Surgery Scheduled September 19th – 7:30 am
Surgery has officially been scheduled for September 19th at 7:30 am with pre op beginning at 5:30 am. I’m still a little blown away that the surgeon said yes lets do it. As I think back to the beginning I wasn’t sure I would ever be at a point that I would become a surgical candidate. Many have asked why surgery if everything is moving along so positive and the cancer is shrinking away. The research shows a much better survival rate and less chance of reoccurrence if the cancer is surgically removed. Even doctor Han said to me if the surgeon says yes, you do it. Unfortunately even if they are able to get it all during surgery I will be continuing with chemo. At this point I’m not sure for how long anywhere from 3 months to unknown. So much to think about when making these type of decisions but I’m not going to worry about it now because we aren’t at that point and I need to stay present in the moment and focus on the now. Easier said than done.
Before surgery I was told to get an MRI on my liver with special contrast as well as a stress test. The MRI has been completed and I will be scheduling the stress test on Monday. Not sure how many of you have been lucky enough to go in for an MRI (can you hear my sarcasm) so let me tell you a little bit about my experience. I showed up and the receptionist was super nice and helpful and completely on top of getting the report and images to whomever I needed ASAP which was awesome. The awesomeness kind of stopped there. Not sure how many of you know but I am not a fan of tight spaces and I’m the first to literally jump out of the elevator and take the stairs when people begin piling in. I thought the MRI would be just like the Pet and CT which I handled well given your feet go in first and in my case head stayed out and the cylinder is pretty roomy. The MRI machine is much more confined, your head goes in first, you are kind of strapped down and ear plugs in your ears. So I headed into the radioactive room and climbed up on the sled (not really sure what it is called). Because the doctor ordered a special MRI with contrast I had to get hooked up so I made sure to tell them I had a port and did not want an IV in my arm. Apparently the techs aren’t qualified to access a port so a doctor has to be called in. After I tell them again about the port the tech says well let me just try and see if I can get a vein then we can get started and not wait. I say ummm no I don’t want you to do that the last time they tried I ended up sobbing because of the pain as they tried to get my veins to work. Tech says well what happens, I mean I could just give it a try. I’m thinking to myself what the hell, are you kidding me, do you not hear what I am saying, are you so disconnected that you can’t just listen to the patient. My response, No, I have a port my veins don’t work I don’t want you to try. Needless to say the doctor came in and accessed my port. I realize the tech does this day in and day out but this is a perfect example of what is wrong with our medical system. There is a failure to connect with patients. A failure to listen and truly hear patients. I wanted to say to her look if you were laying here wouldn’t you want me to listen to you, what would you want for a loved one? Where has the humanity gone?
After the port was accessed I then found out that a contraption was being laid across my chest and my arms were basically being pinned down to my sides. At this point I started thinking to myself I really should have taken some anxiety meds this am. My heart was racing, the tears started flowing and then came the question do you want to go through with this or stop. Do I want to stop? Hell yes, but I don’t have the luxury of making those kind of decisions. My life depends on following through and doing what is needed no matter what. So, I calmed myself down with some visualization and breathing and was ready to proceed. They told me it would be about 20 minutes so I thought okay I can do 20 minutes well, 20 minutes came and went and ultimately I was in the tube for over an hour. At least they gave me some earphones with the Phillip Phillips station on Pandora and I took the time to visualize and meditate myself away from the task at hand.
The good news is the MRI showed that the tumor by my iliac artery has shrunk to approximately 5 mm and there is nothing new showing up on my liver in fact they aren’t seeing anything they can say is a tumor.
RUNNING OF THE GUARD
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I was so honored to be the beneficiary of this year’s Running of the Guard. This awesome group ran 10 miles on the beach barefoot and swam 2 miles, you all rock! Special kudos to Dave Neels for pushing Max and Ruby in the stroller and just making it happen. Rich and Rick you have created a very special event and I hope to be joining in the fun next year.
DEIDRE GOES 9 and beyond!
My dear friend Deidre was contemplating doing the Running of the Guard but didn’t think she would be able to make the 9 mile beach run which turned out to apparently be 10 but whose counting. But that didn’t stop her from setting out that same morning and doing her own TSFC run. She sent me a video that of course left me in tears and at each mile she took a picture of the TSFC sign she made. Here she is at Mile 1:
As she continued her run and at almost every mile she got random people involved in her adventure and sent me pictures. Here is Mile 2:
Before she started on her TSFC adventure she didn’t think there was anyway she would make it 9 miles and in the end she pushed it to 9.89 miles! Way to Go Deidre! It’s funny how inspiration breeds more inspiration. So many have said to me you have inspired me but really it is you that inspires me!
Justin Timberlake and JayZ
I went straight from the Running of the Guards to Pasadena to see JT/JayZ and all I can say is EPIC! My dear friend Krista called me a couple weeks before the concert and asked what I was doing on the evening of July 28th. I told her I didn’t think I had anything planned and she gave me the best surprise, a ticket in great seats to the concert. My response was an overwhelming I don’t really care what I have going on that night I’m coming! They played for over 2 hours and at the end of the show I had to agree with Linda Meyer that JT truly is one of the sexiest men. The guy sings, dances, plays piano and guitar and rocks a fedora.
Round 12 and another awesome theme, Push it for Tara!! I loved all the emails and pictures of people pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone, isn’t that what life is all about. I was so inspired by you all.
This group of awesome ladies made their way to a boot camp hosted by trainer extraordinaire Julianne Hastings! They all pushed their limits while I prepared to head to the Cancer Center for infusion #12.
All my labs looked good and my CEA was at its lowest point 1.4! Can’t believe I won’t be headed back to the infusion room until post surgery. Its kind of surreal to think I have made it to a point where surgery is an option. At the beginning of this journey I could tell that the doctors didn’t really believe that I would become a surgical candidate. It wasn’t the words that were used but really what wasn’t said, well except for one doctor who made it pretty clear he didn’t think there was much hope. Here’s to you doc! Deep in my heart I always knew I would make it here and I know that at some point soon I will be cancer free. I certainly couldn’t have come this far without all of my supporters, cheerleaders, prayer warriors and incredible TSFC Team! I hope you all know how much I appreciate each of you and what you have done for not only me but for my family.
FRIENDSHIP PADDLE AND PEDAL
October 18th and 19th for the Paddle and October 19th for the Pedal
If you want to do the paddle and haven’t yet signed up get on it. We are hoping to know sooner rather than later how many boats, teams, paddlers etc… will be headed out to the islands for this truly extraordinary experience. If you don’t have a team or a boat don’t worry Chris Chiarappa will get you all set up. If you are not sure how to get involved take a look at the info I have posted on the site: Friendship Paddle and Pedal. Both the paddle and pedal will end at the harbor followed by a celebration of life. This is going to be pretty incredible for me not only emotionally but also physically since the paddle will be exactly one month post surgery. That means no screwing around when it comes to healing and getting my body in gear for this amazing event.
Fuck Cancer, Live Forever!
Hugs and Kisses,