Hello! Sorry it’s been so long since I have posted, I can’t believe it, almost a year. I attended the 4th Heat It To Beat It walk in Baltimore last September. I will attend again this year. This year the walk won’t be around the inner harbor, but at the Baltimore Zoo! I love zoos so am looking forward to it.
I was also an advocate mentor again in San Diego for the Scientist-Survivor Program and the American Association for Cancer Research. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed the weather after a rather awful Chicago winter!
I have been busy. I work full time as faculty in a college nursing program and I am going to school for my Master’s Degree at Purdue University. I have one more year and then I will graduate. For awhile my family was paying for four tuitions! I was going to both Loyola and Purdue (I got a graduate certificate in oncology from Loyola while I was working on my masters). My two daughter were also in college. Now we are down to just one tuition, mine! My daughter’s have graduated. My youngest will be getting married this October. I have been able to be here for so much, they were only 10 and 11 when I was given a terminal diagnosis! I am also working now as a CASA, a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. I am an officer of the court and speak on behalf of children in protective services to the courts to help find good homes and placements for them. I’ve been doing that for about a year now, I think.
A patient a few years back asked me if you ever get over the fear of recurrence. At the time I said no, I still sometimes feared it. But I am 13 years cancer free as of May 16th of this year, and I no longer fear recurrence as I once did. I know it is still a possibility, but now it’s only in the back of my mind…I don’t think I fear a recurrence of appendix cancer any more than I fear being diagnosed with a new primary. It could happen, but it no longer causes me anxiety. I did struggle for many years after completing my treatment with a profound sense of uncertainty, though, it was very difficult. I had no trust or faith in a future, I could only live one day at a time,and in actuality, that is a very hard way to live. Living every day as your last is really a very difficult way to live. We are a future oriented society.
You can guess my age, though. I was diagnosed at age 41 and am 13 years past diagnosis, so I think still deal with issues of mortality, we are, after all, mortal.