To catch you all up, I had a tumor show up on my liver when I had scans at the end of February. This time there was no 3 month wait-and-see as it was it was pretty obvious what it was. So off I trundled to the liver surgeon down the hall that same day they read the scans. He felt the location of the tumor made it resectable. (Aside: my spellchecker is putting a red, squiggly line under resectable. It wants to replace it with respectable. A respectable tumor? I think not!) The part that gave him pause was I'd just had a major surgery a few months before (the lung metastasis). Fortunately, my overall and otherwise good condition served me well again and the doc felt like I could handle the risk of 2 major surgeries close together. After weighing all the options, my medical oncologist agreed with the surgeon and we scheduled the liver resection for March 21. Lucky for me, March is "Buy a liver resection, get a hernia repair free!" month at MD Anderson. It seems my original and now defunct ostomy site had herniated and needed to be repaired, so that was added to the to-do list. Since I'd have to stay in Houston again for about 2 weeks total, and I've had ENOUGH of hotels, I took the camper down again to the same South Main RV Park I used during radiation in 2015, which is located 3 miles S of MD Anderson. It's walkable or they offer a shuttle service. Perfect. Mom agreed to drive down with me, and Joe flew in the day before surgery. Armed with my new sock monkey hospital socks, I checked into MDA for my BOGO surgery special.
Now, back to the "gray" part of the story. Maybe you'd forgotten (or thought I had), but that was the title way up above. Let me sum up my former black & white philosophy like this:
After that (in my mind at least) you were either cured or you were dying. Simple as that.
As it turns out, I've had to accept that there's 50+ shades of gray in between my former black & white extremes. In fact, it's not even gray, it's a spectrum. As you may remember from HS geometry, a line has an infinite number of points. Indeed this does too. It's been a difficult concept for me to grasp, because it means living with uncertainty. Where's my neat little package with all the loose ends tied up? Dang it; life's messy, and neither you nor I should expect this to be the last installment of the saga. But if I refuse to accept life on the spectrum, then I might as well give it up, because then there are only 2 choices, right? I don't know about you, but that's not a good place to be. Therefore, I have come to realize my cancer situation is somewhere on the slider. And it's a BIG slider with infinite points:
The sobering fact is, we all live somewhere on the spectrum, no matter what our health situation. The day we were born, we were plopped onto the graph of life, rolling merrily along, never knowing exactly where we are at any given time. And we don't really need to know where we are per se as long as we realize that life's a gift, not a guarantee, and it's to be cultivated, savored and enjoyed. Obviously a cliched and unoriginal thought, but cliches arise for a reason, don't they?
The Lemonade Stand is Open
Mom & I pulled into the South Main RV park a little behind schedule but in one piece. Now the only thing left to do was back the beast into our very tight space made tighter with big trees. I was "ably assisted" by some oil rig workers who were very free with all kinds of advice, being as they were several beers into their Sunday evening. They glad for this bright spot in what had looked like a pretty dull evening and settled in for the show. ("We'll let the Yankee lady try 'til she gives up, then we'll show her how it's done.") On my first attempt, they stopped me with waving arms, telling me I was going to have to pull forward 'cause I wasn't going to make it. I got out, took a look and respectfully said I thought I might be just fine. They settled back in with knowing looks waiting for their "I told you so" moment, but I disappointed them by slipping the sucker right into place. I earned a little roustabout respect and Mom & I got a dinner invitation out of it. They were pretty sure I drove semis for a living.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was going on this whole time, so after I was out of the hospital but before I was released to go home, Mom & I spent a day there. Wow, is that a HUGE event! We took in some ranch horse events, wandered the barns and trade shows, and made our last stop the "Fried WHAT?!" stand, which we saw on the news the night before. As the name implies, they fry all sorts of delectable treats. We partook of the cookie dough wrapped Oreo, fried of course. Yum. I sent Mom home on an UBER and I walked up to MD Anderson for a blood draw ahead of my next morning check up. Coincidentally, Mom & I had wondered what our Fried What?! escapade might do to one's blood sugar. Well, we found out. Mine was 150 when I got the results the next day! Fortunately, everything else was good, so they cleared me to go home.
Thanks for your patience with the updating process. I promise not to make you wait a month and a half next time. And while I'm making promises, I will also promise to continue to enjoy the full and colorful spectrum of life. Thanks for sharing the journey my friends.