Monday, July 19, 2010

Please Pray For Eve

I beg you all to send your positive thoughts, blessings and prayers to my dear cousin, mother of 7-year old twin girls, who is fighting Stage 4 cancer.

Eve's Blog

The Journey Continues

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 10:49 PM PDT

Before I talk about my medical diagnosis and my spiritual journey, I wanted to share with all of you something that happened yesterday. I arrived home to discover a letter from a former colleague of mine. In it was a lovely necklace with a medallion of Saint Peregrine (the patron saint for cancer patients). Along with the necklace was a note indicating that my colleague was in a neighborhood grocery store and had asked the man who handled the fruits and vegetables to put me on his prayer list. In response to her request, he took this medal off of his neck and gave it to her to give to me. Apparently, a friend had given it to him before his colon cancer surgery 3 years ago and now he is totally clear of cancer. He told my friend that he is healed so he was giving it to me so that I will be healed as well. This completely took me by surprise and I am so very grateful for his kindness. But, this is not the only example of the kindness of strangers (and many many many friends). There is something about this diagnosis that has brought out the most beautiful and loving behaviors in others. I feel blessed that I have been witness to the best in human nature.

Now – I think it’s probably time that I caught all of you up regarding my latest diagnosis. Unfortunately, I now have Stage 4 colon cancer. It has not only moved into my female area (for the delicate among you), but has also reappeared in my colon at the location of my original colon cancer surgery. They have also determined that my form of colon cancer is the more aggressive type of colon cancer. They are not sure if the two cancers are physically connected or if they are in two separate locations. Unfortunately, they will not know very much more than what I have outlined until they go in and look around.

So – on July 28th (please put this date on your calendar to send strong prayers my way), I will be heading to Stanford for major surgery. First, they will look laparoscopically to determine if there is any more cancer inside of me in addition to what they could see on the PET and CT scans. If there is more cancer, then they will not proceed with the surgery, but rather will start with chemo to try to blast it out of me and follow the chemo with surgery. If, however, I only have the 2 spots mentioned above, then 3 separate surgeons (gynecological, colorectal and urological) will then proceed with major surgery. Unfortunately, I will not be looking very good following the surgery. I am not going to go into the possible things that could happen, but let’s just say that I really really wish that I wasn’t doing this surgery.

Once the surgery is complete, I will most likely begin an extremely tough chemo regimen in addition to radiation. They are looking at giving me Irinotecan and potentially Avastin. Not only will this suppress my immune system, but it may also result in me losing all of my hair. I know it seems so petty to worry about my hair when my life is at stake, but my hair is what made me look normal to my kids over the past couple of years. I so worry that if I become bald that it will scare them more than they already are.

I am devastated. I am scared. I want my life back. This is not like having concerns with money or a job or your children. Those things can be changed. You can move, you can quit your job, you can give time outs to your children or at the extreme, you can just simply run away. But, I can’t run. I can’t escape. It goes with me everywhere. I keep asking “why me?” But there is no good answer. I know that it doesn’t help to ask the question, but I can’t stop asking it. I’m so jealous of everyone else. I want petty problems. I don’t like having to think about my health every moment of every day. I am so very tired and so very sad.

However, I feel very fortunate to have the top surgeons at Stanford lined up to work on me on the 28th. For example, Dr. Andy Shelton (my colorectal surgeon) is known as the surgeon who takes the hardest cases and treats his patients as if they are members of his family. Interestingly, his physician assistant ended up spending over an hour with Pat and me last week to talk about how to get through all of this in a holistic way. When I told him that one of the things that I was focused on was nutrition, he agreed that while nutrition was important, he said that I also needed to focus on feeding my soul.

So – what do I do? How do I deal with this profound challenge? I have lined up the best surgeons and one of the top oncologists. And – most likely I will get a second or third opinion on my chemo protocol prior to starting treatment. So what can I do now to help my body to heal itself?

I know that over the past 2 years I have alluded to my spiritual journey. I have done a lot of work on that front, but this most recent diagnosis has brought me to a whole new level of effort. The gravity of my situation cannot be ignored. So I am not only doing a lot of internal work to bring peace to my life, but I am also reaching out to others who are farther along the spiritual journey than I am.

This next part I have debated even writing on this blog, since I know that so many of you will think that I’ve lost it. But hell, I’m fighting Stage 4 colon cancer and I have 2 young beautiful children, so I’ve decided that you will understand why I am doing what I’m doing. And so, I will share my plans for the next part of my journey with all of you.

I am going to Brazil next week to see John of God. Ok – I’ve said it. I have decided to meet with an internationally known healer to ask for his help in healing me. Many of you may have heard of him (I’m sure many of you are googling him right now…) I have been told about him several times over the last couple of years, and I always found it to be an interesting idea, but I never seriously considered going.

But, things have changed. About a week ago, it was strongly recommended to me that I go and see John of God prior to my surgery. That seemed completely crazy. How could I possibly put together a trip BEFORE my surgery (the surgeons wanted to operate within a few weeks.) Then, a day later, a dear friend of mine offered to give me his airline miles which were expiring in September so that I could have a free flight to Brazil. Then, one of the official guides offered to bring me at a very good price because he was inspired by my story. Then, a business colleague of Pat’s went to the Brazilian consulate and pleaded with them to expedite my visa (which they are doing). Furthermore, my children were already going to be out of town visiting my parents that week, so there were no childcare issues. The door opened up to me and so I’ve decided to walk through it. I am nervous, excited and hopeful.

So – off I go on July 19th to embark on this healing journey. I will return on the 25th and will plan to rest for a couple of days prior to my surgery on the 28th.

In addition to my upcoming adventure in Brasilia, I am also exploring Jewish activities that will help me on my spiritual journey. For example, I am scheduled to go to the Mikvah to pray with a local Rabbi’s wife when I return prior to my surgery. Apparently, this is a very powerful time for prayer. I’ve never been to a Mikvah, but I am now open to so many things that I would have dismissed such a short time ago.

What has been one of the most difficult things is that physically I feel great. Until this diagnosis, I had no idea what ugliness was inside of me. It is difficult knowing that I am going to go from feeling just fine, to being in extreme pain. I can understand why some people just choose not to deal with their diagnosis and just see how things play out. But that’s not an option for me. I must continue to do everything in my power to heal – with western medicine, eastern medicine and everything else that’s out there. That is my responsibility to my children.

I choose to believe that this cancer was meant to make me a better person and to help others recognize the blessing of good health, friends and family. I am learning. I am becoming a better person. And, it seems to be having some positive impact on others. I received an e-mail this morning from a dear friend who wrote the following to me: “your life journey has helped bring me closer to all that matters in my life. You saying “yes” to this adventure (Brazil) and living fully your life now, is inspiring to me – propelling me forward on my path, sparking me to consider the “yeses” in my life with renewed gusto.”

So my journey continues. I want to thank all of you for the important role that you have played thus far in my travels. I have received countless beautiful messages that have inspired me and given me strength. Although I haven’t had the ability to respond, please know that I am so very grateful for your continuous love and support.


Diane J Standiford said...

What a strong and courageous woman. I will pray for her. She is already transformed and what I did before my cancer surgery was dance--I danced to loud music with all I had! Her spirt, faith, and love will never end.

Karen said...

Faith, believing, and doing! be such a follower.
Lifting Eve up in prayer.