And so it begins…

First let me say I’m not writing this for sympathy or for attention; I’m writing this blog so that perhaps I can help someone else on the same journey, and so I can process my own emotions. And Second, this was not easy for me to write. I have been going back and forth about whether I should even publish this; there is no waffling about writing it, just about publishing it.

A few days ago, actually on Thursday, October 17th, at 4:10pm, I learned that I have lung cancer with metastasis to the liver.The following day, we had our first meeting with the oncologist. I learned that because the cancer has metastasized, it’s probably Stage 4, and there is no cure, but with chemo, we can hopefully shrink the tumors and extend my quality of life. I had blood work done and will still need to have a biopsy, a full body PET scan, and an MRI of the brain. Only then can we start chemo.

Looking back, I can see all the little signs I either missed or ignored. And I should never have started smoking and I should have quit sooner. But I can’t waste my energy on woulda-coulda-shoulda.

My doctor was wonderful – holding my hand as she gave me the news. The first thing into my head was how am I going to tell Steve? I knew on a gut level that I had cancer. What I didn’t expect was the metastasis. I made it home in one piece and then fell apart. It seems so unfair that I was looking forward to retirement and now the future is so uncertain.

Friday was a blur. I went to work like always and had to leave for a few hours for our meeting with the oncologist. He is a leading researcher in lung cancer and spent almost an hour with us after being an hour late because he spends as much time with each patient as that patient needs, and I like that. I went back to work but I’m not sure how much I got done because I felt so removed from everything.

There are so many questions, but they can’t be answered until all the tests are complete, and I’m impatient to start the fight. I think I’m still in a state of shock on one level while on another level I’m ready to fight. I know the odds aren’t in my favor – the survival rate for lung cancer is very low – but that is no reason to give in.

I have periods during the day when I’m fine but then the reality will hit again and I just want to scream and cry and hit something. I’m angry that my body has betrayed me; I’m angry at myself for not taking better care of myself; I’m angry that I may not have a chance to enjoy the retirement I dreamed of; I’m angry that my partner may have to go on without me. But I’m also trying to view this as a new learning experience.

I spent Saturday feeling sorry for myself, crying, or napping. I allowed myself one day for self-pity.

So I will continue blogging as long as I’m able, and I will continue my Gratitude Journal daily. That will force me to keep a positive attitude. 🙂

So peace, joy, and love to all. Hug those you love today.

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20 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. Oh Ruth, words seem trite. My heart is full of love and care. This is going to be a long road for you, and as you say, you want to get started NOW. I pray that all of these tests and biopsies start to fall into place quickly and you are able to get on that chemo track asap.

    My mind is flashing back to another friend, long ago in a distant past, who also had lung cancer, stage 4, with metastasis, but I don’t remember how widespread it was. She wasn’t expected to survive long, and had in fact been given the “last rites” by a priest friend of hers in the ICU. The next morning, she sat up in bed, asking for breakfast, and everyone in the hospital was stunned. She went on to live for many many more years after that. So, sweet Ruth, it ain’t over yet! We never know what’s around the corner. Researchers are coming out with new advances and I’m absolutely convinced that a cure is closer than we think.

    I have long held you in heart and prayers, and will continue to do so throughout this terrible journey you’re being forced to take. Allow yourself to feel/express whatever it is you need…anger, hope, fear, faith, tears…with friends who love you, you don’t need to disguise anything. Be you. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. Iva Pokorny says:

    Ruth .. I´m here .. as best I can be. I am still thinking that there can be a breakthru in research. There is an awful lot happening .. as I am sure you know. So .. we will make time your best friend .. if you think it´s ok? And when you can finally start fighting this .. we will be there with you. No matter what I say .. it just doesns´t make it. I always look for your posts .. they are so clear and concise and kind. You are my friend of many years now. And you are a part of my life. I love you. HUGS!!!!!!! ❤

  3. So now Ruth, I know what’s what. Somehow, our friendship has evolved in the virtual world and via other commonalities – You are brave to blog and you are fighting the fight. I have and am standing by my daughter and husband in this fight as well. You are now in that very special prayer circle which extends to many other circles – that is what I offer up to you. It is very specific circles of prayer and that’s all we do is prayers for healing – placing the name of the person in the circle. The power of prayer is great – along with traditional medicine, has shown to enhance results. Love, peace and harmony dear one, May Creator touch your mind, body and Spirit – blessings on your head, A’ho! let the healing begin!

  4. angelika says:

    Oh dear, Ruth. What a terrible shock. I do believe blogging, and sharing your thoughts can be healing,…and I hope your friends here, can be a part of that process.

    Let me tell you something. I have had so many friends and family members who have had cancer;… Many of us couldn’t imagine that there was any hope. And all of them; yes every single one of them has survived.

    So I was relieved and very happy to read that you want to fight this. Fight you will, – and you will win! I also want to thank you for reminding us how important it is to live healthy and wisely. I have been trying to cut down on my meat intake, and don’t miss it at all. I really need to do more vigorous sport. I did buy a book on muscle training for seniors. I guess that’s a slight start. Whatever, – you’re right. We can’t take our bodies lightly, and we have to treat them well.

    Now you treat yours well, and your psycho too. It is a proven fact that your positive thinking can and will help heal. I’m clenching my fists, and wishing that horrible sickness away. Sending you a hug, and know you are in my prayers.

  5. Oh Ruth, what heart-wrenching news that must have been for you to receive. A true shock to the heart, soul and your faith. I’m with Angelika, your friends are here and we want to help you heal. Or short of that, we want to support you through your journey. I too have had many friends with cancer who have survived. My mother, as you may recall, was diagnosed with lung cancer just over a year ago. She is still with us, has been declared cancer-free, and is working valiantly to regain her strength and mobility. She’s been on oxygen — as she is now missing half of her right lung — but she is determined to get off of it.

    Keep your faith and fight the good fight. We are here for you! Blessings!

  6. Thank you for posting about your cancer diagnosis. I was saddened to hear your news. You’re right — writing about it will be helpful to others who have to go through this. One of my writing friends is also dealing with lung cancer. Her blog has helpful insights into the latest treatments, as well as her personal thoughts as she battles this terrible disease. Here’s the link to Janet Freeman-Daily’s website/blog: http://grayconnections.wordpress.com/ I hope you find it helpful.

  7. Dee says:

    Ruth…as long as you have hope there is hope. God has you in the palm of his hand and he will carry you through this one way or another. I wish I could be there and hold you and be by your side…I believe you are going to be okay and will continue to pray for a cure and for you to be like so many others…a survivor of cancer. Sending you love and prayers and hop.

  8. Thank you, Angelika. It’s encouraging to hear there are so many survivors now. And yes, we have to take care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit, for it we focus on one or two we become unbalanced.

  9. Oh Ruth, my friend – I’ve been so MIA in the blogging world in the last month. I am sorry to hear of the struggle you must go through. You strike me as a such a strong person in print that I would imagine even in your weakest moments, you’re stronger than most of us. It’s hard to know what to say, except that your spirit will carry you and I am one of many well-wishers out here in the virtual world.

  10. Thank you, Michelle. There are times I don’t feel so strong, and those are the times I depend on y’all who are my support system to lift me up and keep me going. ❤

  11. Ruth – I am just now reading this post, months later, and cannot pretend to know how you feel, but through your writing i have a better understanding. None of us ever know what life brings but I am sure we never are ready for it. Keep writing my friend. You are an inspiration.

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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