Divorce vs. Cancer, by Mary Beth

January 20, 2012

I have not blogged on this site in quite some time. I just had my 5 year and 6 month check-up and I am good, a few minor problems but let me emphasize minor. The past year has been a very difficult and trying one. After 28 years of marriage I found the courage to ask for a divorce.

I have always been afraid of divorce. I am not sure if it was because I was so young when we met. If I was afraid of being alone… which is a funny concept because I have felt alone for much of my marriage. I was afraid of what others would think. I was afraid of the kid sharing. I was afraid that once I asked for a divorce he would not support us. I was worried about money, which is also a funny concept because I was worried about money with him too….probably more so. I was afraid because he was my first love. I was afraid to have to try to meet someone else to spend my life with and now even more so as a cancer survivor, with a double mastectomy. I was afraid because I love the idea of marriage and family and I desperately wanted to have a long-term marriage and a good family life for my kids.

We had talked about divorce many times and in fact were very close in 2006 and then the cancer diagnosis. We stayed together, but in hindsight I think that was the final nail in the marriage coffin… thank goodness in was not the final nail in my coffin. I learned so many lessons from my cancer, mostly what is truly important. It changed me in so many ways. I guess I thought it would change the others close to me too. I have learned that just because we learn lessons, it does not mean everyone else does. So many times after the cancer I felt like the glorified nanny and housekeeper. There were many issues that I could not talk about then, that I hope someday I can share in case other women experience the same with their marriages.

Over the past 5 years since my diagnosis, those that knew of my marital problems would say “you survived cancer, you can survive divorce”. I heard what they were saying, but I just could not find that courage. I felt cancer was different. I had a team of doctors that I trusted. They said “do this” and I knew I would do it and follow their directions to the letter. There is no trust in divorce… another funny thought because there was no trust in my marriage either. I was not blessed with being able to trust those who are supposed to love and protect you.

I was so afraid of asking for a divorce and then having my cancer come back, what would I do? I don’t know if my cancer will come back, but I know if I stayed it definitely would. I found the courage. Divorce is hard, but cancer is harder.

On the tough divorce issue days I think of the other Mothers on this site who are fighting their cancer daily, hourly and by the minute. I think of the women that we have lost and their valiant fight, they remind me everyday what is truly important and then I remind myself… “if I survived cancer… then I can survive divorce.”

Please say a prayer or lots of prayers and healing thoughts for one of our fearless and amazing leaders, Susan, she has been having some breathing and pain issues and was admitted to the ER on Tuesday.

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friend as client or client as friend

September 18, 2008

The bell rang and I just thought it was my nanny forgetting her keys again, but no. There before my eyes was a dear friend that I had not seen in months. Later that same week my girlfriend I call Roomie called and had a watershed moment. Not a moment could be found after that, about wanting to get on the first plane to the states, because I missed my room-mate so dearly.

Just when I was feeling lonely because my silly little car had a flat tire and I did not have the strength to turn a lug nut. I waited out side my door for the road service person. While the gentleman fixed my flat tire, along strolls my Irish friend with a big hug and a how are you.  I retort: Fine, what are you doing in my neck of the woods today? She said:Didn’t you remember you have physical therapy. I said yes I just don’t know who is going to show up. She and I had a good laugh, because it was her. She is officially my new physical therapist. She said there was something great about having a friend as a client or was it client as a friend. Either way it was a win win situation for both of us.

I thanked the AAA road service gentleman, and we were on our way to have a good catch up chat  during the treatment and knowing that she gets paid to visit and I have a constant time to see her weekly. It’s a perfect situation. I am so happy I could burst!


Markers (not the coloring kind)

September 18, 2008

(cross posted from  Coffee and Chemo)

I haven’t quite figured out the marker thing yet.

CA 125 seems to be “my” marker.

CA 125 is often linked to ovarian cancer, but not exclusively.

When I was diagnosed with mets, in the summer of 2007, my CA 125 was 56.7 (high).

Five and a half weeks into treatment, my marker dropped to 32.2 (normal).

Two months later, at the end of October, it was down to 23.7 (normal).

At the end of December, it was 26.1 (still normal).

Then, in February, the numbers began to fluctuate:
5.2.08 — 35.6 (high)
4.3.08 — 32.5 (normal)

Then, in April, the numbers slowly and steadily began to climb up:
29.4.08 — 47.0 (high)
10.6.08 — 68.7 (higher than when we started)
1.7.08 — 71.9
19.8.08 — 102.1
2.9.08 — 120.9

The diagnostics seem to indicate that my treatment is effective.

So why has my CA-125 count has been rising for months now?

No one knows why.

We have done all the tests:
CT — everything looks the same
MRI — we really needed to check my liver, and discovered that it looks even better than expected.
Ultrasound — a few months ago, there was something strange near my left ovary. It did not “look like cancer,” but I needed to follow up on it. I did an ultrasound this past Tuesday… there is nothing there anymore.

I met with a gyno-oncologist. (I bet you did not know there was such a thing! I sure didn’t)

My gyno-oncologist (GO) only has clinic hours on Tuesdays, so I waited for a “free week” to go spend the morning at a different hospital, Hadassah Har Zofim.

Moshe came with me.

