You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly in absentia for the last month or so. It’s been quite the series of events, and I’m still getting my footing, but here I am, with some beginning thoughts on recent events.
The condensed version is that I’d had a persistent cough for a while and had begun to be short of breath doing things like walking up the basement steps. (I might not be dancing full-time anymore, but I walk the trails regularly with my dog, and I still choreograph the occasional musical theatre production, so I’m in relatively good shape, so this was not not normal.) I finally went to an Urgent Care, where they took an X-ray and saw a bunch of stuff in my lungs that shouldn’t be there. The thing was, no one could agree on what it was. Fast forward…again, condensed version…it took three weeks, a lung biopsy, and a week in the hospital to finally diagnose me: cancer. Not lung cancer per se, but cancer that’s in my lungs (long story…it’s complicated).
The great thing is that my prognosis is good. My oncologist, whom I LOVE (more about him later), is very positive. He thinks the chemo could clear my lungs completely. After only one treatment, I’m already breathing more easily, so I’m feeling positive, too.
Rest assured, pathwriter is not going to turn into a cancer patient’s blog. However, pathwriter is about my path and my thoughts and the things that inspire me along the way, and since cancer is a part of the current leg of my path, I will be sharing thoughts and insights that may be related to or are inspired by my illness.
One thing recent events have reinforced for me is that there are no coincidences. The timing of things brought me together with a series of medical professionals who worked diligently to diagnose me (and others who are now are treating me), even though I’m one of those self-employed people who has no health insurance, and they’re not sure (neither am I) where my payments are going to come from. My oncologist looked me straight in the eye two weeks ago and said, in so many words, “I will take care of you, money or no.” He is a kind and gentle man, with a big heart, a twinkle in his eye, a sense of humor, and the admiration and respect of those who work with him (two of them referred to him as “brilliant”). I know he’s exactly the person that’s supposed to be walking with me on this unexpected part of my path.
It’s also no coincidence that my long-time friend, John, has been an oncology nurse for a couple of decades now and can now be a resource for me as well as my friend. Or that my childhood best friend Betty is a former nurse who isn’t working now and has the time to come hang out and take me to appointments and help out with other things. She claims her nursing knowledge is rusty, but it’s a lot better than mine, so she’s been a great resource, too.
Another thing that’s been reinforced for me is the inherent kindness and generosity of people—not only my long-time, close friends, but also people I know only through the internet or that I danced with a million years ago but haven’t seen in person in that same million years. And people who don’t even know me…friends of my sister, or my mom…or friends of my friends. There’s that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I have a far-flung village, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the good wishes and offers of help and LOVE coming at me from so many people.
I should be posting more often going forward—the same mix of quotes and excerpts and my own thoughts. Taking it one day at a time, of course, but as I sit here now, I’m on my fourth day of feeling almost like my old self, and I feel in my bones that all will be well.
P.S. If you’re interested, my sister has set up a Caring Bridge site to help keep friends and family up to date on my progress. The address is: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/vka