Today, September 20, 2022, begins the next leg of my pancreatic cancer journey. After a repeat CT scan, intake, and lab work, I am sitting in the waiting room while my future path is being decided by the group of people on my interdisciplinary team at UCHealth Anschutz.
It’s an incredibly daunting wait. Has the cancer spread or stayed the same? Have the cancer cells in my common bile duct become tumors? Does my lab work reflect the otherwise excellent health I possess? I wouldn’t wish this wait upon a single soul. Not even a walk at a nature reserve after a late breakfast soothed my increasing agitation.
Chemotherapy. Surgery. Possible genetic mutations. Those are all heady topics beyond the insidious pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Yet, when I walked in this morning, I knew without a doubt I am one of the “lucky” ones. I am not the 80% who are slowly being internally proliferated by pancreatic cancer and find out when it is too late for them to have a decent fighting opportunity. Often death is soon upon them after learning they are ill. That is not my story and I grieve for each one who’s story that became or will become.
I know I have a fantastic DNP who worked at John Hopkins for a decade with one of the oncologists on my team before coming to Colorado. I believe that is an excellent start.
I also believe I am meant to be here, in this place, to receive the best help I can to beat this mini murderer I carry within.
What I steadfastly do not believe is that God placed this disease within me. Nor did God give me this cancer because I could handle it. As my eloquent cousin Mark says, we live in a mixed bag of a world. We do not know what is ahead of us or why some of us go through what we go through. Difficult things happen to everyone, as do beautiful things along the way in this finite earth-bound life.
I retain my choice in all this to find peace, joy, laughter, and love. And yes, there will be moments or days of sorrow, grief, and pain. I choose to live for today and tomorrow on my terms until the possibility slips away (hopefully decades in the future), and it is time for me to return from whence I came. As a believer in Christ, I am confident my inner peace and gracious attitude begin with Him.
Until there is more to report…