MAY 19th, 2004...I was wheeled into a very life-threatening surgery to remove the tumor that had sat between my heart, lung, spinal cord and pulmonary artery for a year and a half. An amazing and renowned cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon had miraculously moved to where I lived (after having searched, literally, the world for options). He was the first person who gave us hope that he thought he could get the tumor out safely and would not even have to put me on heart bypass, as other surgeons had forcefully told us was going to be the case, IF it ever happened.
The surgery was quite long and 3 major muscles in my back were sawed through (and then put back together fiber by fiber-isn't medicine amazing?), parts of ribs were removed and stretched and a large curved incision on my back became permanent (and later a month-long collapsed lung was a complication of surgery...a story for another time). The surgeon discovered the tumor was the size of a small Nerf football and successfully removed it (and most of you know the best, juicy part of this tale-the tumor was discovered to have died inside of me with very minimal treatment-something doctors still can't explain and I'm ok with that :) ).
It had been a year and a half of a 0% chance of living (no one else in my situation, ever, with my cancer had lived with a relapse after a stem cell transplant). There were so many unknowns during that time, so many letdowns from world renowned doctors and experts and so much pain and worry about what was to come. How would I leave myself behind? Would I die slowly or quickly? Which organ would the tumor invade first and what would that entail? Would I be in a wheelchair?
Simply waking up in the morning with my arm completely asleep would make my mind immediately think that my body was shutting down-that the tumor had started to take over. But thankfully my arm always woke up. And I always woke up.
I still thankfully wake up every day and am amazed that 4 wonderful years have passed since that day. (Thank God!!!) It frankly blows my mind and is hard to put into words. I try to stick with the positive when possible and know that every day is what I consider extra time here, whether that day is good or very good.
Peace to all!
Today, I am grateful for: a wonderful day of charity & friends, time with my fiance, everything about today and for all my 'extra time' here, God's blessings and family!