The Invader – update #4

Sorry it has been so long! I have been traveling around with family and Studmuffin, and I won’t be back for another week as I’ll be back at the Augusta Heritage Festival for Blues & Swing week again this year. Not doing keys this time – voice and guitar….maybe even learn to play the bones…..

The Invader gazes upon his realm….soon to be taken from him, but he doesn’t know it yet.

So I began chemotherapy on July 2nd, when I also received my diagnosis and prognosis. I get an IV infusion every 3 weeks and the rest of the time pills – lots of them. And thank goodness! The drugs? They are really expensive! Yay! This course of chemotherapy is supposed to last 3 months, but more on that later.

The first 4 days after the IV infusion I’ve now learned that I am so groggy I am pretty much comatose/useless, which made me WAY fun at Studmuffin’s family reunion I can tell you. Studmuffin was fantastic about the whole thing I have to say. And for my own family members, yes, there’s now another thing that will stop me from talking – believe it or not! So now we have: 1) general anesthesia, 2) sleep or coma and 3) a 4 day long course of a particular anti-nausea medication. Seemingly nothing else will.

I rather think Studmuffin enjoyed the respite from the usually never-ending flow of words exiting my lips on our 13-hours-over-2-days drive to West Virginia from Aba-lama-ding-dong.

The rest of the time I am more fatigued than usual, and have been greatly disturbed in my own digestion, over and above the aftermath of the surgical colon resection I had in May. Let me just say that I now understand all those commercials I saw on tv as a kid where older folks were discussing “regularity”. What the heck was that – regularity? Why was it such a topic of interest? When I finally figured out what they were talking about, maybe age 10, I thought they were NUTS because you know, I’d never had that trouble before and how could *that* really even be a thing? Got it now, thanks. Experience is a real fine teacher!

So now here’s the diagnosis as a result of the recent PET scan – I have Stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver. Remember my adorable liver? My sweet, untroubled by alcohol for decades liver? Turns out I have cancer throughout the liver – can’t just hack off a lobe of it either as the lesions are all the way through and all over the liver.

So what does that mean? This is kind of cancer is considered incurable…though the docs don’t like to say it. There are things that can and will be done to prolong my life depending on lots of different variables. Generally the estimate of life length is 2 years. I believe I have 4 years….but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

There may be more surgery, more chemo – a lot depends on how I respond to treatment. What I hate about this whole thing is that I am yet again, 10 years after open heart surgery, a person who talks about their health all the time. Don’t get me wrong – I am glad to talk about it with all of my friends and family, answer questions- please don’t take this to mean that I don’t want all y’all to mention it freely or whatever, but my goodness – I learned years ago that talking about my health is very boring eventually. I may start carrying around a pre-printed FAQ page with me so people can read it and I won’t have to repeat it again.

I’m doing well I think. I absolutely know it’s because of the prayers. I am constantly lifted up in prayer by many folks I don’t even know and many who I’ve never met in person. I’m weepy with gratitutde at some point every day. Thank you!

Now let’s talk about something else for a bit, shall we? Thanks.

7 comments

  1. Have FUN at the Heritage Blues and Swing Festival! Give them your best and enjoy it.
    Cancer isn’t going to knock you down for long. You’re a fighter! With Baha’u’llah on your side! And Studmuffin to love you in this realm! How lucky are you?!! And like you said, all those prayers from SO MANY people! (me included!)
    If you’re ever in the Knoxville area let me know and I’ll try to make it work to see you! My schedule is usually 3-11, but I never know for sure what days I’ll be off, or what days I’ll be working a different shift. Keep singing!
    Love you,
    Cindy Thompson

  2. Stay strong Helen and keep that great sense of humor. Prayers for you and your family as you face the days ahead. God bless and comfort you daily. We send our love.

  3. Dear dear Helen. I am stunned. I am holding the doll I use to send you Reiki every day and we are staring at eachother. Surely the medical people have made a terrible mistake. They can’t be right. Meanwhile, we will up our output and send you more healing energy every day. Prayers might rattle your windows, but they are all good. Love you and your family.

  4. Dear dear Helen. I am stunned. I am holding the doll I use to send you Reiki every day and we are staring at eachother. Surely the medical people have made a terrible mistake. They can’t be right. Meanwhile, we will up our output and send you more healing energy every day. Prayers might rattle your windows, but they are all good. Love you and your family.

  5. I didn’t realize it was that long of a drive to West Virginia. Then again, I really hadn’t thought about it, but if someone had asked, and if I were to make a guess without thinking, I would have guessed less. Of course, if I had stopped to think about it, I would remember how long our treks to North Carolina take, and I would have a better guess.

    Well, it looks like all the testing has given some answers and a better-defined plan for now. I do like that they will update treatment as response warrants. That is so good.

    Ah, regularity! I remember the commercials. Even after I “understood” (at least as well as a kid might) the health issue those products were addressing, I was still a bit confused with the commercials for Correctol.

    Oh, how we understand feeling bored talking about our own health issues. As for me, I’m quite interested in so much about what goes on with the health of others, but I bore myself in short order when it comes to discussing what we have going on here. That being said, there are certainly times when health stuff is what’s happening, and it kind of makes it the topic of discussion. Maybe I should take up knitting so I have something interesting to discuss, eh?

    Looking forward to seeing you when you get back. xoxo

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