Friday, 3 October 2008

I Have A Date...

Gosh, I have so many things going on inside of me lately, so much to think about, so many lessons hurtling at me as if in desperation to get me to see what is right under my nose if only I would let myself look. I am such a mixture of wisdom and absolute folly that I sometimes despair of ever knowing myself completely. I shift and change like sands, I yearn and search and come up empty and then I stop and the room is spinning and I start to recognize shapes taking form, winding down, coming into focus. I am at a turning point, a crossroad, one of those times in life that is never forgotten, where you feel yourself become something different, something more, something takes shape through a whirlwind of such pain and sadness, something almost sacred, a rare gift that is hard won and all the more precious for it. There are times in a life, where everything you thought you knew, all you believed and all you held as a yardstick, all of it is just thrown up into the air and scattered around you like so many dry leaves caught in a gust of wind. I am not making much sense and I guess it doesn't matter really does it? I am feeling so many different things - all of them important and all of them deserving of time and thought and examination which is what I have been doing lately, giving myself time to sort through a maelstrom of thoughts and beliefs and making room for the new, for the sometimes startling revelations that are taking shape. I have had so much I have wanted to share and yet I have not had command enough of those things to just toss them out to you, I have needed to savor them somewhat, turn them around in my mind, try them on if you will, get them worn in a little before I commit them to posterity. Even now these things that are so important are also so brand new that I am protective of them in some ways and yet I need to share what I can.

I am quite sure that I am making no sense right now, I only know I needed to get words down because I feel the pressure of limited time. The things I have to tell you that are of immediate importance are these, I am off to Peter Mac on Wednesday afternoon, to be operated on first thing Thursday morning. I am nervous (understatement) but the alternative is not viable. I have done my homework in regards to not having this surgery, it could mean dying a very painful and quite slow death. As my doctors/surgeons/oncologists explained to me (and are all in agreement) some cancers will kill you fairly painlessly, mine is not one of them, mine is an agonizing spiral into death, I would require massive amounts of drugs to stay comfortable, believe me when I say massive I mean amounts that would absolutely shock you, I am already on so much medication that it is a wonder I can string words together coherently at all, my Pain Specialist has said that the amounts I am needing mess with a persons head and they are messing with mine there is no doubt of it and yet, incredibly, I have been able to find some clarity and this is due in no small measure to love and care from those dearest to me, if not for that I would have curled up in a little ball and died quite some time ago. I digress, all my team are agreed that I need to try this surgery. If it works it will give me back some quality of life, there are no guarantees that it will work, I am prepared for the worst as all concerned have been very honest with me. If it doesn't work and I am still in a lot of pain, my Pain Specialist (Brian) has a few tricks still up his sleeve but this is still worth trying even so because if it does work it will be much more effective, however, there is an operation that can be done that Brian has done in the past on a man dying of aids. The man had still some time left but was in agonizing pain, Brian and his colleagues did this particular surgery on him (cannot recall the name but it involved the nerves and the spine), the guy went on to live another 5 years full of quality which is what I hope for now. I have learned that there are things worse than death. We are taught to be afraid of death and that it is the enemy, in reality, death is kind, being alive and in agony is cruel and debilitating, death, I believe is a celebration for the person concerned, it is just so darn hard for the ones left behind. Anyway, I will just get this post done, I have so much more that I want to say but for now I will get down the facts just so that those who care know what is going on. I am to have the surgery Thursday morning, I will be under for a minimum of 8 hours, probably a lot longer and some people have been under for over 20 hours. I will require blood transfusions. If need be I will be put in an induced coma for 24 hours to allow a machine to breathe for me. I am then to stay in Intensive Care (ICU) for approximately 3 days where I will be fed intravenously, then for 2 weeks I will stay in hospital having some rehabilitation. When I come home I will need a lot of help, I am told I will have energy enough to shuffle to the kitchen and take my medications, have my wash (my bathroom will be modified) and that will exhaust me for the day. A long slow recovery will follow, approximately 3 months before I stop feeling tender from surgery. David (Jack's Dad) is on long service leave from his teaching position, he will stay in my home with Jack and take care of him, get him to and from school etc whilst I am in hospital, he will stay on for a few days following my arrival home as well and then he will move to a little bedsit around the corner for a few months so he is nearby to help me take care of Jack which is wonderful and I couldn't ask for anything better, he is wonderful with Jack and I am completely at peace knowing that Jack is with his Daddy who loves him dearly and has his best interests at heart all of the time. My Mum will be doing my washing, looking after my needs whilst I am in hospital and also helping out when I get home and staying over if necessary. My nearest and dearest will also do everything they can to help, my sisters are ready (both of them) and everyone, friends, family, ex-husbands, puppy, girlfriend of Jamie, the guy at the corner store LOL!! is being really great! So - I am terrified and it certainly is a very big operation and there are no guarantees I will even come out of it alive, however, I believe I am in the best hands possible in this country and I will have faith that all will be okay. I will do another post before too long if my pain levels stay at a reasonable level, I have been back to Hospice and have the Ketamine attached to me again as the tumor is pressing on my nerves and causing agony. My stories of pain and debilitation are many and varied and to be quite honest suicide has been like the golden egg for quite some time now for me, however, with a lot of love, a lot of asking for what I need, a lot of prayer, a lot of prayer being answered, a man with a white beard and a list of credentials as long as your arm (no not Santa) in the area of pain management and a heart that for some reason reached out and embraced mine, I have been able to believe there may be alternatives even still and been granted some peace of mind for part of each day, enough to keep me going at least which is no small thing when you have been where I have been. Yes there are things worse than death but fortunately, for me, there is still life, even if my operation is not a success, Brian has not finished with me, when I have exhausted all possibilities then perhaps suicide will indeed be the golden egg and if it is, so be it, I have learned that there is a place and a time for dying, I don't believe in taking our own lives at all, my father did that many years ago, he felt he had no choice, he felt it was the honourable choice and I am not in any position to say otherwise nor shall I ever but I do believe we must hold each human life with such great tenderness and reverence and do all we possibly can to support it - I do know with 100 per cent certainty we must never judge, never, ever judge. When a person is dying of a terminal illness I am not sure that the taking of that life should even be called suicide at all, it becomes something else entirely that we perhaps need a new name or word for. Ending human suffering when there is no hope in the very short term is to my mind compassionate and should be the choice of the individual, to be made at a time previous if so desired, so that when the mind becomes addled with medication and pain the difficult choice has been made. It is not something to be done lightly of course, in fact it is one of the weightiest human issues on this planet I believe but to leave a human being in pain and discomfort just for the sake of not wanting to end a life is not adequate in any way, shape or form. Okay so this post has kind of been all over the place, I am mentioning snippets of things that I feel I want to talk about in greater detail individually but I don't have time so this is just what it is, a messy, all over the place post touching on a few things of importance to me and an explanation of what is going on over the next few weeks. I don't know whether I will continue blogging, I certainly haven't kept my blog running in the manner I had envisioned for it but perhaps when surgery is over and I am at home recovering I will be able to put some sense of order into my thoughts and clarify what I have learned into some semblance of intelligent composition. I may post a couple more times before Wednesday but no promises. I do want to thank the folk that have remained true to me and come along with me on this journey, supporting me even in the leaner times and at times when I have seemed perhaps uncaring or neglectful, you are so very special to me and I thank you once again for reading what I have written.

