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I have friends who lost their daughter the day she was born.

I have a great-aunt who turns 100 next month.

We arrive in this life not knowing the length or shape of our future … but sometimes we find out.

My lifespan is going to fall squarely in the middle. I was recently diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. It has metastasized to my liver.

I’ve tried to write this blog post in my head several times, and it never sounds right. So please … forgive the blunt words. I was going to attempt eloquence, but I can’t find any.

I’ve been lucky for twenty years. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27, and I didn’t expect to make it to 32. But I did, and once I passed that five-year mark … I started to think I was going to live. At age 34, I had my beautiful son. Two years ago, my dream of being a published author came true. And during these twenty years, my beloved has been by my side. We rode the marriage roller coaster together, sometimes laughing and sometimes screaming.

So lucky.

I’m not angry about the diagnosis. How can I feel angry when I had this gift of time? I’m not even afraid of dying. We all die, and I made my peace with that a long time ago.

I’m just sad. Why does my husband have to go through this again?

And devastated. I would step in front of my son to take a bullet for him. But now I feel like the one pulling the trigger.

I had lots of travel plans and writing plans. More trips to Europe … more visits to sunny beaches … more books to write. I get at least one email a day asking me why I ended The Mermaid’s Mirror the way I did. A sequel is first on my list of projects.

But overnight, illness has become my full-time job. I have a “PICC” line inserted in my vein which is used to deliver IV nutrition directly into my body. I’ve had challenges eating, and this way I’m getting nutrition while I try to eat and drink regular food. But it requires a lot of careful, sterile work – overnight, my husband has become a caretaker. There are visiting nurses, and calls from pharmacy techs and dietitians, and prescriptions to manage, and general overwhelmed-ness.

On the love side, if the sheer number of prayers, good wishes, love, hope, flowers, meals, gifts, and letters could create a miraculous recovery, I would be healed. I haven’t even been able to thank everyone properly yet.

On the medical side, I joined a study for an experimental drug (although I ended up in the control group, which gets standard treatment). I had my first chemo treatment yesterday. Feeling okay so far.

I knew this would be a tough road, but I didn’t expect some of the obstacles … I can barely walk anymore. Some weird, rare side effect of the illness has caused swelling and painful lesions on my feet and lower legs. We’re trying to get it under control with pain meds, but it’s a process. Just like The Little Mermaid, each step I take is like walking on knives. I had to arrive for my first treatment yesterday in a wheelchair.

My fingers are getting sore and swollen, too. Typing this entry has been not just a mental challenge, but a physical one. So please forgive me if I don’t respond to comments.


That’s it for now, friends.




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Jan. 12th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Dear sweet Lisa . . . leaving a comment on your blog seems so inadequate. You deserve more, and better. Flowers, a bouquet of balloons released to the sky, a hundred thousand bluebirds sent your way.

I pray the experimental treatment turns out to be the magic charm for you. I pray for your husband and your son. And my thoughts--long-distance thoughts from Virginia--are on their way to you now. And will stay with you.

Much love,
Jan. 12th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Lisa, you are in my thoughts and prayers constantly. I admire your strength and openness, and hope that the comfort of family and friends helps bring you through each day.

I'm deeply saddened that you and your family have to go through this ordeal.

Hugs and much love from Boston. You are in my heart.
Jan. 12th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
*many thousand pashes and loves*
Jan. 12th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I am so sorry. There really aren't any words. Just know that my thoughts are with you.
Jan. 12th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Oh Lisa. I love you, and I don't know what else to say.
Jan. 12th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
I'm so very sorry. I also admire your courage and honesty. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jan. 12th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Hugs and prayers for you and your family.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Lisa, there is very little I can say here in this small comment box that can express what I'm feeling for you at this moment. Thank you for your bravery, for your honesty, for your books--your words have touched me and will never be forgotten. My prayers won't stop for you and your family, either. Never ever. Sending you much admiration and love...
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I love you, my dear sweet friend. {{{}}}
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking of you
You were already one of my inspirations in the fight against cancer and continue to be. Your strength is amazing. I'm hunting for the cure and as soon as I find it, you will be the first to know.
With love,
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Words are never enough sometimes, so please know I am sending you silent but steady love and wishes for everything you and your family need. Please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do.

Jan. 12th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
We love you, Lisa.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
I am in awe of your courage & grace. My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
Lisa, you are in my thoughts often, and I am so deeply sorry that you and your family are going through this. I will be sending waves of love and support to you. You are a beautiful, strong, wonderful person!
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Oh Lisa. My love and deepest thoughts are with you and your family now and through the days to come.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Lisa, you are handling this with so much grace and dignity I am truly inspired. But also profoundly sad.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
You are eloquent. As well as brave. Thank you for letting us know of your struggle and all the love that's touching you, too. Sending prayers.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
I shouted a few curse words while I read your entry and I'm very teary now. Oh, Lisa. Love, love, love. I'm sending you all the love I've got.
Stephanie Thompson Lawton
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Lisa ... I can barely form a cohesive sentence yet. If I could fly back out to Portland, I'd give you the giant hug I should have given you at Wordstock, I'd wave my magic wand and make it all better for you and your family. Please know that you have so many people who care about you.

I will pray like I've never prayed before for your recovery and strength for your husband and son. God bless you.

Jan. 12th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
We don't know one another. I found this entry through a post of someone who knows you on Twitter. I just wanted to say that I admire your serenity and strength in facing this latest challenge. You clearly have a lot of people supporting you, and keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. Count me among them.

Blessings and strength to you and yours.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Your kindness and generosity has meant a lot to me and, I know, many others. It's hard to fathom why such a nice person should get such a nasty disease.

I'll be thinking of you with great fondness and greaat concern.

Jan. 12th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Dear Lisa, You and your novels are such a glorious inspiration to me and so many. My heart is with you. I send you all my love and prayers and wishes and hope. Love, Jandy
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Love you, my friend! You're in my thoughts always.
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
sending my love and prayers
(no subject) - jmprince - Jan. 16th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
i am blown away by your honesty, your courage and your attitude.
my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
-erin lange
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, Lisa. I'm without words. Maybe I shouldn't say this but there are tears in my eyes. You've been one of those people first in my life when I got on LJ. I associate you with everything I regard as friendship and support and writerly kinship. You're so special to all of us, and to me. I will be rooting for you and praying.
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