There’s a storm named Kilo that is south of the state and it appears to be hooking right toward the north while increasing in strength. For the most part, hurricanes don’t quite make it here. A theory surmises that both the Maunas on the Big Island, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, shield us from the storms. Combined with the trade winds, the storms are broken up and we get the rain we need and and some blustery winds. But if a storm travels south, it avoids the Mauna Effect and could wreak havoc. Do you sense an imminent metaphor?
I wish this were the end of my hook up with Cancer. The good news is that the wound behind my knee is healing well enough that I will most likely avoid the need for a skin graft. That’s fantastic news. The incision where the lymph came out is healing and is no longer stretched by a swelled seroma beneath the skin. That had been drained by a radiologist using ultrasound as guidance. This is good. I’m feeling fine. I’m not quite 100 percent, but I’m better.
I am grateful that my sentinel lymph node fell on the Cancer grenade for me. Really. Think about the parts of your body that protect you and be grateful. But because the sentinal showed Cancer within, the decision is to go back in and get the rest. Next Monday, August 31, I go in for the lymphadenectomy. My surgeon-oncologist describes the procedure as cutting a lazy S from mid thigh to above my hip, pulling the skin back, and removing the lymphs. The skin will be put back in place and a drain will be inserted to manage the lymphedema because all these little filter friends will be removed from my right side. Nearly healed from the other surgery, I’m not looking forward to the recovery for this. We have to guard against necrosis of the skin that was peeled back. I will probably be on a crutch. Bathing is going to suck again for a while. And it’s hot.
Of course I will deal with it all. I don’t think I’m much of a whiner, but my family might beg to differ. After I heal from this surgery, I will be placed on Interferon for a year for my immunotherapy. As you can imagine, I am looking at stories from people who have been there and done that and lived to tell and say it sucked but they made it, and show ” No Evidence of Disease,” or “NED” since. Truly. No one says, it was tough but not that bad. No one. When I talk about triathlon training as my foundation for getting through this with fortitude and determination, I kid you not. For me, nothing hurts more than a 70.3 triathlon race, and for me, the run. How will this compare?
The most amazing thing that has come from all this for me is how much my family and friends support me. Cards from friends. Flowers from my Septmber1999Mommies group (Sophie was born in 1999). First-person books on melanoma and a book on how to make exotic cocktails (this, too, is important!). Through private messages on Facebook, I have had several friends share with me their experiences with Stage 3a melanoma. A dear friend whose husband had Cancer told me about it after he had been diagnosed, through surgery and out from under immunotherapy. Another friend shared with me her own experience and links to people who are taking this day-by-day and sharing it online, such as Patient#1 on Philly.com. And, if you saw my previous entry about this (not the recipe one!), a complete stranger was prompted by a mutual friend to get in touch. I have had long-distance Reiki sessions. I have been told I have three angels. I have been told I am scrappy and well prepared to go the distance.
I cannot call this a fight. Since when does a fight really solve anything? Truly misguided crazy-ass Cancer cells think my body is awesome. This ain’t no party. Soon we shall fumigate. They’ll never know what happened, which is fair because I didn’t even know they were here.
This weekend my high school had a car show featuring a cardboard cutout of Pope Francis, the absolutely BEST Pope of all time. For everyone who has totally screwed up PR for Jesus and God, this incredibly outspoken man might just remedy that situation. He is The Dude. I am in awe of him. So if you kept reading the comments in my Cancer entries (The Skin I’m In, specifically), you would see that my friend Pam is going to try to see him when he visits Philadelphia in September. She is going to write my name on a card to try to pass to him. She and her mother are going to hold up a sign with my name on it for the Pope to read. Perhaps just his eyes and a fleeting thought will connect us for a nanosecond. That would be enough. Zing!
I am not looking forward to this surgery and the year after that. But all of you have shown me that I’ve got this.
Something phenomenally good has come from this. Cancer has given me a chance to reset my life. I feel like I am finally out from under the storm clouds of negativity that were a constant companion. It’s gone. Friends are real and true, even those whom I haven’t seen in decades. My family near and far keeps me grounded and surrounded with love. After this, I can be whatever I want. Again, gratitude.