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Thursday, June 16, 2016

I saw it coming.


Like a lighthouse beam searching the horizon, I was expecting the results. I had been expecting such results for decades; and not once in the twenty years since the first sonogram pointed out an inconsistent blip did I let my guards down.

As a sentinel of my own health and that of my children and spouse, I had been an amateur sleuth all my life, reading books, magazines, going to websites and making lists. My Grocery list included vegetables of all colors, ingredients for home made sauces and dressings, whole grain packets from the four corners of the world, and herbs and spices to kill any foreign invaders that managed to sneak in through mouth, ears, eyes and other cavities. My house ran on natural ingredients for eating and for cleaning, utilizing gallon sized vinegar to flavor salads as well as kill errant ants that sought comfort during a seasonal change.

I even made my own pickles!
And my own yogurts.

We ate locally sourced food, and avoided all additives we could. In addition, I bought books on anatomy and medical issues. Yes, I could have listed all the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, skin cancer, PTSD, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc., etc., etc.

I was certain that I did everything to prevent major illnesses and conditions, and the only thing I couldn't prevent were freak accidents and bad luck.

Yet, in the back of my mind, every time I went in for a mammogram I had the auspicious feeling that my luck was running out. In my mid fifties I had been watched closely for benign cysts, for enlarged glands, for dense breast tissues. Yes, I had breast-fed my last two children successfully; and yes, I was no longer on birth control pills. (Is this too much information? Sorry!)

Yet, at the ripe old age of 74, yep, some of you could have figured that out, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer a few months ago. I have begun treatments, and I am feeling grateful for the help and knowledge our medical profession has developed for treating this problem.

I didn't panic for too long. I stood up and counted my blessings, actually. I'm old enough to have had a good long life already, raised my children, saw grandchildren born and even about to graduate from college. I have no job and no small children to attend to. I can sit at this computer and spend all morning rattling on and on and on. I can also do my own research.

Yes, if you live past your sixties, you too will start collecting social security, medicare, and a long list of possible diseases that seem to cluster in old age. Sure, you might have a history of these, and you too might see them coming. Like me, you will go on line and school yourself thoroughly on what to do and how to prevent this or that. But we will all die of something or other, even if it is just pure and simple, unadulterated old age.

You must see that coming.

21 comments:

ellen abbott said...

sorry to hear this news rosaria. I hope for the best possible outcome for you.

Marty Damon said...

Oh, Rosaria. I'm sorry. But it sounds like you've worked through much of the inevitable emotion and have turned your back on panic.
I've been there and done that - twice. Lumpectomy in '96, mastectomy in 2011. Funny thing is, I was much more upset the first time around. Now it's as though it all happened in the Dark Ages. And now that I think about it, I guess it did!! :)

Elephant's Child said...

I am so sorry, and hope your treatment is successful.
Love your attitude though.

joeh said...

I am only 70, but I hear you. I believe good medicine and care will add many more very good years to your count.

Meryl Baer said...

Wishing you the best of success in your treatment. Keep a positive attitude. Thinking only positive thoughts for you.

yaya said...

I see it in work life daily. I've seen it in my friends and family. I'm always saying: "It is what it is" and then we go from there. You've done everything right and all that good will aid you in your recovery and in all the many years ahead that you will fight to have. The big "It" touches us all in different ways. You are such a smart, witty, talented and lovely lady. I'm saying prayers for you because I believe they help..even across many, many miles! Please keep us informed and remember you are loved by family, friends and blog friends! Hugs Rosaria!

the walking man said...

I know it is in a different area of the body but my grandmother had colon cancer caught at an early stage and was operated on. She was 85 at the time and went on another 20 full years before she passed. I have every confidence that you have the will and knowledge to decide your own path Rosaria and I wish you wisdom applied in all of your decisions.

Maggie May said...

