Friday, May 30, 2014

Working With A Governor

You know what's crazy? You get diagnosed, you go through surgery, you recover, then the real test comes in living your life knowing that you have tumor cells in your brain, that the tumor (always) comes back (according to your doctors) then you start over again. Each time they dig in your brain you hope you wont die. You hope that the majority of your brain, the stuff that makes you you, will remain after they fiddle. That you won't be too damaged. You know before hand that you'll never be the same, no one ever is, but all you can do is hope that it's a minor shift. You go home, you fight, you research, you add treatments, you change your diet, you work incredibly hard. And at the same time, even though your whole life has been derailed, all of your dreams put on hold, except for a twinge of sadness here or there, you're just thrilled to be alive. You live your life revolving around scans and treatment, knowing each scan could be all it takes to devastate, that each treatment may not be enough. You battle fatigue, you battle the horror of seizures. And all the while, through it all, you're just happy to be capable of reading, and writing, and walking, and running, and laughing, and recognizing the beauty of each moment, of everything around you and most of all that you're able to fight. Cancer has a way of stopping the world from spinning. Everything happens at once, then not at all.

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 am is the MRI scan. Again they poke, jerking that needle into my vein, readying my body for the contrast dye that will tell all of my brain's dark secrets. Each MRI, each scan, is the biggest test of my life. Essentially, I live each day studying for this moment, for each exam. I remember my parents telling me when I was in my 20's, with admiration, that I was the consummate student - that it was my lifelong passion. We just never knew that I would be attending my own university, earning my own solitary degree. A degree in my body, my health, my survival. I love learning about the facets of tumors, of tumor life, how to outsmart them, to jump the hurdles. Sometimes it's scary. Sometimes it makes me viscerally ill. Regardless, I continue. My only wish is that I would have more energy, that my brain wouldn't shut down. Since the first brain surgery my body has a governor, and there is nothing I can do to change it. I work within specific boundaries that my body dictates. You guys know I fight it, pushing too hard at times. I keep hoping that just like with a muscle, all my mind needs is exercise to gain endurance. Doesn't seem to work that way though.

Sorry for the delay in my email responses, I'll probably be backed up for the next week - I'm still having to take daily naps to catch up after all that research. Please send a second email if you have an urgent question and I'll do my best to get back to you. For now, Dan's sneaking me off to hit golf balls (a close second to my favorite - the batting range) to de-stress.

As ever, but profoundly obvious, my fate is in the hands of the universe. Let's hope I've done enough to keep that parasite at bay.


  1. "So Cal" PattiMay 30, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Dearest Jess, I haven't been able to write for awhile as I broke my back and had to have surgery. Like you I have had to work hard just to stay normal but my challenges have not been as large as yours! You always fight hard with dignity and grace and I thank you for teaching me so much! As always you will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow for your MRI. I just know that things will turn out well again! And I just love that picture of you and Emma! You are such a beautiful lady and I love you!!! "So Cal Patti"

    1. Patti, Hi! You broke your back? How in the world?! Obviously we need another phone date. I'm so sorry to hear about another physical challenge. I can't imagine how difficult this is making your life, especially since it was already pretty tough. Maybe we can touch base again soon. Perhaps a week or two after the MRI business has cleared. Let's get together over email and find a time to visit. Thank you, as always, for your kind words and prayers. I really appreciate it!

  2. Love you Jess!!!


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