten back from vacation. What I do remember is that for some reason or another, I kept that scrap of paper for a long time…

Eight years ago seems like an eternity and my entire world has changed multiple times since. I suppose the difference now is that I am better equipped to hear news like that. The thing is? It doesn't mean it ever gets easier to hear.

Two more days until I go in for my next treatment. Most likely, the doc will order a scan this time. It's time. And in the meanwhile, I've worked very hard at and have been pretty successful at not spending the time that I do feel great, worrying about the times that I may not feel great again. Still, it scares the hell out of me. But when I look to the future, I see myself with hair during baseball season. And at the Nutcracker. And at the Grand Canyon for Christmas. And I think in my mind about the "good" statistics - the ones that say such-and-such amount of time until progression of the disease, and I don't think I've progressed. I don't *feel* like I've progressed, at least.

I know it's the easy part, this every three weeks Herceptin, but even though I know it's a slam-dunk, I still hate going in there alone. I suppose it's one of those times that I feel like a very, very small girl in a very, very big world, as it reminds me, every three weeks, exactly what I'm dealing with.

I've been feeling more connected to some spiritual sense on the trails, lately. Perhaps it's because I know that as I'm huffing and puffing up some ridiculous hill, realizing that even if my calves are burning, it's because they are strong and I'm able to inhale and exhale deeply. And that I'm hiking because I can, and for the times that I wasn't able to. For the footfalls in front of me, and for the times when they are behind me. For the unconditional love of the dogs that run ahead of us, and the lessons they have taught me with their happy, flappy ears and their small wet snoots. Because I simply have too much left to do in this lifetime. I've always joked that we have been attending the "Church/Temple of South Mountain". Perhaps there is some truth to that after all...

2 comments:

    On March 31, 2008 at 5:15 PM lisa said...

    I so feel you on the having treatment alone....because even though I *REFUSED* to have anyone go with me, I still hated like hell that I went alone. If you want to chat, give me a call and I'll go with you via cell phone :)

    And you are right - this is a slam dunk, my friend.........

    Wednesday, Aprril 2, 2008 1159 CDT
    Just caught up on my reading of the blog. Your comments on hearing the news 8 years ago brought back a Tuesday afternoon in May of 1980. I was in my office at Westgate Hospital in Denton, TX. The phone rang, and I heard your Dad's voice ask me if I was sitting down. He then went on to tell me he had Leukemia, and the entire history to that point. My feelings at that moment...complete shock and some panic. I was listening to my brother, your Dad, tell me he had a deadly form of cancer. He told me, in usual fashion not to worry. I did!! Jen, you know that our family has been besieged by Cancer in form or another. You inherited your Dad's gift for dealing and fighting. He instilled great values in you, and I know you will beat this disease. The blog is super!! It is absolutely one of the best on the web...but then again, you think I might be biased!! :-) Have a great week. We love you!!