I am really sorry but the treatment, although it might prove to be difficult, has some really good results. My mum had breast cancer and lived for a further 16 yrs and died of something else. Lots of people completely get over it. My thoughts and love and prayers come your way.
Maggie x

kj said...

rosaria, first i have to say you write so so well. i read your thoughts and words with ease and thoughtfulness.

now then: i am almost 69 and for the first time my last six months have been plagued with one medical challenge after another. i still think i will end up okay but i take your heed that the times are a'changing for me. i have been so cozy in my preferred state of denial. i hope and pray and believe that you will survive this bout of breast cancer and go on to thrive. i take it you are having chemotherapy? and that you are pretty fatigued.

besides for my own changes and my partner's epic wrestling match with anxiety, the worse happened 3 weeks ago: my spunky 38 year old daughter jess, mother of four kids under ten was out of the blue diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma, she will start chemo next week. we are all stunned and pulling together as a family. i have been fortunate enough to find a very cozy studio apt near her and i am consoling myself that I will be able to help in many ways, including being a more-than-ususal presence for the kids.

so in some ways my family is walking the same road as your family. may be hold our hands together and remember we are wise enough to appreciate and see.

love always
kj

A Cuban In London said...

I am ever so sorry to hear this. I won't go into many details (they're rather personal) but all I can say is that support from family and friends is fundamental. It seems to me you have that.

I really hope for the best outcome.

Greetings from London.

Z said...

Best wishes for successful treatment and recovery.

Linda Myers said...

I have had the same feeling for years at mammogram time.

Walking with you today.

Vagabonde said...

I am sorry about your illness. I am sure that you are getting the best care possible and that you’ll soon be back and totally recovered. My 74-years old colleague from work was also diagnosed with 3rd stage breast cancer last year and now, after treatment, she is cancer free – went on a cruise to celebrate. Cancer is still worrying but treatments have improved so much – I wish it were the same for Alzheimer – it still cannot be cured. As you so philosophically say, we all have to die of something or another – I just hope we stay healthy until a ripe old age.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Most of us get a chance to be brave at some time or another. I wish you well with the treatments and that next year at this time, you will be cancer free. Your wonderful attitude will help you through this difficult time..

Amanda Summer said...

I am so sorry to hear this news, Rosaria. I pray you have the best medical care possible and will achieve a complete recovery. You do have an amazing attitude about life that will surely provide support through this difficult time. Please know my thoughts, prayers and healing wishes are with you. xoxoxoxoxo

Down by the sea said...

I am also so sorry to hear your news. My husband was diagnosed with cancer and it was quite a shock when we heard the news. I hope the treatment you are having will have a positive outcome and is not causing you too much discomfort. Thinking of you. Sarah x

Mirna Radovanovic said...

Cara Rosaria,
mi dispiace apprendere di questa sfida che la vita ti ha posto.
Sei una persona eccezionale che ha già combattuto e vinto tante battaglie; confido nella tua forza e ti auguro dal cuore un'altra prode e risoluta vincita.
Abbracci

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

I'm sorry that you have to go through this. My mom has lung cancer and I so admire her courage and determination to not let it get her down. Best wishes for few side effects and clean scans.

rosaria williams said...

Thanks, everyone!
It's amazing how words heal and support us.
Yes, indeed, we are lucky to live in such age where old friends and new visitors can touch and pour consoling words on fresh wounds.
Today I read a wonderful article at Brainpicking.com re personal narratives and their impacts. I recommend the article to everyone who has, like me, discovered the power of personal essays and stories. We are writing our own history, yet, we also give a glimpse of what's like to experience life in these days.

Mirna Radovanovic said...

Cara Rosaria,
mi dispiace apprendere di questa sfida che la vita ti ha posto.
Sei una persona eccezionale che ha già combattuto e vinto tante battaglie; confido nella tua forza e ti auguro dal cuore un'altra prode e risoluta vincita.
Abbracci

Sally Wessely said...

Too say I am devastated would sound a bit over dramatic to some, but I am going to say it anyway. I am devastated to read this news. I'm reading it too late. I wish I'd kept up with blogging, but I've been busy... No excuses really. I'd not seen you on FB much and hoped you were well. Now, I read this.

Yes, I guess we always think we will see these things coming. We do all those right things, and heavens knows you did them. I am thinking of you with healing thoughts, and yes, I will pray for you as I think of you. God bless you, Rosaria. Hugs.