Forever

I am a little surprised to find I have not updated this blog for 4 months. I hope no one was holding their breath waiting to find out what became of my pain. So I will start by updating that saga.

More tests showed nothing. I was referred to an orthopedist who I saw at the beginning of March. He said one of the MRI’s did note a slight thinning of cartilage around my knee, which could be causing the pain. He wanted to try a shot of cortisone along with some pain killers in my knee. The shot hurt….. a lot! But it did lessen the pain. It didn’t disappear, but it certainly became easier to deal with. He also referred me to a physical therapist, who gave me some stretches and exercises to try. I don’t believe those helped much at all. The relief lasted a few weeks and then the pain has slowly started to return. It’s not as bad as it was to begin with, but also not as good as it was following the shot. So, tomorrow, I am going back to the doctor for another shot. It’s obvious that it is just a band aid for the pain, but I have some big travel plans this summer and I hope to be able to enjoy my trips as pain free as possible.

Everything else is business as usual as far as the cancer goes. I continue on a combination of Ibrance and Faslodex along with my infusions of Zometa every three months. I will have my bi-annual PET/CT Scan at the end of July.

So, in other news, we sold our house and are now living in an apartment. This was a really quick decision. It wasn’t in our plans to move at all, but we looked at some model homes in March, found out what our house was worth, crunched some numbers and pulled the trigger. This is the third house that Mark has had built from scratch, but my first. There really wasn’t anything wrong with our home that we owned for twelve years, but we are looking to the future. My mom is planning on moving in with us, which I’m so happy about. At present her health is fine, but she is alone in Florida with no family near by. As she ages, I would like to be closer to her and have her near us so that we can help her out. Convincing her to leave sunny Florida and come back to Colorado was no easy task, but a new house with a ranch floor plan finally convinced her! The other consideration of course, is my health. As it declines, it will be nice to have one level.

Anyway, the past few months have been an absolute whirlwind. The new house won’t be finished until November-ish. However, spring and summer are the most favorable times to sell a house and the market is really hot right now. So we chose to go ahead and sell now, move to an apartment temporarily, and then move again. Our decision did pay off as we ended up getting $15,000 above asking price for our home! When I said the market is hot, I meant smoking hot!

As we have progressed in the process of selling, buying, moving, etc., there is a phrase that I keep hearing often. “This is going to be our forever home.” On one hand, it makes me smile, on the other hand it makes me cringe. Yes, this will most likely be the last house we purchase. We are enjoying the planning and getting to pick out fixtures, colors, designs, etc. I’m thankful Mark has been through this before, because it is an intimidating process. We have a long way to go, but so far, so good.

On the other hand, considering I am already past my “expiration date” and living with a terminal diagnosis, I can’t help but wonder what exactly “forever” means to me? It’s somewhat surreal. Forever is hard to define, but most would agree that forever means a long time. In my situation, forever could be a year, 2 years, 5 years. Who knows? Then of course, we could go down the existential road of “is there really such thing as forever?” but that might have to be an entirely different piece of writing.

The good news is that I haven’t once really questioned this decision. As crazy as it may be, it feels right. It seems the ultimate act of optimism to be building my “forever home” in the midst of never-ending cancer treatment, but I’ve always said that I wasn’t going to make decisions as if I’m going to die, but as if I’m going to live. So there you go. Building a house from scratch is definitely making a decision as if I’m going to live.

While waiting for the house to be built, I will be optimistically traveling to some pretty incredible places this summer. I leave next week for Florida for three weeks. This trip will include several nights in Key West, a week in a condo on the beach, and a four day cruise to Cuba! I return on July 5th. I’m home just long enough to do laundry, go get my cancer treatments, re-pack and leave to see my brother in Australia. Talk about a bucket list trip. Nick and I will spend two weeks exploring Sydney and the south east coast. My brother moved to Kiama, Australia in February and will be living there for 3 years. Who could possibly pass on the opportunity to visit the land down under?

The summer will go by quickly, as always, and before I know it the new school year will be here. Time seems to speed up the older I get. Andy Rooney once said, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper-the closer you get to the end, the faster is goes.” So true!

