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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 11:29 pm (UTC)
Dear Lisa--I give you my thoughts and prayers. For you, your husband, your boy, your family and friends.
Jan. 12th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
Gosh, although I don't personally know you, this has hit me hard, remain strong, your attitude is admirable and inspiring to so many of us, our prayers are with you, we are always here.
Jan. 12th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
Thinking of You and Your Family
I just came over from Jennifer Laughran's blog. I'll be thinking of you and your family. There are no words to say how sorry I am.

Your post was from the heart. I felt it. It was beautiful.
Jan. 12th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
Sending love and prayers and good thoughts to you and your family.

Jan. 12th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, Lisa. Add me to the many who are sending you love.
Jan. 12th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
God bless you.
Lisa, thank you for sharing this. May there be sweetness and blessings amid the nightmare to buoy you up.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Peace and blessings to you.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
I am so sorry. I will keep you in my prayers.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
Wishing you another prayer
Lisa, Wishing you another prayer. Thinking of you.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
so, so sorry,
I saw a tweet by Ilie Ruby and found your post. Oh, how devastating. And how very cruel. I especially feel terrible for your son. He is still so little! I have a 4-year-old son.

I wish I had your strength and eloquence if I had to go through the same.

Praying for no pain and healing. This is not fair.

Dagmar's momsense
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
I am so sorry. I had a loved one get leukemia. This lovely nurse at the hospital recommended she drink juiced beets, carrots, celery, parsley, and broccoli to strengthen my loved one's immune system and to help raise up their platelets because the chemo had lowered them. She told us every one of her patients who had drunk this herbal concoction got stronger and their platelets went back to normal. I can tell you my loved one tried this, drank two cups every day during her chemo and has survived the chemo and is now cancer free.

After doing research, I found that these veggies have wonderful healing properties, is packed full of nutrients our bodies needs to fight disease and sickness, and are actually anti-cancer foods.

I suggest adding some fresh pineapple or oranges to the mix because the veggies by itself taste awful. Or, you can simply hold your nose while drinking. And if you can, try to make these veggies and fruits organic, but it's not entirely necessary.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
I don't know you, but we know some of the same people. I admire your bravery (and your writing). Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
dear lisa, sending you so much love. xoxo Cecil Castellucci
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