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Posts Tagged ‘cancer sucks’

Lamar

This is not the post I was going to write today but I feel compelled to write it anyway.

Lamar was my brother-in-law. I first met him around 1980, which was about two years after I married. Lamar and Sylvia (she’s my sister-in-law) began dating long distance. She lived in Los Angeles and he lived in Berkeley. They were both in graduate programs, she at UCLA and he at UC Berkeley. Eventually, he finished his program and moved to Los Angeles where he became not only a part of Sylvia’s life but a part of all of our lives, including mine and eventually, my kids.

Lamar was from Maryland, if I remember correctly. He was raised with southern ideals and manners and thinking. Lamar, before any of us knew him, was in the Peace Corps and often spoke of the things he learned and the things he did in Africa as part of his stint with the Peace Corps. After that, he went back to school and studied architecture, finally becoming an architect which was a major feat as the road to becoming an architect is a long one, but he stuck with it and did it.

He had a lot of nicknames in the family, mostly because my ex-husband’s family is into giving people silly, and often mean nicknames. For example, when his arm was in a sling because of a shoulder injury, he became Lame Arm instead of Lamar. Ha ha. But the one that stuck the most was Space Case because he would often “zone out” during conversations. We would all be discussing something and one of us would turn to ask him a question or get input from him and he was “gone” to the point where we would have to call his name several times, usually ending with “Earth to Lamar. Come in Lamar.”

He was inventive, curious, handy, a problem solver, laid back, and supportive. As spouses of a brother and sister in that family, we often were the outsiders so Lamar and I stuck together. And, more than once, we also discreetly exchanged eye rolls when “they” were being “too Martinez.” He was my pal when we were all together. Later in life, we were both diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) and so we had that in common and shared some tips and experiences that non-diabetics would not be able to understand.

Many years later came my divorce and their move across the county so we saw each other less often. I visited with them in D.C. twice and they were at my daughter’s college graduation in Baltimore so our contact was limited but when we saw each other we slipped into the same “us” and “them” routine.

Then came word that he had cancer and was starting chemo. That was in late July. Then three weeks ago came word that the chemo was not working and that the doctors had told them there was nothing else they could do. There were no other treatments for his type of cancer. A few days ago came word that his death was imminent, he had just a few days left. This morning, word came that he had passed. The only positive thing to hold on to is that he was medicated and was never in any pain. He was comfortable. He could understand everything but could not speak. And his death was peaceful.

I’m shaking. That part of the family is too far for me to get to. I wish I could be there with them to support each other and to share some favorite Lamar moments but it’s not possible. So here I am, sharing Lamar with you; sharing my pain. And it hits a bit harder because he was diagnosed the same week that my doctor told me I had cancer and had only three to five months. Of course, he was wrong as it turned out and I do not have cancer. But Lamar did. And I keep thinking that it could be me. I’m glad it isn’t but I also feel a little bit guilty.

I will miss Lamar greatly.

 

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Not good news.
Apparently, gall bladder cancer is inoperable. I don’t yet have a diagnosis but the assumed (by the doctors) diagnosis is gall bladder cancer. I’m having surgery on Friday. They will biopsy the colon, gall bladder, liver, any anything else they can. The hope now is that they find that the tumor consists of a different type of cancer, meaning one that originated in the colon or the liver. Those types of cancer they can remove. But gall bladder cancer they cannot. All they can do is administer chemo to prolong life. On Friday they will also be putting in a port for me to receive chemo. The surgeon said that anyway we look at it, my case is not going to be an easy one. He says I am in for a “tough ride.”

So I guess I now will ask you all to pray that what they find will be a treatable cancer, a liver cancer or a colon cancer, and not the gall bladder cancer they are sure they are going to find. I want more than 4 to 5 months. I’m not done living yet. I’m not done. This is really tough.

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If we were having coffee, I would try to be chipper but I would have to cut it short as I’m not in the best spirits these days.

As many of you know, doctors found a large tumor in my gall bladder seven weeks ago. Upon further examination, they’ve seen that a portion of the tumor is also in my liver and there is a good chance that it is in my colon, as well. I have had test after test and they keep coming back benign but what they see on the CT scan says it’s malignant. I didn’t understand what they meant by “what they see and how it is acting” until I read the latest CT scan report in MyChart. What they are going by is how it is effecting the tissue around it and by “gas bubbles” and other stuff I don’t really understand yet. I kind of lost it when I read that and the word “metastasized.”

I see the surgeon Monday afternoon and I am pretty sure they have my full file now, including the reports from my surgery two years ago in which they found a borderline malignancy in an ovarian cyst which was removed. I think, and I hope, that tomorrow we will have a much better picture of what is going on and a treatment plan. I’m very nervous and very anxious. I am often near tears these days but I’m one of those people that doesn’t let herself cry so it’s all inside.

Today I will spend the rest of the day with Anderson and Spencer and Maya and we’ll probably go for some ice cream because it’s National Ice Cream Day here in the U.S. and lots of places are giving out free ice cream cones! The weather is nice enough for ice cream. I haven’t taken them to the park since before the fourth of July and I usually take them every day. So maybe a park trip is in the works, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading. I can’t concentrate to write or watch TV so I read. I am trying to read all of the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. ¬†There are currently seventeen titles and I’ve read six. I had some in my Kindle library and I’ve recently discovered how to borrow digital books from the library so now I’m in business! If you’re looking for a great spy thriller, this might be the series for you.

In any case, I have been horrible about keeping up with everyone’s blogs. I read a lot of them but I read on my phone and I have fat fingers so it’s difficult to comment. I end up liking a lot of posts. I will try to be better about it; maybe I’ll start carrying my tablet with me which will work if there is Wi-Fi at the doctor’s office and other buildings.

In the meantime, if you are so inclined, I am needing a lot of virtual hugs and positive thoughts/energy these days. Please send them my way.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go check it out and you’ll find a lot more shares. Maybe you will want to write one.

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That’s about four inches and it’s the size of the tumor that yesterday’s CT scan found growing outside of my gall bladder. From what the doctor says, the CT scan shows that it is “acting like it is cancerous.” The next step is a needle biopsy which should happen within the week and the gastroenterologist has already put in a referral to the oncologist. Approval for oncologist consult should take a couple of weeks, at least.

I’m sort of in shock. The doctor says it will have to come out, whatever it is, because it is protruding into the colon. So best case scenario is that it only has to be removed. But it is very likely that there will be a need for “follow up treatment.”

I managed to hold it together enough to call my three kids and tell them, and then my mother. I learned that hearing bad news is bad but having to relay the bad news to someone you love is far worse. So I guess we all have some more waiting to do. I wish the wait to be as short as possible.

I want to digest this news so that I can let my mind think about other things. Right now it’s kind of tough to think of anything. I’m sort of numb.

With luck, I can distract myself in a day or two so I can write and post here. I have a lot of ideas for posts.

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