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Pain and Frustration

Pain is a funny thing. I’ve been in pain before, but in the past, it’s all been temporary. Pain from being ill, breaking a bone, having surgery, etc. Chronic pain is different. Chronic pain consumes you. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. It consumes your thoughts, your feelings, your motivation, and your energy. The pain began a couple of weeks before Christmas. Just a nagging pain in my leg. I, at first, wrote it off to a pulled muscle. But even then it felt quite different. With a PET/CT scan approaching on January 3rd and the pain continuing, I was less than optimistic about the results of the scan. To my surprise, the scan results were good. The cancer was stable or shrinking and no new spots showed up. So, why the pain?

Excellent question and one that we still do not have an answer to. The doctor first felt that perhaps the problem was in my back and sent me for an MRI of my back. The results showed small spots of cancer that we already knew about, a small cyst, and mild arthritis. Nothing the doctor felt should be causing me pain. Meanwhile, the pain begins to worsen. It hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it hurts to bend. For the first time in a long while, I reach for my prescription pain pills. They give a temporary reprieve, but it comes at a cost. It makes me groggy, tired, yet I don’t sleep well on them at all. I wake up more exhausted than when I went to bed. I toss and turn. I wake up nearly once an hour. I become desperate for rest. It’s a horrible choice. I either don’t sleep because I’m in pain, or I don’t sleep because of the pain pills. Either way, I don’t sleep!

So, being that I like to self-diagnose, I suggest to the doctor that perhaps we should check for a blood clot. Somewhat of a long shot, but not out of the realm of possibility. She agrees that it’s probably not the case, but sends me for an ultrasound anyway. Ultrasound is negative for a DVT. Still in pain. So back to doctor google. I then read about an interesting side effect of one of my medications. For 5 years I’ve been receiving a drug called Zometa. It’s typically given to women at risk for osteoporosis, but also to patients with cancer in their bones. It helps strengthen the bones and create an inhospitable environment for the cancer. However, one of the risks is sudden femur fractures. The warnings say that patients can experience thigh or groin pain for weeks or months before presenting with a fractured femur. So I print out this information and take it to my doctor’s appointment on February 8th.

The doctor does not think the femur fracture is likely, but again, orders x-rays just to be sure. Since she doubts the fracture, I ask her what she thinks it is. She answers “cancer.” I guess it only makes sense that an oncologist’s thoughts revolve around cancer. So, I ask what the treatment would be. She says she would radiate and that should help with the pain. Then I ask what the treatment is for a fractured femur. She isn’t sure but would refer me to an orthopedist. After some reading I come to find out it usually requires surgery and putting a titanium rod in my leg. Ironically, I find myself thinking for the first time ever…..”please let it be cancer!”

But, x-rays are negative and no problems with the femur can be found. Now what? Back to the MRI machine! Tuesday I will go in to MRI the hip and thigh. At this point, I care less about WHAT it is, and more about what we do about it. I’m tired of being in pain. I want to think about something besides pain and cancer. Every day has become more about “getting through it” and less about “living it to the fullest.” I’ve always said the key to living with terminal illness is to focus on the living part. But when you’re in chronic pain, that becomes so much more difficult.

I fear my journey may be taking a turn for the worse. I fear that the “easy” part might be coming to an end and now it’s all about trying to keep me comfortable. Of course, that’s also a side effect of pain. You’re mind begins to fear the absolute worst and your positive attitude begins to slip away. I’m far from ready to give up. I think I have a few more years in me. I will fight for every last minute to stay here with those I love. It’s just getting tougher and once again, I have to adjust. The mental adjustment is always much harder than the physical.

I will be sure to write an update when and IF we get to the bottom of this ugly pain!

 

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Fear

For those that are tired of reading about anything political, I encourage you to skip this post. Yes, it will eventually link to cancer, but in a very round about way. I will not tolerate or approve any editorial comments about the election or justification for what has happened. You can send me a personal email or write an old fashioned hate letter if you feel the need to respond, but this is not the place to argue. I began this blog to keep friends and family updated about my health situation, which I will do, but it has become more than that. It’s a place to share my feelings about a personal journey that I did not go on voluntarily, but yet, here I am on this road and there is only one way off. This is my place to express my feelings, and hopefully, when I am no longer here, to leave behind my thoughts, opinions, and emotions for those that follow. So, if you continue to read on, buckle up, because it’s not going to be pretty.

