Saturday, March 15, 2008

two days to the future

It's been two years since I've had to go through pre-op testing...but starting Monday, I get to relive it all over again.

New doctors.
A couple of doctors I've seen too many times before.

Pre-op tests are grueling. Appointment after appointment from the hospital to 53rd St. and back again--all the while wondering what will come next, what they are going to say, what procedures they have planned, and will you make it to the next doc's office on time. By the end of the day, I will need the St. Patrick's Day parade.

The cancer is now labeled 'locally advanced'...I think. I don't know for sure; I just have the substitute nurse's read of the scans I had during Westminster weekend. She said It's gone from a small targeted tumor at the original incision site to something that may involve my cervix and left ureter. The pre-op docs will clarify Monday and Tuesday; it's one of my big questions.

Meanwhile, if I think about it for too long, I won't be able to function at all. The surgery is scary enough. I don't want to do more chemo.

So, I get to meet with a gyn oncologist who is the director of reconstructive surgery in his department, and a radiation oncologist who is going to do interoperative radiation during the surgery, and a urologic oncologist who is going to try to preserve uretral and kidney function while they remove the tumor.

And I get to meet with some docs who already know me--the medical internist who clears me for surgery and Weiser, the colorectal surgeon who did my initial surgery. And I get to find out what I will look like after all of this is done.

I made six copies of my latest reports and my doctor contacts, surgical-chemo-rad history and contact information. I am packing light to do two days in NYC on the fast track as I bounce in and out of entrances at MSKCC, on and off the 6 train to 53rd St. I am a little scared.

But I am also here, today, doing what I want to do, and I've been given that chance for two years longer than anyone thought I'd have. Tonight I will sleep with my dogs and tomorrow I will write training programs while I'm on the late train to NYC.

And Monday, the docs will begin coloring in my near future.
Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

on living, and fulfilling your dreams

I routinely read several blogs, looking for content to feed to the Protein Power forum 'Media Watch.' Today, catching up on Mike Eadeses' blog, I found this entry for March 6: "A video we all need to internalize."

Randy Pausch has recurrent pancreatic cancer. This video is an abbreviation of the last lecture he gave before retiring from Carnegie Mellon University, which aired on the 'Oprah' show:

This is the unabbreviated, 1 hour and 25 minute version:

and for those of you on slow connections, the written transcript:

Finally, this is Pausch's update page (he should be discharged from the hospital sometime today or tomorrow, after resolving his latest health crisis.)

Why so many versions of the same story?
To be honest, because when people say 'think positive thoughts,' I wish this was what they meant.

Randy Pausch knows he's going to die. He gets it. He hates it, but he gets it. And having dealt with getting it, now he's getting on with living every minute that he has left.

I only hope that I can be that strong.