30 comments:

  1. Wow, Jen... There are so many powerful + poignant thoughts in this post. It hate to think of all that has happened to bring such clarity, but I'm really grateful that you're sharing it.

    So grateful for your ex stepping up like that. And your corner grocer ;)

    Praying for you, girl. You remain a rock star. I trust they'll treat you like one :)

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  2. I didn't feel like your post was all over the place. It was heartfelt and pure you! Thanks for taking the time to share with us before you begin your incredible adventure. I won't take time to respond to all the details, just know that I will continue to pray for you. Even though we have never met I consider you a dear friend. Much love, Debbie

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  3. I'll hold you in my thoughts and in my heart, dearest.

    Much love,
    Danielle

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  4. I share what the others have said about much clear thought in this post, and wish you luck and comfortable healing.

    Is there anyone who could step in with a guest post to update us about you and your surgery? We all would want to know....

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  5. Dear Jen, For those of us who might like to send a little something to brighten your day, are you willing/able to provide an address where said item(s) could be sent? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be interested in doing so. Also, for Jack. It would be lovely for him to receive a surprise or two to brighten his day. Kristen in California

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  6. All I can think of to say is love, love, love to you and strength Dear One. Strength beyond all strength you've known--I'm sending you some of mine over the thousands of miles...

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  7. Jen,

    Praying for peace in your heart and mind before your life-giving surgery. God is so much bigger than all of this and you will come out the victor!

    Know He'll be with you every possible step of the way. And with the surgeon's that they will do their very best work to give you back a peaceful and healthy life you so deserve!

    I'll be in prayer for you this entire week! God will do the rest!

    Love, Hugs & Smootches!
    Kat

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  8. Jen -

    Love and Peace and Prayers to you! You are a brave brave woman and I am so glad that you have caring and knowledgable doctors and support for you at home.