So, my muscles are in knots, my head is splitting in two, my stomach has not stopped turning since Tuesday night. Not because a republican has been elected president. I have lived quite happily under republican presidents and am no worse for the wear. However, for the first time in history, we did not elect a democrat or a republican. We elected a sexual predator. A homophobe, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, an absolute lunatic who hides behind the label of “republican.” I’m completely dumbfounded. I’m in utter shock, disbelief, and emotional turmoil. How can the greatest country on earth elect one of the poorest excuses for a human being ever to run our country? We have placed our future in the hands of a man who openly admits that he does not respect women, minorities, homosexuals, refugees, veterans, families of military casualties, and other political leaders. And yet he is going to bring us all together? Unite us? Build diplomatic bridges?

I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. I’m not only afraid for the groups that he has already said he will target, but I am also afraid for myself and for my family. My son is 18 years old. What if this idiot gets us involved in foreign conflicts that lead to more war, destruction, and loss of life? What if we have to go back to a draft? Will my son be forced to fight and possibly die because of Trump’s ego?

I’m afraid for myself. I’m afraid for every person living with a chronic condition or terminal disease. Will I lose my benefits? Will “lifetime maximums” be re-instated by insurance companies who care only about profits and not people? Will I be forced to make a decision between dying or continuing to live while running my family into crippling debt? Will I ever be able to go on disability and afford the medicine and care that I need to stay alive?

I’m afraid for my students. I’m afraid for my Hispanic students, for my gay students, for my female students, for my refugee students. I’ve held students while they sobbed in my arms this week. I’ve tried to calm their fears, reassure them that it’s going to be ok. But I am lying to them. I don’t know if it’s going to be ok. I don’t know if they will be allowed to stay in the United States. I don’t know if they will be able to marry someone they love. I don’t know if they will be allowed to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies. I really just don’t know.

The masses who elected Trump, including some of my own friends and family will say that my fear is unfounded. They will say that I worry to much. They will say that we must give the president-elect a chance. They will say that I am wrong and that my life will get better. They will call me ridiculous, tell me that I am over-reacting and being dramatic. They will tell me that I am just upset because my side lost. Well, losing sucks for sure. No one goes through life and never loses. I’ve lost a lot. But, I always pick myself up, brush myself off, and keep going. I keep trying. I keep working. I keep living. This is honestly the first time in my entire life that I am actually doubting my ability to keep doing any of those things.

If you were hoping that this post was going to end in a rally cry, or on a positive note, it’s not. I’m truly at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say and I don’t know how to keep going. Hate won. Racism won. Discrimination won. Evil won. The republicans did not win. The democrats did not win. We’ve all lost. We’ve lost our compassion, our empathy, our decency, our pride, our respect, our friends, our hearts, and apparently, our minds. I can’t make jokes about it. It simply isn’t funny.

I will see my doctor tomorrow and get my monthly treatment. I have a few questions I will ask about the one good decision voters made in this election. I will ask about medical aid in dying. I will ask if Kaiser is going to participate in this or if I will need to look elsewhere. I doubt I am within 6 months of dying, but the time will come. Depending on if and when I lose my insurance, it may come sooner rather than later. I will not leave my family in debt when I leave this world. I will not turn to crowd funding to pay for medicine and treatment. I will not continue to live when I am nothing but a burden to those I love. I will take control of what little I have control over. I know it’s sad and depressing. But, that’s what life is for me right now. And having a little piece of control amidst the chaos, confusion, and darkness is all that keeps me hanging on at this point.

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Updates from Cancerland

I haven’t posted in quite awhile. I’ve thought about it. Had several ideas, but frankly, summer was tough. I lost another good friend to this dreaded disease on July 6th. My friend S., whom you can read about in the post entitled “Friends in Low Places” (August 2014) passed away. She fought cancer for what seemed like a lifetime. This past round they gave her 6 months, and true to form, she lived two years. She was the embodiment of life and living. She was an amazing woman, who everyone wanted to be around. Losing her stung and will for years to come. Losing my cousin in January and S in July……… there are just no words.

Anyway, I wanted to update my health situation on my blog. It’s all good news. In July, my scan showed the active cancer areas had either resolved or become less active. It looks as if the new medications are working. I am truly grateful and happy, but there is also that sense of guilt. Watching others struggle, slowly fade away, and eventually die, while I seem to be given second, third, fourth chances…….It’s called survivor’s guilt. I’m sure most are familiar with the term. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do anyway. I don’t think it’s something that can be avoided.

