So...I am coming up on my birthday. My 39th birthday to be exact. I used to be a little bit sad about approaching 40, but that's kind of changed. You see...over the past 10 months, there have been times when I wasn't sure I would make it to my 39th birthday. Even now, as I write this, I think my new-found understanding of the fragility of life keeps me from even being sure that I will make it through the next 5 days. Not that I am anticipating anything happening...but that's the thing about life and death...you can't really anticipate what only God knows.
Anyway...I think if you asked me a year ago if I was looking forward to being 39, I would have groaned dramatically and made some comment about getting old. But, today if you asked me the same question, I'd have to say "hell yeah" because I want more than anything in the world to continue getting older, to be 40 and 45 and 50, etc. A year ago, I would have said that I didn't want to celebrate birthdays anymore...they are just another day...but now...you know what...I want to not only celebrate my birthdays as I age, I want to celebrate everyday. Each day that I wake up still breathing is a gift. Cancer taught me that much. I am sure it has plenty more to teach me, since right now...it doesn't seem to want to go anywhere.
That being said...many of you already know that I had my scan this past Monday to see if the chemotherapy drugs from the clinical trial were working. I felt confident that I could handle any result. Alas, the results were not good. The large tumor on my liver has grown another 1.2 cm. We are now up to 9.2 cm (don't try to look back and do the math because it doesn't make sense to me either. I guess the size depends on who is measuring it). In addition to that, there were a few spots that were being "watched" (unbeknownst to me) that have become measureable in size. Much of my pelvic masses have stayed the same size, with some of them growing a little. I am pretty sure he didn't mention anything shrinking. I am also pretty sure he didn't mention anything spreading.
I wasn't really surprised. I had felt in my heart and body that this drug probably wasn't doing what I needed it to do, but I was still disappointed and sad. Sometimes, I feel scared. Monday was one of those times.
However, my doctor reminded me that there are still other options and that I am still in relatively good health. He said..."I don't want you to think that I am sending you home saying 'there is nothing else we can do.'" Together, we put together a plan. My husband and I were to research a few things and the doctor would be researching some others. There's movement for now on what to do next. Which is a relief...you can't imagine how many people responded to my news with a "what now?" Yeah...what now?
Now we gather our resources and go back to the drawing board. Another battle lost, but the war is nowhere near over. I may be getting used to this process. I am recovering more quickly emotionally. Though I say that now and who knows what the next hour will bring. It's a rollercoaster for sure.
Anyway...strangely enough...I got an email with the following quote just a few minutes ago and it reminded of how I need to take life right now...inch by inch...in the present moment. Nothing big is accomplished in one leap. It takes time. I may not have as much time as I once thought. But, I have this moment to fill however I want. Baby steps. Inch by inch.
Watch your way then, as a cautious traveler; and don't be gazing at that mountain or river in the distance, and saying, "How shall I ever get over them?"
Just keep to the present little inch that is before you.
The mountain and the river can only be passed in the same way; and, when you come to them, you will come to the light and strength that belong to them.
Mary Ann Kelty, 1789-1873 (Adapted)English Author and Poet
Take care, my friends, inch by inch.