Three to Six.

Monday, September 25, 2017 – I received a call from my oncologist in Houston. He was reading the results of my Pet Scan. I could hear the concern in his voice.

“It’s worse than we thought…” He continued, “It originally appeared (in the x-ray) that your tumors were shrinking. With the more thorough Pet Scan, I see that you have two new growths in your lungs, two new tumors in your neck near your spinal cord, and hot spots in your hip and pelvis—which explains why you are in such pain.” He released a deep, exhausted, defeated sigh.

“Ok, thank you. Thank you so much.” I wasn’t sure why I was thanking him. He had just given me terrible news. I always feel the need to be overly polite. Like good manners will somehow make things right, and maybe change the outcome. Three days before, he had given us great news (based on an x-ray.) Will, who spent fifteen years playing baseball, didn’t want me to celebrate or share our good news. The superstitious baseball player in him didn’t want to jinx the situation. But, I felt confident. And, I shared our positive report on social media. Big mistake. I feel so foolish. Now, I’m eating my words.

A little family time before the big call

*******

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 – Will and I met with my oncologist in Baton Rouge. She reiterated the findings of the Pet Scan. Bad news. New tumor growths. The chemotherapy just isn’t working.

I stared at my doctor. She is my age. She is intelligent. She is a mother. We have so much in common. But, our lives are so very different.

“Is it time to ask the big question?” I asked. “Is it officially time for me to ask how long I have left?” Tears welled up in my eyes.

She stared deep into my soul.

“I think it’s time to talk about the potential outcomes.” She nervously cleared her throat. “So, Veronica, when we deal with Metastatic Breast Cancer, we typically see 50% of patients live more than one year after diagnosis and 50% live less than one year after diagnosis. With your new developments, we have reason to believe that you would fall into the ‘less than one year’ category. Chemotherapy is not working in your body. Your cancer is progressing at a rapid rate. And, that is very concerning.”

My heart was racing. “How long to do I have left?”

“In your case, we would estimate 3-6 months.” She kept it together. Then she didn’t. “I’m sorry…” Her voice trailed into a whisper. “I told myself I wouldn’t cry.”

Then the doctor in the white coat wrapped her shaking arms around me. Mother to mother, we cried. We cried because we both knew the fight and the struggle. We were on the same team. We cried together for my daughters. For my husband, who sat beside me, his face buried in his hands.

“Dr. Z, I’m not sure why you decided to be a doctor,” I said between sniffles. “But, thank you. You are such a warm and compassionate person in a field that needs compassion and love. Thank you.” I said. I had a vision at that moment of a little girl, hair in golden blonde braids. She wants to be a doctor. She follows her dreams. She learns to save lives. But, she can’t save them all.

The rest of the conversation is kind of blurry in my mind. She recommended that I research hospice facilities. I needed to start getting my affairs in order. I have to start making big decisions regarding “end of life” care. Just typing this makes me want to puke.

********

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 – Will and I are on our way home from a long day in Houston. Today, we met with the Clinical Trial team at MD Anderson. They told me about a clinical trial that involves immunotherapy. Rather than fighting the cancer cells, immunotherapy focuses on building the immune system. Side effects are minimal. And, I would only have to go to Houston once every three weeks. I have to wait for two weeks to find out if my cancer is the type of cancer that qualifies for the study.

I am in excruciating pain because of the tumor that is growing around my pelvic bone. It hurts to sit, to lie down, to cough, to breathe. So, I will receive radiation next Wednesday to target the groin area in hopes of getting some relief.

In our fave spa- Le Chateau de Monsier Anderson

*******

In the meantime, people send me all kinds of information on cures and miracle regimens. Cottage cheese, vegan diet, ketogenic, camps in Germany, etc. Essenial oils, magic mouthwash, Chia Pets, mushroom tea. My brain spins thinking of it all.

So, I’m doing what I know how to do best. I’m eating salads with the occasional cheeseburger and cold beer. Balance and prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

*******

How are we doing? Ask ten times and you’ll get ten different answers. When I see my babies, I am filled with joy (and sometimes exhaustion.) They bring me so much love and laughter. They shine so much light into this painfully dark situation.