My oncologist is on maternity leave until November. I will see a physician’s assistant on Monday, receive my shots, and hopefully another cycle of Ibrance. Blood counts are the deciding factor and for the last few cycles, while my counts definitely go down, they do not drop low enough to justify stopping the medication. Especially if it is working. Other than the blood counts, side effects are minimal to none. I think I actually feel better on this medication than I did on my last one. I seem to have more energy and my joints do not hurt nearly as much. I’m exercising more and even walked a 5K in August with my friends. My new routine has me walking one 5K per week and hopefully building up to a 10K walk in October. I will let you know how it goes. I continue to work full time as well.

Sorry for the solemn post. My creativity just isn’t flowing as usual. Too much loss in too short a period of time. I’m hoping to emerge from my emotional slump soon.

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Milestone

On November 14, 2001, I woke up from surgery and heard the confirmation that I did indeed have breast cancer. The memory is vivid and so are the thoughts that ensued. Cancer? I’m 28! I’m a single mom! My child is 3 years old! I can’t die! It was a mix of disbelief and panic. How could this happen?

I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder the hows and the whys of the situation. I had to make some decisions. I was told my cancer was stage IIA. The tumor was 2.5 centimeters (anything over 2.0 is automatically stage II) but there was no evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes that were removed and dissected. Because of my young age, it was recommended that I undergo chemotherapy to “clean up” any rogue cancer cells and then radiation if I chose to keep the breast or a mastectomy if I wanted to forego the radiation. I began chemotherapy before the end of the month and was bald by Christmas. It’s amazing how quickly it all happened. I had only found the lump (by accident) on November 2nd.

Anyway, during my chemotherapy, I decided that I was going to do anything and everything to stay alive. I wanted to raise my son. And, if for some reason I couldn’t stay to watch him grow up, it would not be because I hadn’t done absolutely everything I could. I think losing a parent is hard, no matter what your age. But, I certainly didn’t want my premature death to scar him for life. I set my goal as his high school graduation. 15 years. Practically a lifetime for a cancer patient. I had my conversation with God and asked that he give me those years. I wouldn’t get greedy, I wouldn’t ask for more. Just get me to that magical day in 2016 and I will die a happy woman.

After the 5 year mark, I started to relax a bit. The doctors said that most recurrences happen in the first 5 years. I was also told that if I made it 10 years, I could say I beat it. So, November 2011 was the 10 year mark! I celebrated big and let out a huge sigh of relief. That relief lasted all of 10 weeks. In March 2012, re-diagnosis. Stage IV. No cure. Average survival 3-5 years. It was at this point I began to seriously doubt whether or not I would get to that high school graduation.

However, on May 18th………….IT HAPPENED!!!! I saw my son walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma. Talk about a sigh of relief. Not to mention a world of emotions……pride, joy, sadness, love, gratefulness. It was an amazing moment and I truly could not be more thankful that I actually got to see it. Although a big milestone for Nick, I think an enormous milestone for me. Publicly, it was all about Nick, privately, I celebrated MY accomplishment.

So, now what? 19 days from now, Nick will turn 18. We will be in Puerto Rico to celebrate. Can I say I officially “raised” him? I met my goal, reached my milestone. Can I die? Yeah, I guess. But here’s the thing……I don’t want too. I want more. More years, more life. I guess it’s inevitable that it’s never going to be enough. Do I dare ask for more? Am I tempting fate? Am I being greedy? These are the questions that I contemplate. I am also contemplating setting a new goal. I don’t know what it should be. Nick’s college graduation maybe? My nephew’s high school graduation in 6 years? Or, something else?

I can’t project myself too far into the future. I think I know better than to go as far as a wedding or perhaps a grandchild, although those aren’t impossible, they are unlikely. My doctor says I need to set a new goal, but I never really thought about what I would do after I made it to graduation day. ┬áMaybe I don’t set any specific goal. Maybe, I take my own advice and live each day as it comes, not worrying about the future. I guess I should be thankful for the opportunity to look into the future. I have to say, in 2012, even buying green bananas caused me to pause.

Anyhow, I’m open to suggestions. Any advice?

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A quick health update: Cycle 3 of Ibrance starts tomorrow, providing my blood counts are good. Cycle 1 left me neutropenic…….meaning my white cell count was very low which leaves me open to infection. I did not get sick however. Cycle 2, blood counts were low but not as low as cycle 1. The hope is that my body will adjust to the medication and my white cell counts will not drop as drastically as they did in cycle 1. Otherwise, it could be a very long and miserable winter full of colds, flus, and who knows what else. I still get the faslodex shots once a month. The shots don’t hurt while getting them, but the injection sites are EXTREMELY sore for several days afterward. They are literally a “pain in the butt!” Next scan is probably going to be in September.

