Archive for the ‘breast cancer survivors’ Category
Since I last wrote, I’ve made another trip to the emergency room and I’ve received a blood transfusion because my iron levels were too low. Given the heart attack I experienced in April, my oncologist is being extra careful about my heart, and so am I. She decided to order the transfusion after I began experiencing chest palpatations/pains.
I’ve spent a lot of effort writing about the negative aspects of breast cancer, of discovering that an alien endavador had taken up residence in my left breast.
I’m happy to announce that as far as my doctors and I are concerned I am now “cancer free” — an official “survivor.” God blessed me to find the lump early and when my physicians went in during surgery, the cancer had not moved beyond its original point of discovery. It had not moved to my lymph nodes (Great!) and it appears I made the right decision to remove both breasts since undeveloped cancer cell were discovered during the pathology exam of my right breast.
I cannot express often enough the necessity of early detection for both breast and prostate cancer … access is the key word here my people!!
I’ve asked God for 30 more years … I’ll take more if it’s given. But I understand in a way I never did before that I am living a finite life, and while no one wants to sit around thinking about their ultimate demise, I understand much more intimately that we are each provided with a set number of years, determined while we were still in our mother’s wombs.
What I will do with those years is yet to be determined, but with God’s help and grace, it will all work out just fine.
Prayers were answered yesterday morning when members of my physician/nurse practitioner team decided to re-adjust the amount of one of my chemo drugs. They felt the level of pain I described occurring after the first infusion, especially as it originated in my back, indicated that my kidneys were under distress. They also increased the intensity of the pain meds so I will not have to take as many pills to experience the same level of comfort, thus decreasing the added stress on my kidneys with the over-digestion of acetaminophen (Tylenol) …
I grew up believing that my doctor’s opinion were always correct, and that it was disrespectful to comment or question his advice. As an adult I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that I must serve as the most important member of my personal healthcare team. I’ve learned that it’s okay to disagree with my doctor’s advice, and to seek another opinion, or physician, if I deem it necessary for my own continued good health. Now I come to appointments questions written down, poised to write down the answers I receive, understanding my right to know what’s happening within my own body.
Extensive reading, research and interviews have helped me unveil some of the mystery behind healing. While my own life experiences have taught me that members of the healthcare profession are humans just like the rest of us. Which means they have families, their own illnesses, financial uncertainties, experiences and crises as do we. As patients we have the right to communicate our true worries, triumphs and concerns – to sometimes make ourselves loud and obnoxious so that we are heard and our needs met …
Much of diagnostic medicine is based upon hypotheses, educated guesses about what should or should not happen to you, based on what did or did not happen to the last patient. So it’s critical that patients communicate honestly with their medical teams. In turn, a knowledgeable patient is a wise patient, and wise patients follow their knowledgeable physicians’ directions …
I am someone who looks for God in ordinary, every day experiences and crises, believing as I do that the sum total of our every day experiences and crises constitute the totality and legacy of our individual and communal lives. Each day is built upon the strength of the last; likewise, each week, month, year, and decade acts as a foundation for the next and the whole becomes the legacy we leave behind.
Bishop T.D. Jakes regularly counsels his parishioners at The Potter’s House in Dallas that “God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.”
I feel good right now … I’ll keep you posted.