Monday, October 10, 2011

Way of the Warrior

'Generally speaking, the Way of the Warrior is the resolute acceptance of death'
-Miyamoto Musashi

On Thursday of last week I kept my appointment with 'Dr Amazing,' in spite of the fact that I had only commenced my first cycle of oral chemotherapy the day before. I find it interesting that when I make my appointments at the front desk, I invariably get a phone call prior to the date to say the time has been changed to 12.30pm which is the final morning appointment, thereby allowing more time for him to spend with us. I know how beneficial the time is for me and I would like to think it goes both ways. May God Bless you Dr Amazing! Up to that point, in my mind, I had continued to come up with any number of 'valid' reasons for delaying the chemotherapy process. Eventually, out of respect for the good doctor, and, as a 'duty' to myself, I gave in and took the first of my tablets.

Doctor made no comment regarding the delay. He simply explained that it did not matter what I did, this 'monster,' as I have come to refer to it, is not me. It is a mutation, distorted cells that have now chosen my body as a host. He again advised that, with my type of cancer, the success, or otherwise, was always an unknown. The consultation raised many emotions, firstly for Haydn and me, and then for the doctor. We let him know that we have discussed the situation at home and felt that retaining some 'quality of life' was more important than 'fighting,' doing battle to add maybe weeks or months to the natural outcome. As he observed the chest wall, he talked about his role in healing, doing what he is trained to do because that is his chosen field of work work. To prolong life is his aim. Here we are discussing the direction we have chosen and he shed a tear as he said he also needs to be able to come to the same place of acceptance in which we appear to be. It was rather nice to have him gather a tissue from the box and 'shed a tear' with us. I expressed my gratitude and thanked him for what I see as a real blessing. If I must go through this it is comforting to know we are on the same team.

He then asked about blurred/double vision, shortness of breath etc, explaining that he would like to do CT Scans to rule out spread to brain, lungs and liver. Given that I have had mild headaches and shortness of breath since my last scans, it makes sense to check particularly as my last doctor's visit with my General Practitioner led me to believe this would not 'kill' me. Where to from here then?

Although my local doctors tell me this is not common, I had an ACAT Assessment last week to see if I am eligible for Government funded assistance to 'free' Haydn up at home. The assessor was Chinese, very practical, with nursing experience in hospice and palliative care. She was not surprised by the description of my chest wall, saying it was quite common, even in young breast cancer patients. I liked her idea of trying yoghurt, which is apparently very cool and soothing. Definitely worth a try on a smaller area!

All in all, there are no real surprises. Tomorrow when I see my general medical practitioner, I will discuss with him the necessity of prescribing suitable pain medications knowing I would like to ensure I am as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.


Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

I am glad that Dr Amazing is able to show his human side. He has been taught to prolong life as much as possible but at what cost and who pays this cost?

These pills..are they causing side effect?

Did the assessor agree that you need home help? I hope she did. She does sound like she has a lot of useful experience but it isn't clear whether you will get to have her.

I am so sad that you have to go through, so unfair.

Sean said...

It is very comforting to know you have such an incredible doctor dear Cheryl. Continuing to pray for your health, happiness and peace.

Diane Rodgers said...

My dearest friend, Cheryl,

It is good to know you, Hayden and your oncologist are in agreement with your quality of life and keeping you out of pain as much as possible. We are all shedding loads of tears as we walk beside you with this monster growing in your body.

If love and prayer is the way to healing for you it is on its way....You are so loved and such a beautiful have such profound wisdom, such warmth given from your heart as a friend, love for all who cross your path....You have touched so many lives.... made a huge difference in the way we react to situations given to us in this life. You are one incredible lady, Cheryl.

I am having a hard time trying to find the words to express to you everything that is going through my mind and heart...

I pray you are given the time you need to do what it is you have left to do ... God is still in control sweet friend...cling to Him tightly and He will give you rest and peace.

With love always and forever,

Diana Doyle said...

Have been thinking about you a lot lately Chez....I'm glad your Dr is compassionate and passionate about your care. It sounds like you are in the best of hands.

I have my fingers crossed for you that the chemo will make a difference....

Sending love and a big healing hug to you in this message.

Diana x

Carole said...

Dear dear Cheryl...if you must go through this it is *essential* you are all on the same team - it appears that this is the case with Dr Amazing...

I wish I could do something for you Chez

Hugs and always in my thoughts xxXxx

Deb said...

Your great strength is so admirable my friend! What a true inspiration you are to all of us who follow your journey.
I'm with you all the way in thought and in prayer.

Cheryl said...

Sue, you are so right about Dr Amazing and his 'desire' to prolong life. Thankfully, he is a realist so it is not at 'any cost.' He is very approachable!
The assessor was just that! It is a Government funded organisation. Normally they provide services to those over 70 enabling people who wish to remain at home to do so. The services are provided by local organisations. As we already have domestic assistance they would look to provide some personal care to ease the burden on Haydn who, by the way, is a champion at it these days. I sleep a lot during the day. Some days I do very little and we do not have neighbours, or friends, we can rely on.
Sue, I believe the experience of the assessor would work in my favour. The application is in. Now it is a wait and see if it is approved :) I am optimistic!
Always appreciate your comments.

Rama Ananth said...

Sending you lots of love and healing energy, everyday I am praying for you. Know that, what ever happens, it is happening for your highest best. I am glad you are resting a lot. Have faith in God and your friends are all wishing the very best for you.
Love, Rama.

sm said...

your doc is really good.
good luck and your story is inspiring to everyone.

sm said...

your doc is really good.
good luck and your story is inspiring to everyone.

Cheryl said...

sm my love and gratitude. So glad you find my story inspiring as that is what it is all about for me.

gillian said...

Thinking of you, Cheryl.

Julie Goodale said...

I am so happy that you found your Dr. Amazing. I believe that when we need it most, the universe conspires to give us what we need. It might not be the thing we thought we needed or wanted, but it turns out to be the right thing for the time.

Cheryl said...

Gillian it is nice to know I am being thought of. Love and gratitude.

Cheryl said...

Julie, we are definitely on the same page with those thoughts. The very reason it is important to live in the 'present' and have 'faith.'
Always in my thoughts

Anonymous said...

Hi, just getting updated on your life, and wishing you the very best of care. I know you are choosing to have the best life possible with the circumstances you have. I will keep praying for you and loving you, and sending you my positive thoughts.
xoxox starry

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, I do believe that you are the bravest person with whom I have come in contact. YOu confront the unfairness of life with such grace. I have never been sick, but I did lose my son, my only child, in 2006. He was an Alaskan bush pilot. my memories of him are just now turning to the fun and good things he was. I hope you are able to do the same. That turning point was a godsend for me. I hope you have reached that area, so that your present ordeal is less complicated for you. My name is Susan.

Cheryl said...

Susan, my love and thanks for your kind words. I have become aware that life is not necessarily fair and that cancer does not descriminate. Actually comforting for me to have come to that place for some reason.
My sincere sympathy to you on the loss of your child, your only son. I believe to lose an only child is a huge cross to bear and it is lovely to hear you are now able to remember some of the 'fun' times. My youngest son Jeremy was tragically killed in November 2006 in a motor vehicle accident.
My thoughts, and thanks, are with you Susan xo