Saturday, September 15, 2007

Breathe In, Breathe Out - A Cancer Recovery Journal - 3

Ema Update: Ema came home from the hospital yesterday. I think I'll have to take off at least part of next week to help her. At any rate, Linda and her daughters have been a tremendous help. Ema sleeps while the rest of the house is kept in order and we work as silently as possible around her - letting her heal.
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Day 7 Friday 8/31/07
: 8:00 AM – Ema and I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon this afternoon to go over the leg surgery. In the meantime, we wait – again.

Day 8 Saturday 9/1/07: 10:55 AM – I’m sitting in the waiting room while Ema gets two MRIs of her leg – one with, and one without contrast. What if this tumor was just a rogue tumor – acting alone without any friends, and with no intention of creating any friends? Is it possible that Ema could, at this very moment, be cancer free? This is a good question to ask Dr. U, Ema’s main oncologist. Actually, it sounds like a good question to ask if we want to set ourselves up for disappointment. Doctors are notoriously conservative with their answers to questions like this. Still, some positive news would be so sweet to our ears right now.

Day 11 Tuesday 9/4/07: 7:05 AM – The Weight of Our Fears – People with post-traumatic stress syndrome often face ‘hot memories’ – bad memories and traumatic fears that own them. I’m trying not to let my fears own me. I fight back, force my fears way down deep as far as they will go. Seems they always find a way to surface. I wonder if this is how our lives will be from now on. I’m certain that our lives will never be quite the same again. We will be on alert at all times, ready to do battle with whatever may appear. We will worry intensely after each CT scan which will have to be performed every three months for the next three years. I’ll be extra-sensitive to Ema’s coughing – a sign of lung cancer. But I’m not afraid of all of this, nor do I feel burdened by it. It’s just something we have to do from now on – our lives really have changed, but maybe it’s not for the worse.

The three day weekend was tough. Cancer has taken the ‘joy’ out of life, and replaced it with fatigue. I hate to give it that much power, but until we get on the road to healing, this is what we face. Three days of inactivity – well, two and a half since the MRI on Saturday, is frustrating. Ema is going to call Dr. U. this morning and try to get some questions answered. Big questions for which we trust Dr. U will give us his usual expert answers: Will Ema live through this? (Yeah, that’s a big one.) How does the relative rarity of the tumor affect treatment, recurrence, survival? What other areas of her body should be scanned for tumors besides her lungs? Answers please, the sooner the better.

8:00 AM – I found an interesting survival calculator on the Sloan-Kettering cancer Web site: Wonder how accurate it is? I read 90% here, and 60% on another site. No one knows, and for people like us who are desperately seeking answers, the numbers just add to the frustration.