I see the hurt in Will’s face. He’s afraid. Neither one of us were ready to hear “Three to Six.” I just want to hold him close to me. I want to dance on the beach with him just like we did the night we got married. I want that innocence back—where the world was our newly-wed oyster.

Our parents are so generous. They will do anything to keep things normal in our home. Piano practice, homework, gymnastics all revolve around mommy’s naps and daddy’s work. And, my parents and Will’s parents never complain. They are so good and kind and loving.

I have moments at night where I will be a few words into my nightly prayer. I’ll look at Natalia and I’ll lose it. Tears streaming down my face as I whisper the simple word “why.” I think of Nina. She’s only two. She may not remember me. I’m recording videos and writing letters for the girls. But, I want her to remember the way I look and sound and feel. And, I’m afraid that may not happen. And, that is so painstakingly difficult.

********

One of my dearest friends came to visit me last weekend. She dropped everything, booked a flight from NYC, and showed up on my doorstep. We laughed, reminisced, had a few great meals. We danced. Then, we sat (out of breath) laughing at how we used to dance for hours. She, my sister, was such good medicine. She is such a blessing—a beautiful sister in Christ who reminded me of so many things I needed to hear. As she left, we had a hard cry and maybe a last goodbye.

She reminded me that as we pray for miracles and healing, we must remember that these prayers may be answered in ways that don’t make sense right away. I have a very strong feeling that I am being healed. And, that I may be living a miracle already. I choose to believe that brilliant things are happening in my life—things that I don’t even realize. And, that gives me great peace.

Felecia is like my cool and beautiful big sis who lives in Manhattan.

*******

As we move forward, we can’t help but watch the calendar. I pray that as time moves forward, I will not suffer. I pray that this doesn’t drag out into some sad long story. I pray for mercy. I pray that my children and husband don’t have lasting memories of mommy being immobile or in excruciating pain. I pray they are spared. I pray that if cancer does take my life in 3-6 months, it doesn’t happen at Christmas. My oldest child was born on Christmas Day. I pray that I don’t ruin this beautiful time of year for the people I love the most. I pray that 3-6 is some bunk estimate. I pray that I will be here for Mardi Gras and family vacations, and summer time, and more and more and more life.

So, now we are going to just keep living… to keep praying… to keep experiencing God in the obvious and not-so-obvious ways. No skydiving. No bull named FuManchu. Maybe a few extra servings of dessert and a couple of fun family trips. That’s the plan. Please keep praying. God is listening. And, beautiful things are happening. We can’t give up hope.

Love, love, love,

VSW

17 thoughts on “Three to Six.

  1. Veronica, I have been following your story. As I read, I wept. I’m still weeping. But with every tear I am praying fervently. For every single request you are petitioning the Lord for I join with you! Mercy, pain control, beautiful Christmas memories & celebration, abundance of the love of the father lavishing a grace & peace on all of your days and a healing only he can provide. Prayers for your husband & beautiful daughters & family….. Veronica…. when I read your story & see your picture….. the thought in my heart is ” there you are”
    A fellow sister in Christ,
    Sending agape love & heartfelt prayers.
    Shannon

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you know what to say after reading your words? I’m so sorry doesn’t seem adequate enough. My heart is breaking, but nothing in comparison to yours or your loved ones. My prayers are for your hopes & prayers to be answered & for God to hold you all in His loving arms for comfort & peace. Much love, Rita Wade

    Like

  3. No words, except that you are an amazing young lady. My heart is breaking for you and your family as my prayers continue for you all.

    Like

  4. Just WOW. Thinking about your words and the description of your actions and all of the… everything that surrounds you (love, fear, victories, defeats, no so obvious blessings) is so hard for my limited brain to process. Those words are the most powerful shrinking ray that blasts my “problems” to crumbs.

    You make the right decision to write (and live) with courage and light and all of those things that ONLY God could give. Thank you for blessing me as I sit here at 4 AM waiting for my boys to go back to sleep. I am praying for earthly healing. I am praying for God’s will. I am praying for consolation for potential broken hearts.

