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By VioletV On 2015.04.24 16:56
I haven't said this to anyone else. Interesting that this is the first place that I am saying. . .
I just heard from the colonoscopy doctor (early this morning, as I am out of town on a business trip--waiting for my "big deal" meetings) that it appears that the thingy he found was cancer. I made it comfortably through a business consult and two meetings without really thinking about it, but, yes, that's what he said. Early cancer, but yes. Cancer.

OK. I've written the word. First time.

I'm sitting in my old neighborhood in NYC. In a pleasant restaurant, all by myself, with hours before my flight, and wondering, how do I tell my PD husband, who struggles with my being out of town for a single early-morning to late evening trip--with good home-health support-that I may have to have surgery and be in the hospital for a few days. This husband, whose late wife died in her 50s after a heart transplant and 10 years of serious illness.

How do I wrap my mind around this?

My daughter (my only daughter) and her husband just told their kids last Sunday that they are divorcing.

We, husband and I, have a 16 year old (his youngest) who will come home from boarding school in 5 weeks and need help to get ready for a summer program overseas.

I have to give a day-long training in another state between now and the time of my surgery (apparently).

Also last Sunday we brought home a lovely chocolate Lab - aged 18 months - who is much more of a pup than we anticipated. My dear husband thought he'd be able to take the lead in training her, but she is too exuberant and too strong for him to handle alone for now, and he may never be safe doing so.

Oh my.

Good thing I'm pretty strong, pretty resilient, have reliable help, and am more or less able to not deny my reactions which, right now, can be summarized as---HOLY CRAP!!!


By mylove On 2015.04.24 23:21
Violet, you need Jane's perspective for this one! I am sending you long distance hugs and support from the West coast. Challenges always seem to come in clusters, don't they? I'm glad to hear the word 'early', because that means encouraging things, but of course things are still very challenging in the meanwhile. He will cope, of course, because he must...and my wish for you is that the return to health is quick, that many will help ease your burdens, and that your husband and you can weather this storm together. Many prayers for you. Your friends are here when you need us.

By Mary556 On 2015.04.25 00:16
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, dear VV.
That is big news to absorb. I believe it is very much in your favor that your DX was made so quickly. (My Mom is a 21-year survivor of breast cancer that was detected early.)
You are a strong and resourceful person. You will use your talents to approach this challenge in the best possible way. Yes, your husband may need some time to adjust, but he will want to take care of you as well.
Best wishes and prayers.

By ResistanceFutil On 2015.04.25 09:12
A lot is going on! There was an article I read recently about cancer & it's diagnosis. The oncologist/author said there are basically three types of cancer: turtle cancers that move so slowly that they basically require no treatment, rabbit cancers, that move faster but can be contained and treated, and bird cancers which are uncontainable and spread rapidly.

This might be a framework for discussion with your oncologists and treatment decisions. The book Emperor of all Maladies, and recently a PBS serious of the same title might be helpful. The book was quite an eye-opener for me.

Cancer is such a scary word and I know I'd freak over a diagnosis, but it is also often over-treated and at times may not be too much of a health risk, despite what we've all heard, and in some cases,witnessed over the decades.

I love dogs, but a good friend of mine suffered a broken hip after a puppy mishap with a much smaller dog than a lab. The risk/benefit analysis may not be on the side of keeping a rambunctious pup.

We have divorcing son and step-daughter. Ouch.

Thank goodness you are educated and have financial resources - all these circumstances are bad enough without extensive resources at your disposal to mitigate some of the suffering.

By VioletV On 2015.04.26 21:13
Thank you mylove, Mary, Resistance. It helps to be able to say things just as they are.

I told my husband today about the diagnosis. We talked about logistics, about whether to keep the dog, he asked a little about the diagnosis, how long I'd be in the hospital, about how we will arrange for help in the house. He said that he will have to take on more responsibilities - things he's ceded to me, I guess because I do them willingly.

I was at some pains to tell him that it will be something to deal with, but that in three months it will all be resolved. (Best prediction, may it be so.)

I guess I wish that somewhere in there I would have liked to hear some word of comfort. Not that he doesn't care, but his British-ness comes out in saying little about emotions.

Oh well.
Thanks for the info about the book. I've ordered it -- it looks to be well worth reading. And yes, I do hope to get Jane's perspective.

I'll be ok, whatever happens. And I am assuming the best -- that this will be a short term drama with a good outcome. Meanwhile, I've decided to keep working on a re-write of a screenplay that I've had in draft form for years, and to submit to a scriptwriting contest by May 31. That will keep me occupied and out of trouble.


By jcoff012 On 2015.04.29 13:13
Violet, you will make it through this. Cancer is a hard diagnosis, but it is no longer an automatic death sentence. I am here and my son is here. Are there ups and downs? Of course. But, we are here and cancer is not!

One piece of advice. Cry. Scream. Feel sorry for yourself. List all the reasons this is unfair....Then...set that all aside and get on with life! Life is the key word when facing and dealing with cancer...your love of life and your love of family come through your posts. Use that love to help you now and later.

The very hardest part of a cancer journey is yet to come....that is the reality of learning to live with the knowledge that cancer is now part of your reality. I still dread every checkup...the uncertainty is always there....even seven years later...but, notice I said later...I have had lots of laters...and, because I loved and trusted my oncology team, and now the two doctors I visit regularly, I am here and stronger than ever.

