Having cancer return, after any length of time, affects your body, mind, emotions, spirit and your perception of yourself as a Whole Person.
For me, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Pancreatic adenocarcinoma after a Distal Pancreatectomy removed 40% of my pancreas, all of my spleen, and 8 lymph nodes. The date was 10-23-20.
Starting on 1-4-21, I underwent 5 months, 8 rounds of the chemotherapy Gemsar. I was told, “The cancer is gone. It is never coming back. You are fortunate we caught it early.”
I was cancer-free for 30 months………..until I was NOT.
On 5-21-23, an MRI confirmed a 2cm metastatic tumor was now located in the upper Left Segment of my liver.
On 6-16-23, an Interventional Radiologist performed an out-patient Liver Ablation to burn a 4cm area around the tumor. A CT scan confirmed the tumor had been destroyed, with wide margins. There were no other tumors in my liver or abdomen.
There was only 1 problem: The CA 19-9 Pancreatic cancer marker now registered at 2,000. The normal range is in the 20’s and in 3 months it had increased from 28, to 367, to 500, to 2,000!!! The liver tumor may have generated the huge increase, or there may be other active cancer cells in my body – too small to show up on scans.
Suddenly my whole identity as a cancer thriver has changed. This change is reverberating throughout my body, mind, emotions and spirit.
INSTEAD OF CERTAINTY, THERE IS UNCERTAINTY. What is the next choice of treatment? How do I feel about myself as a Whole Person? How do I incorporate my Holistic Approach to cancer recovery? How would I feel about more chemotherapy, when I am so committed to keeping my body, immune system, and microbiome healthy and able to heal and regenerate themselves?
At this point I can only take 1 day, 1 test, 1 scan, 1 consultation at a time. For now, I have to give my liver a chance to heal from the ablation. I have to reconstitute my body, mind, emotions and spirit into one BALANCED AND COHESIVE WHOLE.
I have to have quiet and nature and family and tune into my Inner Wisdom.
I have to remember the bigger picture: I am God’s child, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and I work for God.