I know this blog has been silent for some time. The lawyering life kept me busy through much of the summer and early fall. This involved some exciting developments, including the first trial that I’ve been involved with (I was second chair), which was a lot of work, but also an amazing learning experience.
Then, in October, I went to see the doctor because of a blockage I had been experiencing in my esophagus. This triggered a series of diagnostic scopes, scans, and biopsies in the months that followed. We learned in late November that the growth in my esophagus was cancerous. But, it was not until the week before Christmas, that our follow-up appointment confirmed the worst: the esophageal cancer had also spread to my liver. Stage four. The general surgeon whom we met with told me that this particular condition was inoperable because there were multiple small growths on my liver. He also gave me 6 to 12 months to live and said that the most they could do was administer palliative chemo that might extend the timeline by a few months at best. Quite a Christmas present indeed.
My husband and I have spent the time since then looking into alternatives. Thankfully, we’ve managed to track down a few very promising options that give us hope for a better outcome. We are still following up on a number of these options to find out if my particular circumstances make me a viable candidate for such treatments of liver metastasis of esophageal cancer.
As we wait to hear, I have been moving between hope, grief, worry, uncertainty and a space of joyful appreciation for the moment and for the gifts, both large and small, that life can give. I suppose in facing this down, I have something of an advantage: I have been through difficult times, deep losses and significant uncertainty in the past, and the lesson I took from that was that during such times of uncertainty the present moment is all you have, so it is worth making the best of it, if you can.
It’s not always possible to be in that space of peace–too often the sadness at possibly having to leave it all, far sooner than I could ever have imagined I would have to, overwhelms.
It’s going to be a rough road ahead. I will post updates as I can. I know there will be many times in which the doubt, the sadness, the grief and the worry overwhelms: sometimes there is simply no choice, and staying positive is simply not possible.
I’ve always believed that it is far healthier to give vent to grief, sadness and doubt, rather than to try to repress it or shunt it aside with a facade of positivity. Such suppressions can be damaging and can backfire terribly.
But, when there is a choice, and when I can manage it, I do plan to seek out that space of gratitude and joy, if and when I can. I plan to laugh at things I find funny and to seek out such things that delight and move me.
I know the usual wisdom is that being positive leads to better outcomes, and I don’t doubt it.
But that’s not why I will try to choose the joy and gratitude. The reason I will work to make that choice, when the choice is possible, is not because of the “destination” of a better outcome (though if it helps, great! I’ll take it!). It is because choosing joy will make the journey better. Whether I live for 6 months or manage to beat this and live for another ten, twenty, thirty years (here’s hoping!!), I’d far rather spend the limited time I may have in this life being joyful, appreciating my friends, my loved ones, and the many good things I have in life. It’s just going to be so much more pleasant. I would rather lose as little time as possible to anger and fear, natural though it may be to dwell on those emotions from time to time.
Wish me well and wish me luck, dear readers and friends! I’m going to need both for the months ahead.