You will be, too. In life, we have two choices...give up or fight...please choose to early diagnosis is wonderful...learn to do as the doctors advise, take time for yourself, and KEEP every followup visit...they schedule you for every three months, then three times a year, then twice a year, until you only go once a year! May you soon hear, "no evidence of disease"---THAT trumps "You have cancer" any day...

One last thing, share with your husband...mine was amazing...he put my needs before his and without him, I would not be as Even if he cannot show you the emotional support you need right now, he will surprise you...

Sometimes, people tell me I "take the PWPs side", but in reality, I see ANY devastating disease from both sides...that of patient and caregiver...But, that said, I think that for me, it is ok to empathize with the PWP because in the really hard times I have to remember the love we first had WILL come through and we will face health issues together. Give your husband a chance...even a glimmer can be enough sometimes. His love is there, hold onto that feeling, be strong, but remember, it IS OK to take care of yourself, too.

As an aside, it was at a two weeks' later doctor appointment that I first saw my chart with "endometrial cancer"...I said, "Wow." And my beautiful doctor walked up behind me and hugged me, and whispered, "Be strong. You and I will beat this. We Moms HAVE to get through life's hard times." Lots of tears...then, out of nowhere, Carl appeared and we drove to the ocean to plan our next trip to Hawaii! Lol

Life isn't for sissies! Know you are loved and supported...if you need me...let me know...Jane

By VioletV On 2015.05.02 21:37
Thank you.
I am feeling the benefit of the love and support of people here on this forum and elsewhere in my life.

And, I find I am surprisingly not freaked out by this situation. The surgical oncologist has told me that it is most likely Stage I without lymph involvement, which would be just the best news (short of saying -- gee whiz this was all a big mistake -- lol).

My surgery is scheduled for the 13th and I have a lot to do -- board the dog, get home health for my husband, go out of town for a day long training, get my house in better order, etc etc.
I guess I'm too busy to be scared.

Thanks everyone.


By jcoff012 On 2015.05.04 21:45
Violet, be sure to ask about lymphedema...I knew nothing about it and had to learn the hard way. While it doesn't happen to everyone, it is more common in lower body lymph node surgeries. Good luck to you and no matter how it goes, we all are pulling for you! Love to you!

By VioletV On 2015.05.05 07:02
Thank you. I had vaguely heard of lymphedema, but wasn't aware of how serious it can be. I will email my PCP and surgeon now to ask about that.


By jaxrock On 2015.05.05 10:11
Violet, to read that you're picking up your screenplay after not working on it for awhile tells me you'll be OK....
I have found, in my personal experience, that working on MY projects is the best medicine for on-going stress.
I wish you luck and success in everything...your cancer battle, your caregiving issues, and your screenplay! It really helps to go forward......
Difficult, yes, but so worthwhile...
One day - sometimes one hour - at a time...
Fingers crossed for a good outcome..(a few prayers as well..)

By ResistanceFutil On 2015.05.09 12:35
I hope you're well on your way to good health, but I found a reference for the bird/rabbit/turtle idea I spoke of earlier.

From an article in New Yorker:

H. Gilbert Welch, a Dartmouth Medical School professor, is an expert on overdiagnosis, and in his excellent new book, “Less Medicine, More Health,” he explains the phenomenon this way: we’ve assumed, he says, that cancers are all like rabbits that you want to catch before they escape the barnyard pen. But some are more like birds—the most aggressive cancers have already taken flight before you can discover them, which is why some people still die from cancer, despite early detection. And lots are more like turtles. They aren’t going anywhere. Removing them won’t make any difference.

By VioletV On 2015.05.11 14:59
Thank you. I go in to surgery on May 13, and expect to be on the mend right after.

And thanks for all the well wishes that have come my way on this wonderful forum.

May I request that anyone who is inclined to do so send their thoughts or prayers for peace, and images of my being wrapped in white light, between 9:30 and 10:00 am Eastern on Wednesday.

Thank you!


By jcoff012 On 2015.05.11 16:28
All the best. I will have you in my heart, as I do already...Jane

By jaxrock On 2015.05.11 19:05
My prayers will be sent your way.....


By Mary556 On 2015.05.12 10:25
God bless you, Violet. We are East coast, too. I will pray for you tomorrow morning as well.

By carman96 On 2015.05.13 09:06
Violet, you are probably in surgery already. You are a strong and capable person, you will get through this ok. My mother had colon cancer, surgery, no other treatment, and it never recurred.
I wish you the very best.

By VioletV On 2015.05.20 17:26
Thank you all for the warm support that buoyed me through the surgery and the l-o-n-g period of waiting for biopsy report. I am delighted to report that my cancer--no, not MY cancer, let' say THE cancer in my colon was removed, that it was just barely into the muscle layer, which means Stage I with no need for chemotherapy. I feel so fortunate that my PCP insisted that I get a colonoscopy.

Love to all,

By umajane On 2015.05.20 23:24
That's fantastic news Violet.

By jcoff012 On 2015.05.23 17:49
Been wondering! SOOO glad you had this result! Now use due diligence and go for checkups! Hugs to you....I am VERY happy for you...Jane

By ResistanceFutil On 2015.05.23 17:53
What good news!

By carman96 On 2015.06.04 23:29
Hope you are well on your way to recovery by now.

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