Just Breathe

Just breathe…

The last few days have been full of ups and downs… The roller coaster of emotions can take me from contentment and peace, to a round of full-blown panic attacks and tears. Every cancer patient I know says these emotional zigs and zags are the hardest part of the journey — (besides all the physical side effects of chemo and radiation!) The emotional toil is wearying.

The Ups are so encouraging!

  • Family members visiting between now and Christmas
  • Time with co-workers at an outdoor brunch and social time last week
  • A slow but steady recovery from my hysterectomy
  • Good communication with my medical oncologist, Dr. F

The Downs!

  • The increasing realization that I am facing a long haul with this cancer
  • Dealing with my body’s changes due to surgery and total hysterectomy
  • The unknowns… so many unknowns
  • Fears that even if I go through the chemo and radiation that is ahead of me, my cancer can reoccur anyway

After meeting with Dr. F, there’s a game plan of sorts. First, he sent out samples for some foundational genetic/somatic testing and scans, just to be certain that the plan we have going forward is the best option I have. Second, he (and his amazing staff!) facilitated scheduling my port (essential before starting this chemo) and a consult with a radiation oncologist. And third, he reassured me that he has called in a brain trust of his own to keep on top of developments in treating UCS (Uterine Carsinosarcoma.)

We have a rough outline…

  • PET scan (baseline) later this month
  • Mediport installation (outpatient)
  • 6 cycles of chemotherapy beginning October 13th with two agents: carboplatin and paclitaxel
  • Brachytherapy (internal radiation, 6 weeks, M-F)
  • PET scan (post therapy)

It’s possible that the brachytherapy will be “sandwiched” in between 3 cycles of chemotherapy. This is yet to be determined based on the assessment and expertise of the radiation oncologist.

All this will take us into… Lent. (Appropriate, huh?)

I won’t sugarcoat it… this will be challenging beyond what I can even imagine. There are risks and side effects. I will lose my hair. (It will grow back!) I’ll get through it… one day, one prayer, one treatment at a time.

Sunday afternoon, I sat at my writing desk and tried to do something creative… painting or journaling or coloring… but I had no juice to create. Instead, I wrapped myself in a soft and lovely prayer shawl and watched the wind in the trees. Just breathe — a plaque on my desk reminds me… Just breathe.

I reread verses from Psalm 27 (another plaque on my writing desk) exhorting me to not rush ahead of what I can see in the future.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14 NRSV

God invites me to trust and rest and believe in Divine care for me… Much of what I face in the month ahead is in the not-yet category. Waiting… Believing… Listening… that God is in this. ALL of this. These words flowed from my pen…

All that I cannot see,
All that troubles me,
All of this remains in Divine Hands.
All of this…
All of this…

All that moves me to tears,
All that stokes my fears,
All of this is wholly known to You
All of this…
All of this…

And though my heart quavers
And my fears multiply,
You wave your Mercy over me.
You send your Grace to hold me.
Your Love restores me and holds me through
All of this…
All of this…

I am Held and Heard… as are you, friend. Blessed be.

Peace roses from our yard

One comment

  1. All of this….ALL of this! You are surrounded by prayer from all points. Prayers rising when you’re solid, and prayers when you just breathe. Nonstop. Until whenever. ..way beyond what can be seen from here. You are loved.


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