In lieu of eye drops...

For some reason, a handful of titles from my entries came crashing through my mind this morning. "In lieu of flowers, please send eye drops...", "All Things Considered", "So this experience has been fun and all..."

I suppose pieces of each of them apply today. I remember back in October when the tearing and twitching started, and how incredibly annoying it was. Little did I know it was only the beginning. The twitching finally stopped with the end of Taxotere, but the tearing, not so much. Hopefully this past Monday's procedure will have taken care of that. Yes, it's over. Just another thing behind me. It was a weird experience this time though, although I'm not quite certain why.

This past weekend's camping trip got unfortunately rained out, but that resourceful man of mine somehow found a dog-friendly place at the last minute in Bisbee where we spent a much-needed relaxing weekend in the mile-high city of southern Arizona - looking out over the Mule Mountains with at the sunrise, walking up and down and up and down most of the Bisbee 1000, breakfast outside with the pups where everyone seemed to have a pocket full of treats for them, spending the afternoon sitting on the covered patio watching the pouring rain while drinking wine, playing scrabble, and looking out over the city below us, enjoying a decadently delicious meal at Cafe Roka, and a few days of the lack of cell phones, computers, and television.

And then, Sunday night came, and with it, my last minute bout of the 'what-ifs'. The irreverent, nonsensical what ifs about everything from anesthesia to eyeballs, followed by the much needed reassurance that this surgery was the easy one. This was one that we didn't have to wait for results after. This one is the slam dunk. But still.

And then it was over, and before I knew it, they were pushing me out of the surgery center before I was even lucid enough to speak coherently. One eye patched, one eye swollen, and I was sent on my way. The good news was that the left eye went very smoothly. The right eye, not quite as much. The good news on that side though, is that she didn't need to use Jones tube, even though it was necessary to create a new tear duct. The whole things was a strange experience though. I can't quite put the words to it. I felt sort of 'out-of-body'. I was surprised that they had rushed me out of there so quickly... I never even got my ice chips...

The rest of Monday was a bit of a blur. I know I spent quite a bit of time in and out of sleep on the couch and I have a feeling I tried to do too much at one point or another. I felt very unbalanced, almost paranoid - perhaps I had a weird reaction to the anesthesia, but something just didn't feel right to me. I had strange dreams that night - I just wanted to cry - but there was no reason to. Tuesday brought the follow up visit with the surgeon, and a blood draw. I just felt an absolute mess. I looked in the mirror and I saw this hideous looking creature looking back at me and everything just felt so damn heavy. It was enough already. Simply enough. But the thing is, this was the easy one...

Wednesday I awoke to my right eye nearly swollen shut, followed by treatment day. By Thursday, thankfully, much of the swelling had subsided, and I think I had finally slept off or shaken off much of the rest of the funk I was mired in. Deep breath, battle on.

So, here I am - all things considered - sitting at my desk at work, eye makeup-less (the HORROR) and ready for the weekend. Already.

All things considered, not too much worse for the wear.

Tony Snow died. Tony Snow wasn't supposed to die. Greg told me about it this weekend, and it just hit me really hard for some reason. I didn't even follow him that closely, but I remember so clearly, back when I was first diagnosed, hearing his determination to beat it again.

“If cancer is merely a nuisance for a long period of time, that’s fine with me.”

And his statements about advancements in medicine - the fact that changes are happening every day, and if you get another two years it will buy you another ten. Tony Snow simply wasn't supposed to die. Then again, cancer isn't supposed to claim any one's life. We saw Stan and Darlene at chemo on Wednesday, and that's one of the first things he mentioned. Stan said that he had taken it pretty hard, surprisingly, and thought how fortunate he felt to still be here and fighting. Ironic, coming from a man who is going on his third five-years of battling off and on, but it made perfect sense. This morning I was talking to Tina, from my office, who is halfway through her treatments for breast cancer, and she mentioned Tony Snow, too. It seems a universal theme that his passing had a unique impact on cancer patients. Godspeed, Tony Snow.

With that, I'm also coming up on a year since the re-diagnosis. I've bought myself a year, and I'm just NOT freakin' ready to go anywhere yet. I can't believe it's been a year already. Waiting, at this time, to find out what the results of the liver biopsy would be. Hoping, hanging onto that slim scrap of unknown that maybe, just maybe...but we knew. We just didn't know what, or how much.

Maybe the devil we knew was better than the devil we didn't.
Now, the devil is at bay.

I look back on that time - I was so healthy, so invincible, so on top of the world, and so ready to put this speed bump behind us and commence with living the rest of our lives. Since then I've been through, seen, done, and experienced so much. Yet, I'm the same person. But in some ways, I'm looking at the world through slightly different eyes. Maybe we all do.

I've already been through one round of my worst fears coming to realization, and I know that there's no guarantees that it won't happen again. It's been four months since NED came to be a part of our lives, and I'm not ready, nor will we ever be - to let him go. It's also time for another scan in another month. Again, as I breathe, I need to remember that not every ache and pain means bone mets and each time I am tired does not mean that it's back. It's not my time for that yet. Not that it will ever be - but not now. Especially not now.

Back to Tony Snow - he said, “Anybody who does not believe that thoughts and prayers make a difference, they’re just wrong.” I'm proof positive of that. I remember, just over a year ago, when I learned that for the first time.

I've often been reminded of the adage, "We plan, God laughs." One never really does know where our paths will take us or what lies on the other side. I've had my struggles with organized religion and I think I always will, but I have come to believe that prayer, in whatever shape or form it takes, works. I think that was part of my challenge the other day - I felt some sort of disconnect with everything, including God. I had been finding him on the trails, in the drops of rain, in the smell of the wet desert and suddenly, I couldn't seem to grasp the connection with something higher. I struggled with this, with the fact that I wasn't sure I knew how to pray, and that I felt it was important that someone, something hear me. It's out there - whatever it is, it's out there. I hope that he, it, whatever hears when I say prayers of thanks, too.

I still like to picture the scene that Greg described from It's a Wonderful Life about God being bombarded with prayers. It worked once - bring on the noise again, and keep it coming...