Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I hate being right

My exact suspicions were confirmed today. Dr. Brain has breast cancer. That seemed to make the most sense from what I've know was happening, and as soon as I saw her I knew I was right. She's doing ok, but I know her so well that I could see differences and I also have seen enough people on chemo to know what the subtle effects are. And she had on a wig, which I only really knew because she's had the same hairstyle the entire time I've known her and I knew that her hair couldn't be cut the way this was because it's not thick enough.

She says it is a very early, very treatable kind and she'll be done with both chemo and radiation in a few months, but I'm so scared and sad for her. She's a doctor at a top hospital in the world, so that helps I guess; she's got access to the best care anywhere. And she's doing well several months into it.

But I also know I just lost a friend to the same disease, albeit a more virulent form, only a few months ago. And my friend was my age.

I also feel like I'm the worst possible patient to have when you are in that situation. She says it's fine and she can handle my needs and she knows them better than anyone, but I also know that I'm one of the most involved cases she's got and although I'm starting to feel really good I also know that there's no promise I'll stay "easier", since I don't really get out of the hard category just in terms of I have to be seen frequently, often need something between, etc.

Please just pray for her. If you do that, of course. In fact, please put her on any prayer list you know of; I kind of want to feel like I know she's is surrounded by love, and I know how effective all of you were for this when I was so very sick.

I'm going to take some meds to calm down, because I've been crying for a long time now, and then I'm going to start trying to figure out how to be a "good" patient and how to trust God that this can be ok. (Please understand that as I talk about this over time this is going to be very hard for me to do. I had a friend die from breast cancer in October; she was my age. 34. She had a very vicious type and knew she was terminal for years, and this is totally different, but it's still too recent. And I had a psychiatrist die before, so it's not like I'm not well aware that things happen. His death was either a weird accident (how it was presented) or a suicide (how it sounded), but I figured statistically that would keep my doctors safe........


Michal Ann said...

(I will have to send this in two parts because it's so long!!)

Hi hon! I'm so glad to hear that you're doing better and so sorry to hear about Dr. Brain. I wrote the following before you wrote this post about your doctor's breast cancer. I know you've been very concerned about her and fearful that she could be facing something of this nature. You're so compassionate and insightful. I checked on you tonight but saw no new post so I went to Julia's blog. I made a comment about your comment and wanted to make sure you read it so here goes:

Michal on 9 of January 2010 at 10:31 pm:

Julia, what a thoughtful intro warning parents of kids needing dialysis. I appreciate the thorough explanation of the process. I’m so sorry that you’ve all had such stress and pain. I will look for opportunities to support anyone I can when they have such challenges. It’s so easy to lose perspective and appreciation for the wonders of the body.

I remember reading a book which I think was by Dr. Paul Brand re: suffering. A line I’ve never been able to forget was from the parents of a sick baby: “What we wouldn’t give for a wet diaper.”

JustMe..I’m so thankful that your patient/friend has such a mighty and positive spirit. It seems that he’s made peace with God and man and is ready to give up his tired shell. My dad was widowed for 11 years. Then he suddenly went from a full life as a healthy 75 year old digging fence post holes to death from a common staph infection of unknown origin in 11 days. He never wanted to suffer from cancer as my mother had and he got his “prayer” answered. My mom never wanted to be an old lady in a rest home and she got her “prayer” answered, too…death at 63…11 years after diagnosis and 11 days after hospitalization. I was blessed to be at their bedsides, in fact, IN my mother’s bed every day and night. We were literally “close” in a way never known in earlier years.

I want to assure you that there were blessings and MIRACLES during these times. God was near. I pray you will have comfort and faith as you love your dear gentleman through his transition on his “life bed.” I believe that he will pass to perfect health and peace. May you take great comfort in that hope.

The Hope of the Resurrection

I Thessalonians 4: 13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so YOU WILL NOT GRIEVE LIKE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO HOPE. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died.

Michal Ann said...

RE: Dr. Brain: My mother's breast cancer was diagnosed when I was expecting my youngest child. She was 52. She was very healthy for a number of years as she learned to take good care of herself with quite a bit of standard and lots of wonderful alternative care. However, significant family stress seemed to exacerbate her cancer at a certain point of great emotional strain and she began a downward trend.

I did a lot of the hospice care for a very dear friend who died of BC a year ago October.

All this to say, I've walked a couple miles in the shoes you're wearing and will pray like I said above that you'll have hope through these times. I WILL pray and make sure others hear of this difficult time. One of the "blessings" of such a diagnosis is the opportunity to make peace with God and man as we face like never before the undeniable fact that all of us will pass from this life to the next. One can also learn much better self-care. I've heard that serious health problems in mid-life can be a great gift if we meet the challenge by learning to take better care of our bodies and spirits. That will be part of my prayer.

There's a wonderful blog by Lorri Steer that might be of help. She is a strong Christian woman with three young daughters who was diagnosed with Stage 3 BC. She is doing very well a couple years into treatment. Her site is wonderful and uplifting.

http://lorriscancerupdates.blogspot.com/ She calls her blog "Terrible and Beautiful" and uses this quote:

"The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you". - Fredrick Buechner