Time seems to stand still when I am struggling. Yet, it’s been over a month since I’ve written. I’m enveloped in disappointment and disbelief. My faith is shaken.
It turns out that my surgery was not successful and my calcium levels are returning to pre-surgery levels. I had to learn this from my endocrinologist last week. Dr. Sinclair, my surgeon, emailed Dr. Markman to let her know that the operation failed to help me. So, I continue to struggle. I question God’s plan and am slipping into a dark place.
As has been the case in my life, one hardship is not enough for me to face. While playing with my nephew a couple of months ago, I felt a sharp pain on the top of my right foot. I put off dealing with it since I had enough on my proverbial plate. Last Saturday, I had a MRI taken of my lower back. A herniated disc between L4-L5 is pushing on my sciatic nerve, which has rendered me immobile at times.
I’m not strong enough to overcome this. Not alone.
I haven’t written in a month. That both angers and depresses me. My surgery was successful, so for that I should be grateful. The surgeon found three tumors and removed them (well, she left a bit of the 3rd). I have been recovering since. The first week was pretty difficult. I was in pain and the medication they gave me was useless (but I refused to take opiates). Immediately after my surgery, Valerie got an upper respiratory infection. Since we can’t isolate one another, I got the bug too.
So, I’ve been dealing with a fever since my operation. I’m starting to feel better — physically. I’m having issues with breathing and talking, and have a slight fever, but it’s not too bad. Yet, I sit here and I feel like I’m sinking into a whole. For some reason, I feel hopeless.
My Mom’s best friend was just diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. She’s been such a good friend to my Mom and I hate to see her go through something so horrible. So, that saddens me.
I’ve gained 23 pounds in 6 years. Val and I were planning on going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow, but besides still recovering, I can’t fit into a suit that I bought last year. I’ve had a lot of health issues and they have prohibited me from being remotely active, but it makes me angry. I want to study Muay Thai kickboxing. It will certainly put me in shape and will be an outlet for my frustrations. But, I’m concerned about my back. I already told Val that I predict I will have another surgery in the summer of next year.
I’ve started my doctoral program and I love it. I love the school, the program, the people. I actually feel at home there. I never felt at home in any other school before (or program for that matter). I had to miss a couple of class due to my surgery. but everyone has been wonderfully supportive.
Val is still sick too. Our doctor gave us Rx for the infection, so I hope that helps. She is so, so unhappy that it breaks my heart. She texts me during the day about how miserable she is. Her job is a calamity. It’s an unethical company that has no consideration for its employees. She’s applied for some jobs and had an interview last week. I pray that she gets it.
I’m in that spot again where I feel alone — not even feeling the presence of God; that’s disheartening.
This month is going to bring much excitement and anxiety. I start my doctoral studies at Drew tomorrow night and I am both thrilled and terrified. I have wanted this for so long. I have searched and went through such anguish to arrive here. I pray that I do well.
September 15th is my Dad’s birthday. I haven’t been down to the cemetery in a while. I bought a new Marine flag with a garden hook so it won’t fly away.
September 16th is my surgery. Not only am I anxious about the surgery, being under for three hours, and having two tumors removed, but I will have to miss two classes because of it. (Plus missing a TCNJ class). I just realized…that’s two weeks from tomorrow! Ugh.
September 20th is the “Out of Darkness” walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Since I will only be recovering from surgery for a few days, Valerie is going to walk for me. Plus we have a couple of friends that will walk too. I’m doing it again to honor Paige Aiello’s memory.
So, working three jobs and taking two doctoral classes. I know I am strong enough — mentally. I just hope that the surgery remedies my health issues. I wanted to write, “I’m too young for this,” but I have friends (who are younger than me) who have cancer.
My life is in God’s hands. He holds me up, so I can be strong and courageous.
I received very good news today! My specialist at Mt. Sinai said that there are no signs point to malignancy. What a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. She is sending me to a surgeon at Mt. Sinai to discuss having a 4-D CT scan of my neck. She said that this scan, which NO ONE in NJ mentioned in the nearly 1 year that I’ve been dealing with this, often finds adenomas where a sestamibi scan or ultrasound cannot.
A very dear friend of mine has been fighting Leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, since she was 23. I spoke with her today, the first time in a couple of weeks, and she told me she has “gone rogue.” She’s opted to not have chemotherapy, which the doctors predict would only have a 35% of being successful, and is seeking alternative therapy in Mexico. She is such a beautiful person and her life has been consumed by 7 battles with cancer, 8 surgeries, clinical trials, and chemo. She’s had enough.
She’s been in the hospital for three days and will spend three weeks there. The cost of the treatment is not covered by insurance and will probably exceed 60,000.00. There is a fundraising page here: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/v725/rid-me-of-leiomyosarcoma-for-good- and people have donated so generously. I hope that my efforts via social media and other avenues can make a greater difference.
I pray that this message reaches people and they’re moved to help her in her battle. I love her as He has loved me. Please help.
I had my appointment with the specialist at Mt. Sinai this afternoon. The day started horribly. We couldn’t find parking at the train station and just as I parked, ran to the train…the doors closed. Valerie asked them to wait when she saw me running, but they declined — that put me into a panic. I almost took it as a sign not to go into the city. Instead, we waited for the next train and arrived 15minutes late for the appointment. Luckily, the doctor was kind enough to fit me in between other patients. Her name is Dr. Markman and she is incredibly bright, thorough, patient, and compassionate. After looking at my labs, she said she wanted to do a different kind of test on my PTH levels and also check for sarcoma and multiple myeloma. Unluckily, the tests results can take up to a month to get back. She said we could rule out familial hyperparathyroidism and issues related to the thyroid. If the blood results come back negative, then I will see a surgeon for a 4-D CT scan (no other doctor has ever mentioned that before). The CT scan is more accurate than the other tests and could show an adenoma when an ultra-sound or sestamibi scan do not. If those results are positive, then surgery. Oddly, Dr. Markman said that the surgery is very complex and could take 3 hours; other doctors, including my GP, said it’s a simple, 20 minute surgery. But, Dr. Markman works at one of the finest hospitals in the country — I’m going with her.