The Ghost of Christmas Present
Note: This post contains my final diagnosis. See Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer – My Story & More and Radiation Therapy for Uterine Cancer – My Story & More for details of my post-surgery progress and follow-up care.
December 19’s post focused a little hard on the “tragedy mask” side of the life coin. The Ghost of Christmas Present is coming to flip that coin to the “comedy mask” side for a while, exhorting me—all of u—to put our efforts into rejoicing in the abundance and blessings that are ours to revel in while we can.
Through A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ wonderful 1843 story of enlightenment and redemption, we feel joy as keenly as we feel pain, and this is the true meaning of the season we now find ourselves in the midst of.
If you recall, at the end of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s visitation to Ebenezer Scrooge, the specter revealed a cold, stark aspect of reality that never leaves us: the two orphans hidden within his robe. “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
So before I talk about the good things accompanying the Ghost of Christmas Present, I feel the need to pause and remember all those who suffer—not only humans, but all creatures—at the hands of the the lost and the power-hungry. And I need to think really hard about what I can do to alleviate some of the pain and need in the cruel corners of the world where I travel, as well as in my own backyard. In the past few days, I have been “haunted” not just by Christmas ghosts, but by some of the stories and appeals on TV that threaten to break the heart not only of Scrooge, but of Nature and Beyond-Nature. How I admire those who are out there in the dark places doing the unbearable because it needs to be done. I’d give every unwanted, discarded child and animal a home if I could. I would quash every battle and cease every war. I would dry every tear and heal every heart. But I can’t.
So it should be my most important mission to find out what I can do in the coming year. To echo the almost-redeemed Scrooge, surely if the deeds be departed from, the ends will change. And change for the good is the hope of tomorrow. Each of us has within our power the magic of lovingkindness, the medicine that can cure the whole world–one person and one creature at a time, going where angels may fear to tread, but where we must go as brave human souls.
And now, a few of my personal reasons to be happy this Christmas, some in the process of materializing even as I write this early on Christmas Eve Day.
As I sit here writing with my husband beside me and my son across the room with his beloved Adrian (canine) beside him, our beloved Mister C (feline) hiding from the canine, each of us humans engrossed in what we are writing or reading, I feel the wonder of connectedness. It is having people we love and who love us in our lives that make the living of those lives worthwhile. Soon, Farok’s three other sons will be coming to join us, not only for a Christmas get-together, but to celebrate Farok’s birthday today. If things go as planned, I will be sitting down and either directing traffic or keeping my mouth shut as these five guys try to figure out how to make a Christmas turkey dinner. No matter how that turns out, I will enjoy being in the midst of this activity and this opportunity for them to give a little something special to me as I continue to heal from my surgery.
First Post-Operative Visit—And a Final Diagnosis
Yesterday, I saw my gynecologic oncologist for the first time since my laparoscopic robotic total hysterectomy on Friday the 13th, described in the December 14 post and updated in the December 17 post. Although I had received basic information by telephone last week, I wondered and worried about the details, the full medical story. When I left the doctor’s office yesterday, I felt so much lighter—not because the essential information had changed, but because I understood completely what was going on and because the doctor took some time to sit and talk with Farok and me and answer all our questions.
Briefly, I had a Type 1, Stage 1B, Grade 3 Endometrial Adenocarcinoma, a malignant mass in my uterus that arose in the cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. It was large and almost completely filled the uterine cavity. Also, because it had invaded 70% into the myometrium (the middle layer of the uterine wall), and because it was a solid tumor mass, it was considered aggressive.
Therefore, the doctor said that the newest protocol for preventing recurrence is high-dose vaginal radiation, or brachytherapy, which consists of inserting a tampon-sized canister of radioactive material into the vagina, leaving it there for 15 minutes, and repeating this three to five times over the course of several weeks. So the total number of treatments would be no more than five, whereas external radiation therapy would occur five times a week for six weeks, a total of 30 treatments. I need to explore this further and will update the information later. But for now, this is the probable treatment plan. The important news is that the pathology report showed no evidence of cancer in any of the surrounding organs, tissues, lymph nodes, or fluids. So I am officially free of adenocarcinoma. And I got up this morning not having to inject myself with Lovenox (the blood thinner), which the doctor said I could stop. This was a very good appointment.
One more cancer removal to go next week–the basal cell carcinoma on my scalp, which will be removed by the Mohs micrographic method, as I described in the November 21 post. Again, this is the most common skin cancer and not dangerous.
See Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer – My Story & More and Radiation Therapy for Uterine Cancer – My Story & More for details of my post-surgery progress and follow-up care.
Although I have more “homework” to do related to my health issues, I will be starting 2014 cancer free. This is something to be very, very grateful for, as the Ghost of Christmas Present visits us later this evening, flipping the life coin to the mask of comedy side for a while. (And I’m sort of hoping he can cook. . . .)*
*Quick note later in the afternoon: The guys are out there working together and creating wonderful smells in the kitchen while I watch The Shop Around the Corner. It doesn’t get much better than this. Maybe the Ghost of Christmas Present can forget the cooking and just drop by for dessert.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night–and an Even Better Tomorrow.
Also see . . .
Previously . . .