Sorry to leave my community hanging for so long following my last post in May. It turns out the uncertainty I was feeling back then was well-founded as the summer turned out to be more challenging than I could have imagined. So much so that I did very little for nearly three months of recovery following a much more extensive surgery than I’ve ever had before. My scan in May showed that the seven tumors in my abdomen had grown significantly and melded into four large masses. That prompted me to visit my gynecological oncologist and schedule surgery to remove them in mid-July.
Four previous surgeries have been mostly laparoscopic and outpatient (with only one exception), and this one was expected to be no different. I began experiencing more discomfort in the three months prior to surgery, and had had some problems last fall that in retrospect maybe foreshadowed what was to come. I was, however, completely unprepared for the news that the tumors had invaded some of my organs for the first time. I woke up in the recovery room expecting to be sent home, only to be told that I would be spending much of the week in the hospital instead.
Part of my colon and my appendix were removed, and the recovery process has been much more complicated as a result of the former. Colons don’t really appreciate being messed with, as it turns out, and mine is still not functioning quite normally after that trauma. It may not fully recover, and yet it could have been worse. I was grateful even in the moment, and still am that the tumors were operable. Though they had invaded two organs, they could be removed and there was no spread to other parts of my body.
With an eight-inch vertical incision in my abdomen, future surgeries are likely to be more complicated and there seems little doubt that I will keep needing surgery as recurrences take place pretty regularly every 3-4 years. I have tried many, many things to try to keep cancer at bay from chemo, to radical dietary changes to alternative therapies, supplements and various healing modalities. I don’t regret any of those choices and continue to practice as much mindfulness as I can as I believe it matters in a variety of ways.
There have been times I have been frustrated and even down on myself for not being able to do the self-healing that I believe is possible, and I am learning patience and even acceptance through each new experience. I will be with whatever happens and continue to find gratitude for the amazing community that surrounds me even through the most difficult experiences. Even if I am never done with cancer, I will find a way to live with it knowing that I may have cancer, but it doesn’t have me.
On the upside, I did so much reading, and spent a month at my parents’ summer place in Montana, and reconnected with so many friends, and got love and support from all directions. The universe provided for my needs in so many spectacular ways and through so many generous people including time in a gorgeous home and a mountain condo for my parents and I, a sunny reading spot in a relaxing back yard and even a week-long stay on a converted tug boat in the Columbia River. How does it get better than that?
I am thrilled now to be back at work and just completed a short speaking tour in addition to the writing and consulting that I am doing. If I can be of service to you as a coach, speaker, writer, consultant or in another capacity, I would be honored. How can I help?