Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." Rumi

Santana Row in San Jose
Photo by Julie Bennett

At least this time I tried to act like my plans were tentative. I wanted to go to Mexico and do a 6-week intensive Spanish course before the Order convention. A summer MBSR course. Teach a series at sangha night on Love and Death...

A few days ago I asked Dr. Littel if he would be willing to do some backup for Tavakoli, since he has been away so much and my post-PET phone appointment was with someone I had never met. So about an hour before the scheduled phone appointment today, Dr. Littel called me to talk about the results of the PET scan. First thing he said was, it is not good news.

I did eventually ask about the cancer in my pelvis. He said that it is all (vaginal wall, bladder wall, bones) completely gone. I remember Dr. Nag saying he could get rid of the tumor, but that it was the other stuff he was worried about...

There are 8-10 small metastatic tumors in my lungs. These were spotted on the CT scan two months ago, but were too small to evaluate. They have grown, and apparently lit up the PET scan. By the way, this isn't called lung cancer, or even secondary lung cancer. It's "primary vaginal cancer with metastasis in the lungs".

I won't know for about 10 days, until Dr. T. gets back, what this means exactly, but chemotherapy for several months seems certain. I have an appointment with him on Weds, June 13, 1:45pm.

Just-born goat at Morgan's school
Photo by Julie Bennett
Before ringing off I told Dr. Littel that I had repressed hope during treatment, but this time I had had hope...but I suppose that was good in any case because it meant in the interim I was in a much better mood!

The last thing he said was that if he ever found himself in my situation, he hoped he could respond with the same poise that I have.

Is the chemo going to, even after it's over, leave me feeling even older? Disabled? I will see if I can talk to Dr. Shaia (medical oncologist subbing for Dr. T.) and get some indication of what's in store...I must go on the summer retreat, and I would really like to go with my sisters to Montana after that.

I have an appointment Monday to complete my SSDI application.

A few positives:

  • The disease has moved away from my nether region!
  • While chemotherapy isn't something to look forward to, at least it doesn't involve radiation/burning. As Julie pointed out, no more shitting razor blades!
  • My lungs are not in any pain, in fact I've mostly been feeling great the last few weeks. 
  • My body responded very well to treatment last time, so it seems likely that it will do so again... 


  1. Ditto on the remarkable poise. Much Love, Viradhamma

  2. And grace and love and humility, etc., etc.. And seriousness and humor, which some might find odd. The humor part. It's not a laughing matter, but I don't know what I'd do if we didn't laugh. I feel so inspired by you and am thankful to be riding shotgun through this sometimes tumultuous, sometimes heart-wrenching, intimate, surreal journey. XOXO

  3. So sorry to hear about the tumors. I'm also inspired by your grace and poise, as well as by your ability to communicate what you are going through. Even though I know that you are surrounded by the community which loves you, I wish that I could be there to add my support to the mix. Sending love, metta and (when I get back from Aryaloka) another care package!

  4. Thanks darlings.
    P.S. Nora, I wear that HA bracelet every day!