Being diagnosed for the second time stops time……almost more so than the first time!!
As a stage 4 colon cancer patient one needs to be grateful for each and every day; as we all should in life. When you are first diagnosed with such an advanced illness with no symptoms, “shocked” is the only word to describe how one feels. As you pick your doctors, make your plans, put your plans in place, start chemo, get good results, tackle surgery, recover then hear you are in “remission”; you feel like you have just crossed a victory line and completed a marathon.
Every six months you have your port flushed and blood was drawn to check your CEA levels; every three months you have scans. These words describe how anxious one feels leading up to these days, these moments, these results.
I remember clearly, it was February 2017, just 2 years shy of my diagnosis date. I went for my scans and one of my dearest friends from California was in town visiting. I told her I had to go get my scans then we would have a fun night in the city; I was sleeping over. As I looked at my Dr. in the eyes and he delivered me my results; I could barely breathe. This couldn’t be true!! I dedicated a year to getting rid of this cancer; how and why did it return? And why so quickly?
I went into panic mode. My kids had just started to recover from the shock of my diagnosis; how was I going to tell them? Did I have the strength and energy to go through this again?
My dear friend helped me gather my thoughts; my Dr. hugged me and we left with a new plan; time to meet a new doctor. A quick phone call and I had set an appointment. Again my dear friend comes to my rescue; she delays her trip and comes with me to my appointment, along with two other dear friends and my husband. WOW, am I, one lucky girl! I can’t begin to tell you how having these incredible people in my life made me feel better.
Fast forward: we watch, we observe, we wait until it’s time…...then surgery is planned!!! The time has come to face reality. All we can do now is hope, pray, believe, and do our best to stay positive. Surgery is successful, recovery is longer than we hoped, but it is important to stay on track, stay in the frame of mind Chronically Better You has in place for those of us battling chronic illnesses. One day at a time, one task at a time; each day is a new day of strength, accomplishments, and completing goals.
The constant question remains; will it come back again? If it does we will stay in the routine and use our journaling with the Better Life Patient Journal to get us through our next challenge, and if it doesn’t we will count our blessings and continue to help those around us facing challenges.