The entrance to the hospital has an automatic revolving door. It has two sides and allows people in and out through two rather large openings. If someone would happen to not move fast enough, or touch the door while it is moving the door stops. People come in, people come out. Much like life; our lives move- allowing us to come in to new ventures and out with old ones. When we stumble, life can pause for a moment, allow us to pick up the pieces and then back in to the revolution we go. No matter if we are entering a new phase in our life, or leaving behind another, we must use the door. The revolving door for a terminal cancer patient, however, is unchanged. I can’t pause, I can’t get out, and I just keep circling; watching through the glass partition at everyone's lives on the other side that goes in and out.
I had a nice summer break, really no illnesses, crossed some things from my
Mommy Bucket List, and even took a break from blogging and FB to enjoy my
family more. Around the time that I was going between doctor’s opinions on
whether or not to have a mastectomy, pain started in my hip and back again.
What most people cannot comprehend is that for every ache, pain or slight
change to my overall health, a thousand of my caretakers freak out, including myself. Is
my pain cancer? Has the cancer spread? Will I go back on chemo? What if that
chemo doesn’t work? Is this the end? Should I finish the plans for my funeral
now? And with one achy hip you have yourself buried 6 feet under. It is impossible
to not think worst case scenario when you already have cancer. You are on
borrowed time. The average life span of a person with Stage IV breast cancer is
18-36 months. You always assume the worst. I am going on 20 months since I was
diagnosed. I immediately thought my cancer had spread further in my hip and I
knew what steps were next. First, you report it. Then they set you up with a
bunch of scans. You get the scans. You go in to an emotional turmoil for the
days following your scans. You think 24/7 about what those scans show. You check
you’re online medical records for updates just about every minute. This is not like a cold that will go away. This isn’t
a cold, this is cancer. Cancer that has already spread, and will spread further
until it kills you- it’s only a matter of when. So every time you think its
spread, you just can’t help but wonder- is this it?
I started the whole process, at one of my infusions, I reported my pain. Then I
was ordered for 4 MRI’s of the area, after 2 immediate XRays. Then I waited.
And went crazy. And waited. And planned my funeral. And waited some more.
Finally the report came back and I met with my oncologist. Thankfully, the pain
was not a spread of cancer, but cancer related nonetheless. The tumors in my pelvis are
causing some serious tendinitis, straining my muscles. I have a compression
fracture in my spine from the lesions in my vertebrae. It makes it quite
hard to get around so I am going to be in to physical therapy 2-3 times a
week for a couple months. We also found that my bone marrow seems pretty
damaged (from chemo), and is probably what has been causing my abnormally low
platelet levels. If my levels keep dropping then I will follow up with a Hematology
Oncologist. So it wasn’t new metastases- will I do a happy dance? Absolutely
not. Because I know, it’s cancer related. The cancer will spread further at some point, maybe it didn't today but one day, it will. I can’t move forward in life and I can’t just stop going for infusions. I am
stuck. Everyone else around me moves on. Friends have babies, start new jobs, and
go back to school, open a business- and I can’t do any of those. Cancer
restricts me from that.
Then I noticed it. The revolving cancer door: Infusions. Scans. Repeat. Pain.
Scan. Repeat. Infusions. Scans. Repeat. Pain. Scan. Repeat. Going round and
round with no way to stop, no way to start something new, no way to leave. And
I keep in this cycle until it stops. But when it stops for me, it won’t be so I
can get out and move on, it will be because I can’t keep going anymore. It can
be lonely and isolating. I watch the world pass by and pray that I, too, again
someday can be worried by the mundane things of life without a care in the
world. People forget. They forget I am in here all alone. They forget that I
keep circling, so they hop out and move one.
Such is life . . . everybody’s life. Except mine.
Now don’t get me wrong, in the stupid revolving door, many things won’t happen.
My love won’t be incapacitated. My faith won’t be shattered. My hope won’t be
forsaken. My strength will not be eradicated. And my soul will always be
I will live life for now, around my cancer. I will do me- I will love on my
babies, my husband and my family. I will feverishly work to fund breast cancer research aimed to find a cure. I will go on in my revolving cancer door until I no
longer can. And I will do so with the same courage I walked in here with.