    I will be thinking about you!! Love, Susan

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  9. Jen - I wish you all the love and care that you require. I admire your bravery! I know you will fight through this. I will be with you in spirit every step of the way. My arms are wrapped around you. hugs Lisa

    P.S. Not that you need to worry about this, but if your ex could maybe post an update about your surgery it would be very appreciated.

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  10. Jen, I will be thinking of you and you will be in my prayers ~ you are such a brave and wonderful lady and you deserve for this to go right and I pray it will all work out in the long term. Take care my dear friend, sending you all the love in the world XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  11. Dear, dear Jen. You said this post was "messy." I say it's honest. And beautiful. You laid your soul bare here in a way I haven't seen you do before. Your spirit is strong and lovely. You are brave and beautiful, even when you feel small and scared. I wish I could be in Australia with you, doing whatever you need, but you sound like you'll be well cared for. So I'll do what I can here in Pennsylvania: pray for you and carry as much of your burden as the mysteries of metaphysics allows. Love and peace to you, dear one.

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  12. Jen, I understood your post perfectly. How beautiful you are.

    The very best, you will be in my prayers. Hope we hear from you here again. If not...much love, much life.

    Love, Cindy in Canada

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  13. You are one cool woman. I'm thinking of you and sending continued hope and support to you and your incredible team.

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  14. You are an incredible human being, I hope you know - and believe - that. You will be in my prayers.

    Ginny

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  15. i am sick and feel like crap. but nothing like the pain you are in. so i must say , i have no idea where you get your strength. you are a strong woman indeed. i am praying for you and God willing, you will get through this all fine. my heart also goes to your wonderful mom. this must be very hard on her indeed. we love you. we are right here.

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  16. Dear Jen - Your post was well written and to the point. I will be praying hard for you on surgery day. You have a great support team organized to get you through your recovery. As many other posters from the "States" have remarked, I wish I could be in Australia to offer assistance...so many people are rooting for you! God Bless, Sheila from west Michigan

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  17. Dear Jen - I'm always in awe of the strenght you display. I'll join everyone praying for you and that God's will be done. Blessings to you and your precious boys.

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  18. Jen,  You'll do fine with the surgery. I'll keep you in my prayers.I'm glad Jack's dad is going to be there for him. Sending my love!
    Hugs,
    Dodie

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  19. Jen I am sending you all the absolutely very best for Thursday - you are an amazing lady, a wonderful Mum, and an inspiring soul. My thoughts will be with you. I wish I could say more, I really don't know what else to write except thank you for sharing as you've done with us, you are amazing.

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  20. Hi Jen,

    Just caught up on everything. I just want to send you all my love and prayers, and I will be thinking of you on Wednesday and always.
    You are AMAZING.

    Lot and lots and lots of Love
    Leeannexxxx

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  21. Dear Jen,

    I am happy for you that you made your decision and scared for you. I am crying as I read this post....I know it has been so hard to make this decision. Please know that I will be thinking, praying, hoping, wishing everything good for you, Jack and Jaime as Thursday approaches.
    annie

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  22. dear jen, you are such an inspiration. HUGS!!!

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  23. Jen: I am thankful that you will be going through this surgery and that you will most likely get the relief you need to continue to be a good Mom to Jack and friend to the many who love you. And that you have this awesome Santa Claus in pain management with tricks up his (red?) sleeves should more be needed. Golod luck to you and may you feel as if God is holding you in the palm of his hand.

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  24. Hi dear Jenni,
    Your surgery is already on wednesday. I was thinking about it and came here to check it out. Count on me to pray and send good vibrations and love toughts.
    About death - for me it is just another life. Think about your soul, we all have a soul, a spirit and death doesn't exist, the lack of love is the worse thing in life.
    You're in the hands of Angels.
    Love
    Bete

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  25. Dear, dear Jen. I realized this time must be near, but here it is. I hope you know that my prayers are constant and earnest. My heart embraces you and your family. I believe God will have you in his arms.

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  26. Jen - God be with you and your surgeon. You will be ever in my prayers.

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  27. I will keep you in my prayers Jenni! Hang in there :)

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  28. Thinking and praying for you today! Sheila from west Michigan

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  29. Jenni, I am backtracking on the post because I have not been here in a few weeks. I read David's post and then started going back to find out what was happening.

    I have to tell you, honestly, your words have never had more clarity that they do to me right now. I heard and understood eveything that you said. You are a brilliant expressor of your inner being. You have blown me away with this post. I am crying for you.

    Ruthie from California

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  30. Hey Jen! Hang in there! Pelvic Exteneration is a scary word! I remember very well! I had one April 15th 2008! I am on the road to recovery! 50/50 chance that they got all of the cancer and they think they did!!! Prayer does alot for a person and I think you have many praying for you and I will be one of them

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