On Friday we went to Sloan to do both a follow-up from my hospital stay and a chemo treatment. I met with the Infectious Disease doctor (who did a great job managing my treatment back in July...she's about my age and is super smart and practical and generous). She took a look at my records and approved what antibiotics I'm on, just extending both by a couple days.
Labs were next. Still, after all this time (and all these needles!!) this part causes me a bit of anxiousness. Its also a bit humorous, because of the variety I've had. The first time they took from my arm, telling me they absolutely do not access the port until I get into treatment. The second time, they said they cannot take from my arm, it must be my hand in case my port doesn't work for treatment. This time, since my port was already accessed (to administer antibiotics), I figured I'd ask the simple question if they could draw from my port. No problem! And right there in the lab area they changed the port needle and took blood from there.
The experience I'm gaining within this whole world makes it more challenging to stay gracious to those caring for me in hospitals and offices. Now that I know too much its harder for me to just "go with the flow" and not ask the question you can't, or you won't?? The same struggle exists for me being a gracious bank customer after working in banking for twelve years. I'm a lover of rules but there are less hard and fast ones than we think.
Wow...talk about getting sidetracked. Anyway...
I met with the surgeon's office too. Dr. T was out, which I knew, but I still wanted to keep her office happy. They've been excellent coordinators and do a great job keeping the ball rolling and they just like to keep tabs on me.
The oncologist took the longest, filling her in on what happened with my infection episode. In the end, she really wanted to play it safe and not mess with my white counts. I had a flicker of disappointment before I got happy that I wasn't going to walk out of there sick and I could be a participant in my weekend. Going in, I was pretty anxious about the treatment, and now I really think it was because my body needed just a little more rest.
Next was a new test for me, an echocardiogram. It took about 30 minutes and was an ultrasound of my heart. I've had several ultrasounds in my life, but we were always looking at a baby. Seeing a baby is most magnificent, but I have to say that watching my heart beat over and over and over on a screen was pretty amazing. Only God could have created something so miraculous.
The tech asked a couple questions about my cancer and said "it changes your life forever, or at least temporarily". I assured him it has changed my life permanently, but in mostly good ways. He said, "I bet I know how. I had prostate cancer and I discovered you really learn who your friends and family are. People I thought would be there for me weren't and others who I didn't know that well really stepped in." I agreed that is a piece of it, that its been completely overwhelming to see our community form and come together and be SO supportive. That its beyond understanding how so many have taken a step forward into our mess when it would have been easier and more convenient to take a step back and wait for this whole cancer-thing to blow over. That daily we are loved on by family and friends, barely acquaintances and complete strangers. Team Lisa is definitely a huge part of my story.
But he wanted to know what other good has come. So, in between having to hold my breath for pictures, I was able to share with him just 0.10% of what I've learned in this past year.
That we are here on Earth for a very short time and never ever promised tomorrow. Life is brief, fleeting and each day matters. That God is good, that his plans for me are good. That he is in control and always faithful. That he is my source of daily, sustaining grace.
"Oh, so you found religion?"
No, not religion. Its deeper than rules and regulations. Its about God pursuing me and His love that never ends and knowing, knowing that He is with me and for me and He is enough.
I left the test thinking that I had so much to share, I wished we'd had hours. There is a work being done in my heart that I'm just so grateful for. I get it when people say, I wouldn't have chosen it, but I wouldn't trade my experience for anything.
After my dad treated me to lunch, we headed out of the city for what would turn into a five hour car ride home. The trifecta of it being Friday, a holiday weekend and pouring rain made for a mess on the roads. I was so glad to not be driving!
(October 11, 2014)
The Hartford Marathon was this weekend, which caused me to do a great deal of reflecting on last year at this time. I had trained all summer. My body was strong and could run 26.2 miles...in a row! :) It was an emotional race and I could never have guessed what the coming year would hold. I'm so glad I didn't know!
(Next treatment is scheduled for later this week...)