Live Long and Prosper

Happy Halloween!
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We did Star Trek (obviously). I’ve always loved Halloween.  I think it’s my favorite holiday.  But I’ll get into that.  I’ll start with the important news you’re probably here to see.

I got my second opinion today.
I was referred to a doctor at The UCSD Moores Cancer Center.  It’s a great facility.  One of the top places around here I could be going.  We haven’t been there yet because of our insurance and because it didn’t seem necessary until this point.  So why wasn’t I jumping for joy?  Well, the doctor I was referred to is a friend of my oncologist.  They are the same age and have about the same number of years experience.  This did not thrill me since they are both younger than me.  In some ways having the younger docs can be good since they might be willing to be open to new treatments, but they also don’t have the years of experience which is a little scary for me.  Especially now that I have an uncommon case.

My referral was chosen for me before all of the platelet dropping complications happened. Once it came up though I looked at all the profiles and credentials of the GI docs they have at UCSD and there were two that stuck out that seemed to maybe be a better fit for what we need.  One guy in particular specializes in portal hypertension!  I debated over and over for days about whether we should keep the appointment or just ask to get a referral to the PHT guy. I ultimately decided to keep my appointment.

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We met her this morning and things went well.  She wants to present me to their tumor board to see if they think I’m a candidate for resection or any other surgery.  She said she will make sure that the guy that I wanted will be on the board.  The other things she talked about were doing targeted therapy as well as seeing about getting me into clinical trials whether they are here or somewhere else that has a study that fits for me.  Basically she gave me OPTIONS. I’m cautiously optimistic, but it’s better than sending me off to hospice.  One phrase she used a few times was “we will be aggressive”,  She said I’m young and relatively healthy otherwise so she thinks there’s no reason we can’t go at some of these treatment options.

Now while this sounds like super amazing news, the reason I’m not singing about my miracle is that they need to take a current scan of me and make decisions based off that.  She gave no indication either way that they were going to be able to do anything.  Basically, I don’t want to get my hopes up.
This roller coaster of emotions is beyond difficult.  I can’t tell you how painful and draining it is to be on the edge of losing your life and what goes through your head to deal with that. I don’t want to think that they’re going to be able to get me 2 more years and then find out that’s not the case.  It’s too soul crushing.  I need to live day by day.  Enjoy each and every day for what it is and I can’t expect much more than that.

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Tonight we did our traditional Halloween.
Eight years ago I was working for a very dear friend of mind.  I was in such a lonely sad place at that time and she was an angel sent to watch over and guide me through it.  That first year I was with her I helped with Halloween decorations and then winded up coming over for Halloween.  We chatted while she handed out hundreds of pieces of candy.  It’s quite the trick-or-treating neighborhood.
Anyway, it became a tradition for me to go there every year.  And the first year I was with Mary Jo she respected my tradition and came with me.  The kids started trick-or-treating around the neighborhood while I visited with my friend.

Friend-Is-Someone-Who-Believes-In-You…

I picked the cheesy picture above because she loves horses but also because it’s true.  She really pulled me through some tough times and continues to do so.  While I sat there tonight and chatted with her I thought about how much has changed over the last 8 years.  How wonderful my life has become and continues to be.  I’m proud and lucky and most of all grateful.  This last year was rough for both of us and as we shared with each other I thought to myself that 8 years is along time but not that long in the scheme of life.  It is in my life though.  What I went though in the last 8 years was amazing and I would give ANYTHING to have 8 more.  To sit and chat with my friend on Halloween 8 years from now about how Kian picked his college and Nalani getting ready to graduate High School.

You (yeah, YOU reading this) will probably be here for Halloween 2021.  What was your journey from 2005 to now?  Can you imagine what you can do in the next 8 years?  Whatever it is, do it.  You have the gift of time, take advantage of it.  It sounds so cliche, but it’s so true.  I will likely not be celebrating with you in 2021.  I hope to be and I don’t rule it out, but I don’t have the same odds as you.  So how will you spend your day tomorrow?  Or next week?  I know that I am spending mine different that I was 8 years ago.  It’s so easy to take advantage of the day, just do me a favor, and try not to.  I will too.  We can remind each other.

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3 thoughts on “Live Long and Prosper

  1. Keep the faith! I was given the same results not to long ago because of how aggressive my cancer was. I feel very blessed that I am here and feeling good. I am in a targeted theraphy that is spot on with my cancer. Now that cancer is considered a “chronic” condition ,can be treated not necessarily cured I am happy to have a good quality of life! Postive energy and prayers for a good results!

  2. Thank you for the update and reminders of living a full life, Heather. Lorraine and I resurrected a tradition we had before we moved to SD this Halloween and it was wonderful to meet new folks in our neighborhood and be with friends. I hope that even when the kids outgrow Halloween, they learn that we never outgrow our friends.

  3. Heather, I don’t know if you remember me but your I am friends with your family and when Teri was much younger, she and my daughter, Ashley, spent some time together. You are definitely a blessing to so many and that you have a wonderful support system and unconditional love is spectacular. Your family always amazed me in its support for each other. It’s unfortunately everyone doesn’t have such love and support. Thank you for sharing your journey. Jacque Jennings Carter

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