We left that appointment with a referral to Oncology, biopsy appointments and a very ominous CT scan. No one used the C word in the ER, but prior to being an ICU nurse I was a Med-Onc nurse and there just aren't a lot of things that grow on a pancreas. The next week flew by and time seemed to stand still at the same time, but our life was never the same after that visit. A diagnostic EUS with biopsy at LDS Hospital, PET scan and a port placement at DRMC and we were fortunate to be able to do everything else here in Cedar. Chemo education with Cheryl, cleaning like crazy on chemo weeks and trying to guess what Neil's white count would do after chemo so that I could plan my work schedule around his chemo schedule and sick days. Most of last year is a bit of a haze, not sure if I'm actually remembering things or not. Worrying so much because until Neil was 2 treatments in he could barely eat anything except cheese sticks. When his pain improved and his appetite came back then I started worrying about the next thing. There is always something to worry about with cancer.
When one is handed a diagnosis of Stage 3 Pancreatic cancer there is an overwhelming feeling of how short life is going to be. We didn't talk about long term plans, seeing Neil play with a friend's baby made me tear up thinking chances were he'd never get to be Papa.
|Our new path wasn't one ever planned on, but it's leading us to wonderful places|
We had stopped planning next. We planned to fight hard and bravely, which Neil did but Pancreatic Cancer doesn't just go away. It's a fight that you fight every day of your life, and you are grateful for each and every day.
So what do you do when you thought you were dying but you don't?
We began to live differently, bigger, more intentionally. Comfortable no longer feels comfortable or safe--it feels stagnant. Neil is going back to school, we have a National Parks pass and we are using it as often as possible. We aren't staying at home and binge watching tv, we are seeing things we've never seen before. Picking up new hobbies and reviving old ones. Trying hard to turn our weaknesses into strengths.
Last year felt like a death sentence, this year feels like life.