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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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Feb. 24th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC)
You are so missed already, Lisa. So very missed and so very loved.
Feb. 24th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
I never had the chance to meet you, but I am crying for you and your loved ones. You are all in my thoughts.

Feb. 24th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
I am too late and feel a sense of sadness and loss. Lisa's last post will remain with me always. So elegant. So brave. So positive. Her beautiful family is in my prayers. Kittie Howard
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
I just learned of this and am weeping. My deepest condolences to Lisa's husband and son and family. God bless you all. You're in my prayers.
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
You are already missed, Lisa.

My love to your family. I hope they find solace and peace in their memories.
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
Godspeed, Lisa.

Prayers for your family, especially for your son and husband. May God bless you and grant you peace.
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
To Lisa's beautiful family, I have been praying for you for the past two months and will continue to do so. Lisa was a beautiful bright light and through her work and through you, she will continue to shine. My prayers are with you. May God make His presence undeniably known and comfort you in this time when words cannot.
Feb. 24th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
Rest in Peace
"It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you."
Feb. 24th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
To Lisa's family I offer my thoughts and prayer.
Feb. 24th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
To Lisa's Family, you had a wonderful woman in your midst and she's gone far too soon, but her life and love lives on in her books. She was a brilliant person and will be sorely missed. Please accept my condolences.
Feb. 24th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your heart with so many, Lisa. My deepest sympathy for the family and friends you left behind.
Feb. 24th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
To Lisa's family.
Lisa's writing was a treasure I shared with my teens and we are stunned into quiet with this news of her passing.
Feb. 24th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
To Lisa's beloved friends and family
Wishing you strength and peace and courage during this unbearably difficult time. Try to draw on the strength that Lisa possessed during her battle with this incredibly unfair and infuriating disease. Take solace in the fact that she is out of pain. She has left a legacy and made a mark on this world. Know how much she was loved and how she holds a place in so many people's hearts. I am truly sorry for your loss.
Feb. 24th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
I just heard. And my heart is breaking all over again.My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Your words will keep you with us, forever.

Wherever you are, I hope you are without the pain.
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
such sad news to hear of her passing... I'll keep her and all of her family in my prayers.
Denise of Ingleside, PEI
Feb. 24th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
My deepest condolences to Lisa's family and friends. Her passing is a tremendous loss to all of us.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Feb. 24th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
I finished reading The Mermaid's Mirror, literally, minutes before I heard the news of Lisa's passing. The letter from Lucy to Lena took on a whole new meaning.
My family and I will continue to pray for Lisa, for the happy repose of her soul, and for her family. Love for the Madigan's. Lovelovelovelovelove, and a million times love.
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Sweet sweet Lisa - I just heard about your next journey and am saddene.

Thought we got to see you fly high in this life - I know you will soar even higher in the next.

We will miss you and your words but know your inspiration will never go away.

Fly High!
Feb. 24th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
I am so sad to hear the news of Lisa's passing. My condolences to her family and friends.
Feb. 24th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
Bless your family. The world misses you. Please rest in peace.
Feb. 24th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
Lisa, thank you for writing beautiful books I love to give to my library patrons. You will be so missed.
Feb. 24th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Can't believe the news. Really I hope you find rest and keep telling stories to others around you wherever you are. We'll miss you here!
Lm Preston
Feb. 25th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
A wonderful gift
My heart goes out to you warrior woman, because you have been fighting a long time. You never let anyone tell you what your end may be, no one ever knows how your story may be told.

My cousin passed away from cancer, and I remember telling him this one thing. It's funny because I didn't realize what I said until he hugged me and said thank you. So I will share it with you.

The time from which you were given your diagnosis is a time of closure. Not many people that leave this life ever have the opportunity to tell those that they love how they feel. Or to cherish the shortening time of their lives. Many take it for granted. I should know as I've had lots of tragedies happen around me, like when another dear cousin was murdered in her 20's with her children in the home. Take every moment and savor it, since I lost my cousins within the same year, I have lived by that principle.

Your family, your precious son, is in my deepest most prayers. Bless you.
LM Preston
Feb. 25th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
You made me cry. You made me want to hug you and I don't even know you. You are amazing. I'll pray for you. I send you my happy thoughs, energy and love. God Bless you.
Feb. 25th, 2011 08:49 am (UTC)
I will miss you... i
Lisa, I was so happy to hear from you on Facebook after so many years...when you didn't answer my last message I just waited. I didn't mind waiting since we'd already waited so long. Today, I understand why you may not have been able to write...That's ok Lisa. We can wait to catch up with each other in the next life...I've missed you so much in this one...
Feb. 25th, 2011 11:44 am (UTC)
May you write your stories on the wings of angels and entertain the billions of eager listeners up above. May God bless you and your family.
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