On a Tuesday at the end of May I was diagnosed with endometrial (uterine) cancer. By Thursday I was sitting in a chair opposite “my” gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Pearl. Ten days later, on June 3rd, he performed surgery, and two days after that I came home to be looked after by my sister Sarah and my wonderful friends and family.
I have Stage III C endometrial cancer, which means that some cancer cells jumped ship and climbed on board a lymph node. I’ll need chemotherapy to chase down and obliterate any other cells that might have escaped. It’s in the works, and I’ll start treatment in about two weeks. This news was really hard to take, but now that I know The Plan, I’m almost anxious to get going. Dr. Pearl and his team — my team — are one of the unexpected blessings of this experience. I’m in very, very good hands.
I’m coping by thinking and looking ahead, but also by being here right now. Here I am, on the brink. What choice do I have but to put one foot in front of the other, carefully, but moving forward nevertheless? I see no way to navigate this except slowly and steadily. I feel strong, not vulnerable. Today, I don’t want to crawl under the covers; last week was a different story. Perhaps that desire will come again, but not now. I’m surrounded by blessings. People love me so. That’s how I will get through these next few months, and that might be what this experience is all about.
My job is waiting for me, but I miss it terribly. How many years have I been complaining about summer at the bookstore, about the crowds and the craziness? It was a bit of a shock to feel so sad about not being there. In a few weeks I’ll be able to return for an hour or two at a time, and then I’ll work my way towards a more regular schedule. Slowly, though. I have a lot on my plate.
Meanwhile, I have good knitting in my lap. The Tuscany shawl is deeply satisfying. It is filled with a kind of power that I’m either giving to it or getting from it — I’m not sure which yet. Perhaps it’s both? I’m knitting that green scarf for Spirit Trail Fiberworks — still, and happily — and there are socks on needles, too, to be picked up from time to time as my ability to concentrate waxes and wanes.
Sweet Annabelle is watching over me, and now that I’m stronger and my sister has gone home to Chicago, I have a steady stream of visitors and callers, all stepping in to help in any way they can. I’m moving slowly, resting often, indulging my whims, and paying close attention to what my healing body has to say.
This month has been filled with tears and worries, but also with lots of laughter. Funny things have been funnier than usual. I like that. It hurts to laugh, but it’s worth it! The thing remains: I have cancer. It’s not a cold. It took surgery, and now chemotherapy, and it will take hard work and patience and love to overcome it. Today, I’m ready. Or willing. Ready is a strange word for what I am. I’m open.
It’s important to me to be honest and open here, but I haven’t shared everything, not by a long shot. I welcome your healing thoughts and prayers, lots of light, more juju to add to what Clara is already bottling, and one more thing — hope. Be hopeful!