Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One Year Ago Today

. . . Reflect And Rejoice

I cannot let this day go by without acknowledging that one year ago, on this date, I was undergoing an 8 hour surgery known as the whipple. My husband, children, grand children, older brother and sister were there. We all caravaned up to the hospital that morning. Upon being called into the pre-op room, I gave each one of them hugs. Prior to the surgery, we were told that, upon opening me up, the surgeon will see the extent of the cancer and determine if the surgery could even be performed. Thus, we were all on pins and needles as to whether my life could be saved. The passing of my younger brother just 15 months prior weighed heavy on my mind. He had passed from stage 4 duodenal cancer. He was to undergo the whipple surgery but, upon opening him up, the doctor discovered that his cancer was too advanced. His was stage 4 and he was given 6 months to live. I watched him die. Was it my turn?

When I opened my eyes, I saw the loving, smiling faces of my family as they leaned over me. The first thing I asked was, "Did I get the whipple surgery?". They told me I had. The cancer was caught in time.

I woke up early this morning reflecting on that day and the two months that followed. Complications such as infection and leakage (of organs that were surgically re-plumbed) caused my stay in the hospital to exceed the 8 days we were orginally quoted. I was there for 32 days. Fortunately, I was able to go home in time for Christmas, though not able to really enjoy it. I ended up back in the hospital only after having 5 days at home. My digestive system wasn't cooperating. It didn't know which direction things were suppose to go. I felt so horrible, I remember telling my husband that "no one should have to feel like this..ever!". So, after another week in the hospital, I came out more able to adapt.

It's been a year now and, after going through the follow up chemo treatment and it's icky side effects, doctors visits, tests, chemoradiation and more side effects (I'm still itching all over and have to take medication every 4 days to make it stop) . . . I'm very thankful to the doctor who saved my life. Or, at the very least, gave me a longer life to live than what would have been. I'm certain that my guardian angel (my younger brother), had a hand in it, too. Pancreatic cancer is usually caught too late and, I believe, my guardian angel allowed me to feel the pain at an early stage so that I would see a doctor and could be given the chance he never had. I love you, Art.

I'm truly blessed.

This holiday season, I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for Christmas gifts, wrapping, decorating, baking goodies, making some handmade (crocheted) gifts, working on my little candle/soap business . . . and enjoying the full festivities in good health. I hope your holiday season is wonderful, too!

Aroma Fields Candles & Bath


WhiteStone said...

Your cancer is different than mine, but our stories are similar. I didn't stay 32 days (only 8) but I, too, ended up back in the hospital. Ilius. I pray you will experience long days and years of wellness. Bless you.

Laurie said...

Thank-you for sharing your story. My son has worn a purple ribbon all month due to a friends death a few months ago. WE are certainly more aware of pancreatic cancer than we were before. Our son died from brain cancer at the age of 16 so I have some idea of what your family has been through. What a wonderful Thanksgiving you must have had.

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ZudaGay said...

Mare, so glad you have a happy anniversary!! So much to be thankful for....may this next year bring you recovery and good health and many, many blessings!!

audreyscountrycrafts said...

I'm so happy you are here one year later to share your story!
I hope you have a Wonderful & Relaxing (pain free) Christmas this year! :)

Julia said...

Hi, Marilyn - just stopped by to wish you the very happiest of New Years -- somehow I have no doubts about this one.