    Like

  5. Dear Veronica- I am praying for you & your family- praying for you to heal, mercy & peace,
    I am so sorry that you are having to fight this nasty cancer/ keep dancing!
    Love ❤️ you! Letha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pray for you and your family. Although my heart melts at the thought of your babies, I know that God has a Plan for you, He always does.
      Keep SMILING, PRAYING, and LIVING❤
      You are Victorious 💖💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. I feel your journey through your words. More importantly, your words paint a picture of living. I pray for you and your family; for God’s strength, peace, and understanding .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Precious lady, I just read your post and you touched my heart in ways you’ll never know. I will pray for you and your family as hard as I’ve ever prayed for anyone. Continue to journal your feelings. Somehow, I think this helps. I see rhat your oncologist is in Baton Rouge. I’m about 2 1/2 hours from there, but have family there. If there is anything, I mean ANYTHING, I /we can do for you, please let me know. I am on Facebook and Messanger. If you want my phone number, just message me. I’m a 73 year old widow that needs to help others.
    God is in control and we have to “let go and let Him.” I know that this is easier said than done, but it’s what the Bible tells us to do. Live each day to the fullest loving your family, whether it’s a few months or many years. That’s what we should do every day, anyway.
    I love you, my sister in Christ.
    Kay Wilkinson

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I read your blog because Zee Ali posts them and I have followed your journey. If it puts your mind at rest, know this: I lost my mother to cancer at the age of 7. She was in hospital for nine long months before God mercifully took her so from the age of 6 1/2 I had to be content with visits by her hospital bed every evening after school. A child NEVER forgets the sound of her mother’s voice, the feel of her arms and the gentle kiss on your cheek. My mother couldn’t leave blogs and there were very few photos of her holding me but I still feel her. Today I am a wife, mother and now grandmother and I can still smell her talcum and feel her sari . Occasionally I hear her voice gently reprimanding me and I can still see her smile. Your girls will grow up like I did with a loving father and relatives but there will always be a little vacuum that nothing will truly fill and that’s your space in their hearts. Go forward with strength, love and belief. Do not go gentle into that good night but go knowing a lot of friends and strangers are rooting for you. God bless

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Put time in a category, that is not a priority! And take each day with family and friends and live each moment with memories that fill your heart. Your life sounds beautiful, Husband two children, and extended family that love you. Enjoy what you have now.
    Healing 💕
    Cathy

    Like

  10. I have been following your journey.
    I am praying for complete healing and peace for you Veronica. What a beautiful brave wife, mother daughter to inspire so many with your thoughts and feelings in the face of what you’re going through.
    I’m sure many people like myself that don’t know you personally are praying hard for you and your precious family. Stay strong

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Veronica, I remember you so very well as you were growing up. You were raised by two of the most awesome parents in the world. As I read your blog, I was reminded of your gentle and quiet spirit having grown into your adulthood. I’ve never met Will and his parents, but I feel like they must be as special as you and yours. Natalia and Nina are truly blessed to have you and all of them in their lives. You’re giving them such a powerful and loving legacy….that will forever live on in them. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ms Ruby! Thank you for the kind words. I am surrounded by the most wonderful people. I am so incredibly blessed. I hope you are well. Love and blessings to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I read your words, and there He is in the midst of them. Thoughts of you and your life’s journey make my days more meaningful and purposeful. Thank you, Veronica. When my mother was very ill years ago, a well meaning friend of hers said to me… “I hear that your mother is dying. “. I was so upset BUT GOD whispered in my ear…. And Janie you and this friend are dying, too. Somehow that eased the blow to know He knew my days and my mother’s and her friend’s, too. My mother defied all the odds given to her time and time again, and as she did, she reminded me often that doctors don’t have all the answers….after all….they’re just practicing….practicing medicine. The Great Phycian holds you in His magnificent hands. Praying and sending heartfelt admiration for you, His precious child! Janie Purvis

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s