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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 11:59 pm (UTC)
God bless you.
Lisa, thank you for sharing this. May there be sweetness and blessings amid the nightmare to buoy you up.
Jan. 12th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Oh Lisa.

I am so sorry. I don't have words sufficient to tell you how sorry I am that you are suffering, how much I wish this weren't visited upon you and your children. You are such a blessing to me--have been, since the time we first met online, to the many times you've encouraged and supported me over these past years. And now...it's my turn to support and encourage you. Just tell me, tell us what you need, and you can consider it done. I will pray for you, as well as for those who have been touched by your life in any way. (Seems to me, that's just about everyone in the whole wide world.)

Tell you what: I am going to talk to my friend Linda about you! (Link below.) She went through the same things you're going through now, and as her friend, I accompanied her on that journey. I'm sure she'll have a few choice words for God, given these circumstances. Also...she'll no doubt be embracing you with loving thoughts, as will I:
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.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
You're in my thoughts every day.
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
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
I read your blog for the first time, and am touched... Your body may be ravaged by the disease, but your heart and soul are strong and pure. Sending Blessings...
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
i am so, so sorry. sending you and your family so many prayers.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
Thinking of you, beaming you extra strength. My brother battled this and called it 'the hand' he was 'dealt.' Any of us siblings would have traded hands with him to spare him; I'm sure there are many who feel the same for you.
Deborah McMillan Brent
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you don't have more time. From your post, I know you will face this with grace and dignity. My thoughts and prayers are there for you and your family.
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
You are inspirational. You are in my prayers. Prayer for healing, strength and peace for you and your family. Prayer of hope.
Ilene Wong
Jan. 13th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
More love, more prayers
Would that I could be as graceful and eloquent in my sorrow as you are in your pain.

We love you, Lisa.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
oh Lisa. I am so sorry.
Love, Love, BIG LOVE

I am always here... LLHamor at mac dot com

Jan. 13th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
Your post
I'm here from Theresa Milstein's facebook post. You and your family are in my prayers....
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
I'm inspired by your strength and outlook in the wake of this difficult time. On this simple day, you've given me a moment to hug my kids tighter and think, once more, about time. All the best, Julie
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Sending so much love and respect, and many, many hugsand prayers your way, Lisa.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Lisa, I keep searching for words that could possibly come close to meaning what I feel in my heart for you. I am awestruck by your grace and I am just so so sorry you are having to face this. And sorry your family is having to face it too. You will all be in my prayers. I wish you strength and healing and so much more.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Sending so much love and respect, and many, many hugs and prayers your way, Lisa.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Thank you for such an honest, beautifully written & powerful post.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
There is Hope
A good friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a 99% chance of dying within two months. She fought it with everything she had, for her children. She is now cancer-free for six years and going strong. Keep fighting. You're a fighter. I'm sorry it's so painful. You are in my prayers.
Jan. 13th, 2011 01:29 am (UTC)
I read your post hours ago and couldn't bring myself to comment then. I've been thinking about you, about your family, about life and the unfairness of it all. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. You all are in my prayers. I wish I had more than words and wishes for you. xo
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