Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cognoscente ~ says the antonym for artist is scientist ~ I beg to differ

Pronunciation: /ˌkɑɡ.nəˈʃɛn.ti/

Function: noun

Etymology: Latin - to know
Date: 1776
1. A person with superior, usually specialized knowledge or highly refined taste 

Dr. Elizabeth Munro will perform my surgery. 

An actor performs. So does a magician. The musician performs, as well as the gymnast.  My surgeon will perform.  Artist, scientist, specialist, cognoscente. 

Based on the current tests surgery should be a relatively simple procedure.  (Everything is relative when dealing with cancer.) Mind you, I get five small incisions in a "crescent shape" across my abdomen. Cameras and tools, once inserted, will probe and cut and give eyes to the surgeon.  Various parts of my anatomy will be removed, but with the expectation that surgery alone will be curative.

While I am blissfully under anesthesia, a pathologist will examine the recently exited uterus and ovaries to determine the spread of cancer. Together the team decides whether to remove lymph nodes and/or perform a traditional abdominal surgery.  That decision is made and performed immediately if necessary (consent signed and witnessed today). I will find out when I wake up.

Either way I am up and walking ASAP and home as soon as the next day.

Based on the biopsy, the endometriod adenocarcinoma is currently grade 1. (Grade is type of cells.) The "best" grade... (Again, everything is relative.) The full pathology of said removed parts, determines the true grade and then the staging (extent of spread). Staging determines treatment, if any, post surgery (radiation and/or chemotherapy or nothing).

First two weeks I get to walk, a lot.  Then I see the surgeon again.  Somewhere around week three I get to walk (or  climb stairs) enough to sweat! No lifting until I am cleared around week six.  Dr. Munro says by then I may be at 80% normal (relatively speaking) but it will be a couple of months to be a 100%. That's if I get to skip radiation and chemo.

I do not yet have a date for surgery.  It could be as soon as Thursday, June 27th or skipping the 4th of July (Dr. Munro only does surgeries on Thursdays) July 11th.

Before the surgery date I am required to have an office visit with the anathesiologist and have standard blood work completed.

All in all, I am very confident in my medical team. They will heal me.

I still have my moments.  I am learning to ask for help. This team... the 7:00 am text answering friends, the feed me dinner friends, the listen to my babble calls with my kids, the coffee and baby fix rescuers, the prayer warriors, the kind words and thoughts senders, the partner in crime and exams...this team is what sustains me.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Countenance ~ maybe a new lesson


Pronunciation: \koun'-tə-nəns\
Function: noun
Etymology: Old French - to behave
Date: 1250
1. appearance, especially the expression of the face
2. a.  a look or expression indicative of encouragement or of moral support
    b.  support or approval
3. Obsolete: bearing or demeanor

There is a group of women who take over the corner of the workout area in the gym. They are there every weekday setting up their P90X DVD. My age and older, they gather weights and bands and tie up the TRX straps so they have more room. Not so affectionately called the sewing circle by my trainer, I have come to know then on breaks and vacations.  One particularly tall woman named Connie attends the church I went to several years ago.  She is full of humor and grunts with the bestof  them.

Yesterday was the first time I'd seen the ladies since Christmas break. I asked about Connie. She died in her sleep last month while taking a nap after a work out. There with my sliders on the floor and my cable row set at 45 pounds I stopped.

Can't break down in front of the sewing circle and the rest of the gym.  I froze.  I breathed.  It didn't work.  No Trainer Eric. So I grabbed the owner of the gym.  Just a moment to say the words out loud.  Then back to working out.

The question is less about the moment and more about why I turn to a relative stranger. Why the only person to see me cry is my trainer? Where did this come from?

However, maybe I am asking the wrong questions.  Maybe it's ok to be me. Maybe, just maybe, it's ok for me to go through this in my own quirky fashion. Maybe one of the lessons is to stop trying to meet other people's expectations. Maybe it's ok just to feel in the moment and live confidently that whom ever I need in that moment will be there.

Blessings Connie. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Diffident ~ not a fan of these lessons


Pronunciation \di-fə-dənt, -dent\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin - to distrust
Date: 15th century
1. hesitant in acting or speaking through lack of self-confidence
2. archaic: distrustful
3. reserved, unassertive

I came so close to calling you. I even had a text written asking if you had five minutes to spare.  But I was sure you would be uncomfortable. You were with friends.  You were with your kids. You are on vacation. You are busy. It's Saturday night. It's Sunday morning. You are too far.  You are too close. I am the one you come to. I am your coworker. I am your client. I am your mother. I am the one who is strong.

I can eat. I can sleep. I can buy more flowers for the garden.  I can sit. I can write. I can't pick up the phone.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pedetentous ~ one day at a time


Pronunciation \Ped`e*ten"tous\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin - foot + stretch out
1.proceededing step by step
2. advancing cautiously

Endrometriod adenocarcinoma. It is important to me that I say the words out loud.  I face them without hushed tones or fear. It is the next journey I get to take.  

There are moments.  Printing out the cancer insurance form was one.  The font is minuscule and two pages long... all except the 40 point header that states "Cancer Claim" in bold print.  Really? As if i don't know that this is the form i down loaded.

Or for some reason stopping in the middle of my session with my trainer and breathing through some tears.

Both places. Both times. There was someone to hold my hand, touch me, and just be with me.

Yet for the most part, I feel blessed.  Yes, I have cancer and I feel blessed. I am surrounded by friends who laugh with me and hold me and pray for me. I have the most incredible team of doctors who have jumped on things with speed, expertise and kindness. And of course I have Kate and Jared and Jacob - a blend of support that compliments each other and meets differing needs.

No guarantees here though.  Some days will be harder than others.  The two lessons I already know that are on the syllabus are learning how to ask for help and accepting that I am loved. I am sure there will be others.

"Team Karen"  That's what my friend and colleague has decided to call all us.  This is my part.