Forever

I wrote Forever a while back, thinking of the many loves that I have lost throughout my life. I wrote this poem thinking of the perspective of the one who has passed. Interestingly, while looking over this poem today, my own perspective came into focus. I wonder, is this how I am seen from the other side? About eight months ago I had a very powerful dream, or premonition. Everything was in it’s place and seemed to be played out in real time, and that was when I first realized I had cancer again, and this is what would bring my time to its end. I saw myself in the mirror in my room, and as I walked by, I gazed at myself and realized I was dying. My body was thin and frail, and the first thought that came to me was a very matter of fact thought “Oh, I have cancer and I’m dying”. I was not alarmed by what I saw in the mirror, nor the thought that came with it. It felt very much like a calm notification of what was to be. My mom and dad came to me in this dream, even though they passed many, many years ago. They stood in the corner of my room as I lay back down to rest in my bed, and I was the only one that could see them. They came to help me find my way away from this world. Their presence was reassuring, and calm. My diagnosis didn’t come until six months later, after this dream. Even with my doctors’ reassurance that I was fine during those six months, I knew what I knew, and I was right. I hope that you find some solace in this poem. It meant a lot to me to write it, and I believe it………

I came by your bed last night as I saw you weep,
I whispered I love you, as I wiped a tear from your cheek,
I laid my face against your hand, a caress I tried to steal,
My heart in your hand is what I wanted you to feel.
Do you see me in your dreams my darling, my love, my friend?
I have never left, and I am here with you until the very end.
I walk with you each morning, my memories never leave,
I remember you loving and holding me, but now time makes us grieve.
I follow you throughout each day, I see your wilted hands,
Your tired face and broken heart is more than I can stand.
You sat alone by my grave, stooped and very stark,
Please know I am not alone, or without you in the dark,
As we walked together home this night,
I saw you scurry to find the light.
Do you hear me my love? Do you feel me gently touch your knee?
I cry and whimper, and hope you hear my plea.
I will never leave you.  I can never go away,
I will walk beside you every single day.
I hold you in my heart, as I lay with you every still night,
And I watch for your smile, to make this seem all right.
As day folds into night, I long so for your touch,
I long for life, for breath, I miss you so much.
Goodnight my dear, life is large, and there is much for you to see,
So I will follow along until your journey brings you back to me.

Doctor

I cling to you for so many reasons,
The key to my wellness your smile carries to hold,
Are you my savior, and the length of my seasons?
My hopes and fears entwined to be told.
A gentle smile brings quiet to an unsettled soul,
Your gentle hand brings me to comfort,
Lead me forward, with my hand in hold.
Fear fills my head, my heart and my mind,
Walking these hallways wondering what I will find.
Each visit brings worries and so many cares,
But your eyes bring me comfort, your words always shared.
Walk with me doctor, through the halls and trenches we have both found,
This journey is ours, with your lead to bring me back around.
Our hands will be left raw through the battle of this brutal fight,
Bloodied and saddened but never relenting in this plight. 
Your compassion brings me peace, and settles my unsettled,
Your words give me strength for the demons I must wrestle.
Eyes that see through me, you see my fear
For my future is uncertain and ever unclear.
Help me be strong, remind me to be humble.
Dear healer of bodies, souls as well,
Know that I see the person and the soul in a doctor’s shell,
Doctor, dear doctor, know that I see,
The person, the woman, daughter, sister, and friend who sees me.
Your eyes share the pain of your calling when the frail start to fall,
Even when your voice sternly repeats the learned recall.
I hold on to you tight with hope and fear,
You hold me tight, in hope and care.
Compassionate healer, compassionate friend,
Help me walk this path, help me when my time comes to end.

Lesson #1, always refer to Lesson #2

August 26, 2019

I’ve been anxious to get my hands on the keyboard for the past few days, but waiting until my thoughts could form some kind of tangible rhyme or reason.  I want to start with my thoughts on medical doctors, medicine and medical care in general.  The smartest lesson I think I have learned to date, and unfortunately, had to learn with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, is ALWAYS, ALWAYS…..ALWAYS get second opinions, third opinions, fourth, and as many as you need until you are fully satisfied with the answers you are receiving.  Even if you are of the opinion that your doctor can, or might be able to walk on water, ALWAYS at least get a second opinion.  Lesson number 2?  Always refer back to lesson number 1.  Today’s post is by no means a doctor or medical care bashing session.  I do believe that most medical professionals do work hard and intend to help their patients, but sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can catch things that the status quo simply cannot see.  My point in question?  I had a one centimeter tumor in my breast.  There was limited metastasis to my lymph nodes and blood vessels, which my medical team deemed “not enough to matter” and I was told there was zero spread.  I went through all of the usual genetic testing including  testing on my body, my cancer, and oncotype testing as well.  The statistics looked fabulous, giving my oncologist a false sense of security and hope that I was……here it goes…..CURED.  I suffered from terrible back and hip pain shortly after a double mastectomy, and because I was “cured”, every single doctor at the clinic taking care of me dismissed my back pain.  I faithfully took the preferred medication to prevent the spread of my cancer for almost seven years.  Of course it could not and would not metastasize! My own oncologist kept drilling me to exercise more in some poor attempt to mitigate my joint pain and symptoms.  Low and behold, almost seven years after my mastectomy, solely by a stupid accident on the part of a well meaning radiologist looking for arthritis, I was able to insist on being checked more thoroughly by means of a CAT scan.  Mind you, in almost seven years of being checked by my oncologist, in dozens of visits, never once did I have a blood marker test, a PET scan, CAT scan, or an MRI up until this point, regardless of my debilitating back and hip pain.  To make a long story short, the CAT scan in insisted on having led to a MRI, which led to a multiple bone biopsy and a positive metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.  My doctor was on vacation when the biopsy results came back, and all of the stars lined up for me that week.  I was lucky enough to see my oncologist’s partner who thought it would be too much work in ask my insurance company for a full PET scan after my diagnosis.  I can wholeheartedly  say that God was working full time, dragging me along as I kicked and screamed, into the hands of a new doctor.  The PET scan that I finally was able to get showed metastasis in more bones, which would have never been seen if not for my first PET scan.  Was my doctor and her partner wrong, or maybe lazy, or maybe even too arrogant to admit they did not cure me?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know this much….if any doctor, including the oncologist taking care of me had bothered to run a simple blood test for markers, or a PET scan, CAT scan or MRI, I would not have languished for years in insurmountable pain and the metastasis would have been caught much earlier.  I don’t blame my previous oncologist for the metastasis, and I harbor no ill feelings toward her.  I think she did the best that she could.  That, unfortunately, wasn’t good enough for me, for this body, and looking back, for this mind.  By God’s hand I eventually landed in the hands of a doctor who is working diligently to keep me alive.  Will I question her? Yes, I will.  Will I continue to do my own research and be my own advocate?  Yes I will.  Always remember, nobody, absolutely nobody can be a better advocate for your body than you!  You have to live in your body, and live with the health you advocate for.  Listen to your body when it whispers, so you don’t have to listen to it when it screams!  Now, the first lesson learned?  Be an absolute advocate for yourself and never take any answer that does not absolutely fill your needs.  Lesson number two?  Always refer back to lesson number one.  As always…..the next question is always……where do I go from here?