To break the ice: here's my new haircut.
Apparently, it's been too long since I had one, since I've emailed this picture to probably three people already. Inordinately pleased with this minor change in my appearance. (Same, but a little shorter.) And next time I put a picture of myself on the blog, it'll be one where I'm wearing makeup and therefore actually have features. And maybe I won't use the bathroom mirror and a flash.
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Okay, here's the news.
January 3rd my parents came over and my Dad told me he has been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. It seemed to be stage 4: a biopsy found 9 of 10 possible sites affected. My Dad is 73, and has no real health problems - Type 2 diabetes, which he manages by walking about 6 hours a day to stabilize his blood sugar.
Heart disease runs in his family, so if you asked me what I feared for my Dad, it would have been that. Cancer wasn't even on my radar.
On January 5th my friend Sandy came over and told me she has been diagnosed with lymphoma, thought to have been caused by the radiation therapy she received for her colorectal cancer of two years ago. The cancer is too diffuse to radiate, so she was waiting on a biopsy to determine a course of treatment.
Hearing about Sandy was bad, but so much of my mental energy was taken up with worrying about Dad, I coped with Sandy's news pretty well. In fact, I told a family member in an email, "if YOU have cancer, now is a great time to tell me. I'm on a roll."
I spent the next two weeks feeling like all my life force had drained away. I stood around, looking out through rain-slicked windows and crying.
We were waiting for a CT scan and a bone scan, scheduled for the 11th and 14th, to tell us how far the cancer had spread. Last Tuesday the results came back in - no metastases. (Excellent.) They offered Dad a choice between radiation and removal: he opted for removal.
Dad's surgery is scheduled for February 1, next Monday. Once the cancer is out, a pathologist will be able to tell what they should do next - whether chemotherapy would be beneficial.
Sandy had a needle biopsy yesterday - through her back to take cells from lymph nodes located behind her sternum. (Ouch...) Now we just wait for a few days until those results are in, and her year will take shape - whether it will be a chemo year, or something else.
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I don't want to bring too much of this onto the blog. Not because I feel private about it (obviously I don't) but because I've been eating, sleeping, and breathing Cancer for nearly three weeks: I want to talk about something else. I won't be posting long cancer updates, though I will put a line or two in a post, if something major happens.
So thank you for all your good wishes on my last post - it was really great to hear from everybody. It was a comfort to know that you care.
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Coming soon: more fun, less cancer. Can I get a "HELL yeah"?