In August 2016, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctor caught it early and – after removing all my reproductive lady parts in September 2016 – I was deemed to be cancer-free and not in need of chemo, thank the Lord. In May 2017, Bob fell and broke his femur, had surgery and spent five weeks in rehab and another eight weeks in physical therapy. He is much improved, but continues to require the security of a walker, although he can use a cane for short distances.
A couple of weeks prior to Bob’s May accident, I was diagnosed with a basal cell cancer on my nose and prescribed a topical treatment, which I began to apply the same week of Bob’s fall. I used it as prescribed, but between going to the rehab center and keeping up with things at home, I ran out of steam and quit using it after about three weeks, but not before it had severely “burned” my nose, which took almost a month to heal. That should have told me something. Right?
Bob came home from rehab after five weeks and began physical therapy. I somehow managed to sustain a sacral fracture that pretty much took me down for about five days, and I had to do PT for a month, two times a week. I improved rapidly and was walker-free within two weeks. That would have been sometime in June.
Come August 2017, my oncologist – who had been keeping an eye on my innards – found a troublesome lesion on the vaginal wall. Mr. Cancer was back. The doctor excised the lesion in an outpatient procedure in September. At the follow-up visit, she recommended focused radiation to make sure the cancer was eradicated.
In November, I went for a dermatology appointment and learned the cancer on my nose was more serious than first thought and Mohs surgery was recommended.
But first I had to do the radiation treatments. One thing at a time, please. I had five brief but intense treatments in late November and early December. Very little in the way of side effects, but by the end I knew I’d been fairly well blasted from the inside. It’s over – but not – as I have some internal “expansion” I must do to assure the tissue doesn’t scar over. Believe me, you don’t want to know. Suffice it to say, I’d rather go on a long vacation.
And then came the nose cancer surgery. It’s called Mohs, after the fellow who came up with the procedure. It was supposed to be easy peesy, scrape and check, scrape and check, close… except that the tip-of-my-pinky-sized spot turned out to be dime-sized and had four or five “fingers” that radiated out. Let’s just say the result of the surgery is not a pretty sight. They tell me (the doctor and tech), that it will be okay after reconstructive surgery, which will take place in about six or seven weeks. In the meantime, I’m wearing a bandage that hides about 15 stitches and a lump of skin from my smile line that’s heaped on the spot on my nose the doctor dug out to get rid of the cancer. Are you still with me? In a week, I get the stitches out and six weeks after that, my nose will be reshaped to what it was before. I pray that is the case.
Interestingly, the cancers that were more worrisome have turned out to be the least of my concerns and the one I thought would be a piece of cake has turned out to be more like burned toast.
Why am I writing about all this? I haven’t been doing much in the way of original work for my online magazine, One Roof Publishing. And I backed away from my freelance writing gig with the Optic, so I could concentrate on Bob’s health and mine. And now it occurs to me, given our ages – 73 and 87 – if I wait to write until we’re 100 percent healthy, I’ll never write another word!
So. I know my saga is no more dramatic or important or life altering than yours. This is not a “poor me” diatribe. In fact, it’s a story of resilience and thankfulness. Bob and I have excellent medical care, fabulous insurance and supplemental, and caring friends and family. Our faith has kept us going when we both thought we’d had quite enough, thank you very much. But the truth is, we have been blessed and the last thing I want to do is complain.
So. I have a few things in the works, including a novel, Blind Curve, with a target publication date of Jan. 15. My serialized sci-fi novel, which will be available through One Roof Publishing, will launch around the first of the year. The opening episode will be free. Following episodes will be available to paid subscribers exclusively. When the novel reaches its conclusion, it will be published in paperback. Subscribers to the online serial will receive a signed print copy. And I’m getting back to writing articles for One Roof Publishing, combining my original work with news and information from around the web. If you have an interesting story idea for me, or if you’re doing something interesting and would like to share, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking for great stories and engaging Q&A articles.
More to come.
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