This is a post that I have been putting off, putting off and putting off until I just cannot put it off any longer.
'Tis the season for jolliness, for frivolity ... for parties, music, smiles, dancing and happy faces, right?
Well, this post has some good news in it, but also some bad. You remember my friend Jennie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor - this after having successfully overcome breast cancer (twice!) - and underwent surgery? I wrote about her here, although there have been other posts as well.
Jennie is doing fairly well. Actually, she's doing very well, all things considered. She writes, "I have much to be thankful for. I was able to have my 6th and 7th chemo and am now down to five more. Those nurses are angels. To keep my white blood cell count up I get three shots of neuprogen three days in succession and that seems to be the trick. My regular oncologist returns to the practice the third week of January and in preparation I will have my PET scan and MRI. There are some side effects to my medicine but they are temporary. My new wig is quite comfortable and cute." (I can almost hear Jennie chuckling as she writes about her cute wig.)
Her daughter Julie, on the other hand, who is my daughter's age, discovered a tumor through self-examination on her chest wall. According to Jennie, this could not have been discovered if Julie had undergone the reconstructive surgery after her last bout with breast cancer. (Little blessings? Mixed blessings?)
She and her husband Matt flew to Houston recently to get a second opinion at MD Anderson. The last I heard they were considering the various options available and whether or not they would treat in Michigan, Texas, or a combination of the two. According to the last e-mail I received from Jennie, this latest tumor appears not to have metasticized and will involve a combination of surgery, chemo and radiation. "The fact that she is dealing with cancer again after such a short time is very worrisome," Jennie says. (Well, I guess!)
Also, this tumor appears to be "unique". Well, aren't most of them? At least, it seems that way to me. It's almost as if - as soon as a way is discovered to cure whatever initially attacks your body, the dreadful disease metamorphosizes into something equally devastating and potentially deadly.
[When I was a kid, penicillin was discovered and for a time it appeared to be the cureall for everything. Anyone remember that? You had the flu? You got a shot of penicillin. You had an infection of some sort? You got a shot of penicillin. I, perhaps among many others, developed an allergic reaction to it - went blind for a few hours, and to this day am always very careful to alert my doctor.]
Barry Fraser, on his blog, eloquently shares his innermost thoughts and feelings in dealing with his bouts with cancer. I recommend, for any of you who are interested in learning more about cancer and how it affects individuals, that you put his blog on your "Favorite" list. It is a serious read but not a "downer", as such. He sees a lot of humor and irony in some of the most banal situations. Barry is someone I would like to meet personally.
When I published this post yesterday, it had a lot of self-chastisement in it. Why was that? Well, when I heard that Julie and her husband were coming to Houston for a second opinion, my first thought was, "I wonder who will be picking them up at the airport?"
That's a taxicab driver's thought, not one a friend first thinks of, but you should remember that I was a cab driver for nearly 18 years and airport trips meant $$$. It was perfectly natural that I should have that question in my mind. However, I was so embarrassed about it that I didn't even respond to any of Jennie's e-mails.
After I publish this revised version of "An update", I will send her an e-mail of explanation for my silence and hope with all my heart that she keeps me as a friend.
I know that some of you maintain prayer lists. Please add Jennie and Julie to your list. They live in Michigan. They need your positive thoughts, especially during this holiday season.