Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am not dead

Though it may appear so by the amount of blogging I've done lately. I have been busy. I was off to Salt Lake City for a week for work, home to recuperate, and off again next week to Boston and Vermont for vacation. Charles and Nancye Willis, Nashville buddies, are coming to stay at our house and take care of the dogs. It's a great deal for me, and they get a week in Chicago with a car.

I've been trying to diet, and have found a fun (and free) site that lets me count my daily calories. So I've been trying to keep up with what I eat and my exercise. Problem is, just when I get into the groove, I go out of town again where the good food is impossible to resist. I love food so much.

But the point of this blog is to say I am not dead, in fact, I'm quite alive. I visited my oncologist yesterday for a regular check up. And it seems I'm doing G-R-E-A-T. The nurse called me yesterday with my CEA levels, and they are tip-top. Perfect. Which means there is no sign of another lurking tumor. So it looks like I will live.

I never really thought I would die, but then I imagine most people who find out they have cancer don't believe they will die. Humans do seem to have a large capacity for hope. So, why I turned out to be one of the lucky ones, I don't know. My cancer was Stage III, and I think there are only four stages. So I was on the cusp. Do I have some unseen "mission" in life? Now that puts a lot of responsibility on me. But, of course, I could get hit by a car walking across the street. Or in crossfire.

Or of a stroke because of the road rage I get when drivers fail to use their blinkers. Now, that's something I need to offer up. It really is. One of those "Don't fret what you cannot change" things.

Anyway, I see the doctor for four more years. I asked, "How long do I have to come see you?" and he says, "Five years." And I said, "But when did that five years start; not that I don't find you adorable..." And he said, "Five years from when the chemo started." So that's four years. And that's how long I need to make sure I have good health insurance. And even longer, I guess, since I'm only getting older (the result of not dying).

Friday, July 4, 2008

My sister-in-law, the hero

Mom and Dad were staying at my brother's house a few days. They've been in Nashville a month or so, visiting around with my siblings. They are waiting for a new great-grandson, but he hasn't come yet. So they were planning to head back to Fort Myers on Monday.

Daddy was watching a tennis match at Jimmy and Phyllis' house but wasn't feeling well. He had quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago, so you might think he would know the signs of a heart attack. He and Mom hemmed and hawed about going to the hospital, until Phyllis (who luckily was at home) said, Get in the car, we're going. Dad, like me (or me, like him) is a cheapskate, and will do anything to avoid hospital costs. (Even, incur funeral costs instead, it seems.)

They got to the emergency room, and Phyllis called Jimmy, my brother, from work to come on over. He got there and they all were talking to Dad, doctors in the room, when Jimmy said Daddy jerked and his eyes rolled back in his head. The doctors escorted (shoved) them out of the room quickly. Jimmy said he told Mom, I don't know, I'm not expert, but that might have been it.

A few minutes later, the docs came out and said he's fine and responding well. It seems he flat-lined and they brought him out of it. They said if Dad had been at Jimmy's (who lives very close to the hospital), an ambulance might have been there in time to save him, but chances are he would be "mentally slow" as a result of the loss of oxygen to the brain.

The stars aligned (or however you would like to explain it) and he was in the midst of doctors when he had a heart attack. They took him to the operating room, cleaned out an artery that was filled with "toothpaste-like" substance and put in two stents. And he's OK. Almost good as new.

Jimmy said the first thing Dad said when he woke up out of surgery was: Did I miss the tennis match? And Eric, my nephew, who is expecting a new (Mason) James Lackey at any time, in that very same hospital, wondered aloud if he could sneak the baby's hospital bill onto Daddy's (because their names are nearly the same). A family of cheapskates, God love us.

Thanks Phyllis. Looks like you'll have house guests for a while longer!

(P.S. I'm off to Salt Lake City for the Women of the ELCA's seventh triennial convention and gathering.)