It’s been a rough few weeks. Our road trip to the Northwest was beautiful but I was limited in my ability to get around, so Susie had to do more than her share (and she did so gladly).
Part of learning about cancer is learning a whole new vocabulary. This week, our term is “radiation necrosis”. According to one of my doctors, that means the radiation did its’ job — just a bit too well. So well that it left a rim of scar tissue where the bulk of the tumor once was. This scar tissue is pressing down on my brain and has basically put my entire right side to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll find out if it stays or if it goes (whether or not I’ll have surgery to remove it).
This is all troublingly reminiscent of Susie’s mom, who had this very same cancer while Susie and I were dating. With each surgery, there was a little less of Phyllis left behind. That’s the conundrum of brain cancer; all the available options have high risks. In this case, doing nothing means a loss of function and quality of life, while acting radically (surgery) can either fix things or really mess me up.
So how will I make this decision? Well, I was the youngest of 4 kids and I hated being left in the dust. I felt like I spent all my time just trying to keep up. Cancer has made me feel that way again. So, the answer as to whether or not I’ll choose surgery is an easy one for me. If someone is offering me a way to keep up with the pack (my family), I’ll grab at it.
When this all started I somehow pictured myself being healthy until the end — and then it would simply be over. That hasn’t been the case and that’s what I’m finding most difficult. So my hopes are that in the coming days I’ll have surgery and I’ll awaken stronger, more mobile and ready to run with the pack.
In the meantime, I’m receiving daily foot massages from Hannah, watching way too much Netflix and doing my best to remember that others have it far worse. Mostly, I’m just looking forward to getting back out there with a full head of steam (rather than scar tissue).
I hope some of this will inspire you to appreciate your bodies and put them to good use (perhaps you’ll join The Nancarrow Project Team for the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation’s 5k fun run/walk later this month).
Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.