Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breathing room

My head and heart aren’t wrapped around this yet, and neither are my words. I've been released from the Riverside regimen. My last PET scan (last Sunday; results came today) showed stable tumor activity.  I've been released to regular oncology care in Sacramento (with a doctor who treats me like I’m more than my cells!) and a follow-up scan in three months. I think it will be every three months for awhile, after that. Working up to annually, and if I get really lucky, never.

Shrinking tumors would have been ideal; stable is good enough. It means that biochemo has done what it can do. We don’t have to do anything unless and until they start growing again. They aren’t threatening me, just hanging out in my body. I have some pressure on the right side of my chest, but I’ve been feeling that since summer and can totally live with it. It’s a reminder, which is not a bad thing.

I was out hiking when the doctor in Riverside called me. (I’m at the Ranch until tomorrow.) I walked home, called A, two other friends and one of my clergy, made an appointment with my oncologist in Sac, put up a quick Facebook status, and went back outside. Wandered into the chapel, and out again. Just walking.

A is going to find out if, since I have Medi-Cal now, I could do the next level of treatment (if I need it) at a local, non-Kaiser hospital. The emotional acrobatics involved in flying me and one other person 400 miles from my home for treatment—and in finding people who are able, willing, and free of commitments enough to do this—are exhausting for both of us. I want my community to be able to visit me if/when I’m hospitalized, talk with me, sing to me, pray with me, love on me, and be able to go home.

[Note: Lots of people have volunteered to come from very far distances. Mostly through this blog, and Facebook. I was so overwhelmed when I got your responses, that I don’t think I ever answered you. Sincerely, deeply, thank you. (And thank you L for the air miles!)  Please keep me in your prayers. I may need the same kind of care I asked for, later.]

I've been given my life back in three-month increments, and I don't know how I feel about it. "Released" is the closest word.  I can do whatever I want to now. And I know I need to drink it all in. I’m going to take at least a week just to be with this, and then start sticking my toes back into ministry and life.

Health can turn on something smaller than a dime. This shadow will be sitting on my shoulder for awhile. I know it could turn into a monster and bite me at any time.

But for now, and as long as it lasts—I feel well, and I am alive.  Resurrection.  Again.


Two Auntees said...

This is such heartwarming news but I can understand needing time to wrap you mind and heart around it. You are amazing! Love and prayers are flying to you.

Kirstin said...

Thank you! I love you too.

kat said...

I'm going to let this soak in, too. Good news, amazing news, and now this rush of gratitude: for the release and for the journey, because look at how you've crossed this rocky pass! Now is not the time to be calculating the next challenge, but to enjoy the descent off of this particular peak and know that you did it.

Love you dearly, KP. Thanks for letting us in on this part of your life.

Kirstin said...

I love you, Kat.

it's margaret said...

This truly is amazing. Stumpified. O.M.G.-ish.

May you know that peace which passes all understanding!

And does this part of the rollercoaster ride look uphill? upside-down? going round a corner???!!!

Love to you. Always.

eileen said...

This is very good news! I continue to hold you in the light of prayer. (((((You))))))

David said...

Woo hoo! {{{you}}}

suzanne said...

Praise GODDE!!!!!!

susankay said...

Thanks be to God!

Cathy said...

This truly good, and understanding in your heart and mind will come later. We don't always have to understand. Kirstin, thank you for sharing your very deepest thoughts and your perspective. I <3 you.

Anonymous said...

I send you my prayers.