The GO was present for the ultrasound (as was some other woman, in addition to the technician). I might have minded the “invasion,” if it weren’t for the fact that I was anxious about the growth and the fact that all three agreed that nothing was there anymore. I mean, if something was still there, one of them would have seen it, right?

Anyway, after the ultrasound, we had to go to the GO’s clinic.

Moshe had an important meeting at work, but he wanted to be at my meeting with the GO, since I don’t remember anything these days.

Even though the doctors were running a bit late (because the department who schedules these appointments seems to be unaware that there is a staff meeting every Tuesday morning….), we (read: I) thought Moshe could still make it on time to his work meeting.

I was supposed to be the first patient to see the doctor.

Moshe, being infinitely more pessimistic, expected something to come up. It did. The doctor took another patient in before us, because they had a brit that morning.

By the time we were inivited in, 45 minutes later, I was completely anxious, and knew that Moshe would be late. The doctor, sensing my anxiety (you’d have to be blind to miss it), offerred to meet with us later, at our convenience. I was so aggitated, that I was ready to come back another time. Luckily, Moshe was cool-headed and assured the doctor that it would be alright, and we should meet now.

The GO suggested that we leave the tension outside, so that he can give me all the time and attention that I needed.

It was hard to release the tension, because my rising markers made me tense to begin with, and that was why we were there!

But I was impressed, yet again, with the doctor’s gentle and concerned manner.

In the end, we also spent at least 1/2 an hour with the doctor. He spoke with us in detail, and also consulted with my oncologist.

The bottom line, there is nothing to do at this time.

Neither the GO nor my oncologist recommends checking out my ovaries laproscopically. There is no indication that the GO would find anything. And, given my weight and medical history, including 6 abdominal surgeries, resulting in a lot of scar tissue and adhesions, the surgery would not be simple. Not to mention that I’ve had 3 serious post-op infections in the past….

So, what do we do about the rising markers?

Nothing.

Just “wait and see”…..


Stick to your goals!

September 10, 2008

Do not alter your ambitions to match the ambitions of others. Stick to your goals! Well that was my Horror-scope today, and as I screen through what other mom bloggers are writing about, I ponder if my blog is interesting enough or down right stale.

I hear the school children play baseball in the park below my house and I stop for more than a few moments and enjoy the sounds of cheering children, cheering for their classmates and fellow team members. Then I am really drawn in as if it is the world series, I found myself cheering.

Then it struck me…

This is my goal. Not only do I want to blog about breast cancer, but I also want to cheer for the other players- IE. researcher, docs and specialists and I want to be drawn in enough to find myself cheering for each and every individual on the field of cancer… people like  the children below in the park.

So I am taking the plunge and agreed to read the contract for Trusera. I hope to start cheering /blogging as soon as possible. For those who have be following this process, thanks for your input. I will look out for all the pitfalls that are suggested.


flying high on the good news

September 8, 2008

http://cancervisa.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/blood-levels-are-up-and-my-tumor-markers-are-down/

More good news, tumor marker only 52 point off of what is considered normal.  25 is normal, I have 77. I just wanted to share and spread the love and joy I am feeling. I can’t wait to let my family know that their diligent prayers are working!


inspired by Philly gig

September 4, 2008

I was happily inspired to see some of the gals getting lime light on what my ex use to call the Rubber Chicken circuit. Meals paid, cushy hotel room  in Philly  (love Philly folk) use of the facilities, IE sauna/ spa rooms.

I don’t know if any one else has been approached to blog for a health organization before. If so, what does it entail? I just was watching a report about housing problems in the USA and gas crunch. It was a how to survive story. Being a natural cancer survivalist I listened to the half lame advise of Augmenting my income.

Augmentation has an entirely different meaning in breast cancer. Augmented breast are way different than augmented income. So I ponder how I as  cancer patient can get a little fun money without losing my face to ad sense or the like. I am not even promoting my own star on Stand up to cancer. I don’t want to spin my wheels. But the attraction of blogging, which I love to do anyway and get paid for my input seems right up my alley. However, I know I am walking into this situation a bit blind, not knowing what to expect exactly.

Feel reminiscent of my first breast doc appointment. Unsure of what was really going on at first. Any clue?  Let me know via a comment or a private e-mail what I should be looking out for.  ie copyright, picture on promotional items, I don’t need my sweetie to be the poster child for breast cancer. That is where I draw the line, but maybe you could help me draw some other lines that you have faced that I will be shortly confronted with. ( please don’t cringe that I ended the sentence with a preposition) I might have bigger fish to fry than I am aware of.


count down to 2 years of chemo

September 1, 2008
sunrise balloon

sunrise balloon

September 14Th is my second anniversary of Life Long Chemotherapy. It is also my one year Anniversary of my blog. I have been thinking about gifts for the “girls” at the outpatient treatment wing.  The nurses have become quite attached to me and I am grateful for their interest in the development of my little one. Last year I gave them all a tea cup and saucer with a card in it reading… thanks for the care. I feel I need to buy something that lives. small plant or flowering bush for all 14 staff.

Time for me to hunt down a thank you for everything gift. Any suggestions? I’ve got 7 days or 13 if I show up on the exact day, which is not my chemo day.

Indoor cherry tomato plants, cactus, miniture rose bush? time for some shopping