When the World Falls From Under Your Feet

Everything started going wrong the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I had been on antibiotics for 10 days and thought they had done a good job of killing off the bacteria…both the good and the bad. The good news was the bad was gone. But by the day after Thanksgiving it was not getting better. So, like any sensible person I got in to see my doctor. By the time we were finished I think we thought we were dealing with a big, honking ulcer. OK, I can deal with this. But to be certain, the doctor wanted to me to see the gastroenterologist.

In the meantime, I got a call Saturday morning that my friend, only 38, had died during the previous night. She did have medical problems. The irony was that after two years of really bad problems things were starting to settle down for her. She had gone back to school to get her BA. But during the night she had a seizure and died. She was like my daughter, and I was dumbfounded by the news. It took a couple of days to get the concept through my mind that she had passed away…so young.

On Thursday afternoon I saw the gastroenterologist. He used the scope to see if there were ulcers. I didn’t like that test. And I didn’t like the preliminary results: there is a mass in the esophagus. He thought it might be malignant. His office made an appointment for me to get a CT scan on Friday.

Friday was my friend’s funeral. It was one I didn’t want to attend, but for her husband and grown children I was there. Her husband had asked I be there and, of course, I could not refuse. I love these people. It was a rough funeral. But during the services I got a spiritual message that I was in for a rough time but would end up being OK.

Immediately after the services I got a phone call from the gastroenterologist. The pathology report was back and it was confirmed: I have esophageal cancer. And I headed down to the hospital to have the CT scan run to find out just how bad it is. The gastroenterologist told me he would make an appointment for me to see the doctor at the hospital for evaluation. I told him to have it made for after Wednesday: I see my primary care physician on that morning.

I couldn’t sleep too late on Saturday morning. I woke rather early and couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent all morning and most of the afternoon on the web. I found out all I could about esophageal cancer, the hospital I’m going to be referred to, the possible and probable treatments. Knowledge has always been my key to making decisions. Between what I found out and the spiritual message I got I am at peace with what is going on. I know the options. Once I have been evaluated, I will be ready for whatever treatment we decide is best.

The problem is that my friends and loved ones are scattered all over the country. I have some great people here supporting me. I let my cousin know Friday night. If the primary treatment is what has to be (surgery) I want her to be the one here the week after I am released. Letting my “kids” know was rougher. There was absolute silence on the line when I called Pris. She took in the information. She will be keeping the kids in Reno calm and informed. I let my brother and some friends know by e-mail. I had to call two more of the kids. Shawn lost it. I don’t want him here until the second week. He is the one who is physically able to lift me if I fall. That is the week I will be starting to move about. Tony took it rather calmly.

On the way to the hospital for the CT scan, I hit the car in front of me at a stop. It didn’t even dent. We just traded a scrape of paint. But I about lost it. When the woman who I hit found out (we did trade insurance information) she asked if she could have a moment of prayer with me. That was really touching.

My friend in Argentina and another in England is praying. All the kids are taking time to pray to whatever higher power they believe in. The members of my church will be over on Sunday for a blessing. I have found support in many circles…at work, at church, from my “kids,” from strangers. I’m not sure I will really come to terms with what is going on. I think I am still in the shock stage. I know I will fight. I will find out all there is to know about what is going on. I will be selfish about what I need from everyone. I am already in survival mode. I am taking care of me before anyone else at this moment. I will survive, as the Spirit promised. Evidently I still have some lessons to learn.

As Mother Teresa said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”

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One Response to “When the World Falls From Under Your Feet”

  1. Barbara Ingram Says:

    Wishing you the very best of luck – keep positive!

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