In 9 days I’m off to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean! Maybe some time away will give me some perspective. Let’s hope I come home with perspective and NOT the zika virus! ­čśë

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Even Years

I’m beginning to dislike “even” years. 2012-re-diagnosis, 2014-progression, and now 2016-more progression. It’s probably nothing personal, but these even years seem to bring cancer back into the spotlight of my life.

I had a scan on March 25th, and sure enough, the cancer is again on the move. I think I was mentally prepared for it. I hadn’t had any physical symptoms of progression, it was just a feeling I had inside. It’s funny how you really get to know your body while dealing with a terminal illness.

So the report showed a prominent and “glowing” spot near my sternum, as well as cancerous activity in the pelvic region…..right where the pelvis meets the femur. And it’s on both sides. The radiologist was also kind enough to note in his report that I’m fat and constipated. I’m pretty sure those diagnosis could have happened without an $8000 scan. Thanks doc!

We are moving on to new treatment. I am receiving shots of Faslodex (fulvestrant) every month. I have to have an extra loading dose so I received the first dose on March 25th and another dose on April 8th. After my April 25th dose, then it goes to once per month. Besides being very sore at the injection sites (my butt cheeks), side effects seem minimal. I have a bad taste in my mouth and feel a little tired for a couple of days.

On Tuesday, I started Palbociclib. This is a brand new drug, just approved by the FDA in February of 2015. It’s only been approved for use with Faslodex since February of 2016. It’s hard to get much newer than that. If you Google the drug, it’s hard not to notice that it retails for about $9,800 monthly. Luckily I will pay $50 a month. Thank goodness for health insurance. The jury is still out on whether this drug is officially a “chemotherapy” drug. The doctors say no, but the package insert says yes. I’m not sure who to believe. Regardless, my main concern is the side effects. The list is long, as it is with most medications. The one that frightens me most is the likely drop in blood counts around day 15 of the cycle. I take the drug for 21 days and then go off for 7 days to allow my blood counts to hopefully rebound. I am currently on day 6, so we will see what occurs. Who knows, maybe I will be the lucky one who’s blood counts tolerate the medicine with no trouble. My only side effect so far is a slightly upset stomach.

In the midst of all of this, my oncologist has decided to retire! Many may be thinking this isn’t a big deal, but you tend to become very attached to your doctors when your life hangs in the balance. I really like my doctor and this just isn’t a good time for him to retire! I tried to convince him to stay but he said the only way he’ll ever get caught up is to retire! So I guess I have to let him go. I have to feel somewhat bad for my new oncologist. I hope she can handle me. I’m sure she can handle my cancer, but can she handle my attitude and sick sense of humor? Another “wait and see.”

Life is somewhat surreal right now. On one hand I have all of this cancer crap, but on the other there is a ┬ávery big milestone about to occur. Nick graduates in about 7 weeks! Way back when I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2001, my goal was to live long enough to see my baby graduate from high school. It looks like it’s about to happen! 4 years ago, when I was re-diagnosed, I wasn’t so sure it was going to happen. It’s a huge milestone for Nick, but also for me. Any time I get from that point on, truly will be “icing on the cake.” And, I have to say, I think I have some more years left in me!

Shortly after the big graduation, we leave on a Caribbean cruise.  And then of course the summer will allow me to get caught up, relax, and rejuvenate so that I can hopefully start the next school year strong.

Here’s hoping the new drugs are kind to me and that my next update will be filled with good news. I will likely be scanned again over the summer so stay tuned………

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Heartbreak

Although you know that life is going to inevitably bring pain and suffering, it still sucks. I am going through one of those particularly “sucky” times right now. It is not my health, but that of my beloved cousin that has pulled the rug from underneath me. I have always found writing therapeutic, and since she is going to lose her life to the very same disease I have, I think a blog post is rather appropriate.

J. is 11 years older than me. She grew up in Cincinnati and I mostly in Colorado. When I would spend summers in Cincinnati, I think I became the little sister she never really wanted. I, on the other hand, loved having a big sister as I had only a younger brother growing up. We had plenty of rough times during those summers, as we, like all siblings, competed for her parent’s attention. But, I distinctly remember wanting to be around her. I watched in awe as she water skied on the Ohio river. I cheered for her at her softball games. And I relished the attention she would give me when she took me to her work place, or with her friends to a fireworks show. Her sense of humor and capacity for “fun” made her one of those people everyone loved to be around.

As I became an adult, trips back to Cincinnati became few and far between. I would go for a short visit every few years as I knew my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmother wanted to see my son. I wanted my son to know them as well. Even as an adult I have many fond memories of Cincinnati and trips to spend time with my family. And of course, I loved seeing J. each and every time I was there.

J.’s mother, my aunt, was truly one of my favorite people. Aunt B. was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in the┬ámid 80’s. She died in 2009. For well over 20 years she fought the dreaded monster and was always an inspiration to me as I fought through my first diagnosis in 2001. It seems cancer sort of “took over” my mother’s side of the family in the late 90’s and it really hasn’t stopped since. J. lived through an initial diagnosis of melanoma in 2005. Aunt B. was re-diagnosed with breast cancer again in the mid-90’s, just as my aunt S. passed away from the disease in 1996. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just 7 short months after me in 2002. It has really been quite relentless.

I think J. and I became closer after her mother, my aunt B. died in 2009. The real bonding came the next year when J. was diagnosed with breast cancer. I helped her navigate her way through diagnosis and treatment. I quickly became re-acquainted with the cancer vocabulary and I remember thinking how unfair this all was to her, especially so soon after losing her mother. But, like most she fought back and refused to succumb to this disease that had hurt us all for so long.

In 2011, we took J. on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate life. She had lived through breast cancer, she was turning 50 that year, and we needed to acknowledge it all in a big way. The trip was amazing. To this day, it is still one of my favorite vacations. There was a group of 12 and we all had a blast. J. bonded with some of my best friends and they quickly came to love her as I did.

Then came the turning point for me. In 2012 I was re-diagnosed with breast cancer metastatic to the bones. I was told there was no cure and all further treatment would be to control the disease and extend my life if possible. The average life span with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis is 3-5 years. Yet, here I am, almost four years later, not only surviving, but thriving. Later that same year, J. was re-diagnosed metastatic as well. The sooner you relapse after initial diagnosis, the worse the prognosis tends to be. I had gone 10 years before relapse, J. not quite three years later.

So, by the end of 2012, we found ourselves in the same boat, fighting for our lives and futures. We both had breast cancer in our bones. We spent a lot of time talking doctors, treatments, side effects, prognosis, and fear. We also went on several more trips together. Another Caribbean cruise in 2013, an Alaskan cruise in 2014, and 10 days on the beaches of Florida, just this past summer in 2015. We had some incredible experiences together. Zip lining, swimming with dolphins, standing on a glacier, collecting buckets full of seashells, just to name a few.

It did not take long for J’s cancer to spread into her liver. But, she never gave up. She had a positive attitude, an incredible sense of humor, and strong will to live. She took each new treatment and made the best of it. Despite confounding conditions that included congestive heart failure, she continued to live and make the very most of every day she had.

At the beginning of this year, just over 2 weeks ago, J. was told that the cancer was spreading in her liver and they wanted to try a new chemo. On Monday, January 11th she received the first dose and then basically crashed. She was admitted to the hospital but made it very clear that she wanted to go home. By Wednesday, hospice was involved. Today, I’m told she probably has hours, days at best. My mother is by her side, along with her dad, and a friend that has been with her through everything. She is comfortable.

On the other hand, I am heartbroken! Angry, sad, frustrated, and tired all rolled up in a ball in the center of my chest as I await the inevitable phone call. Even when you know and expect something, it somehow doesn’t seem to make it much easier. Logically, I can tell myself not to feel guilty, but it doesn’t matter. I do feel guilty. Why her and not me? Why do I get to keep on living but her short life has come to an end? I feel so helpless. There are few times in my life that I would describe myself as being in an utter state of despair, but this is definitely the state I am in at the moment. There are no answers to my questions. I get it. But, it doesn’t stop me asking, because, damn it! it just isn’t fair.

My only comfort now, is knowing that Aunt B. is waiting for J. Knowing that they will be reunited on the other side. I also take comfort in knowing that the pain and suffering that J. has endured over the past 5 years is going to end. She never gave up. I will miss her and hold her in my heart forever. dolphinjen

 

 

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