Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tomorrow is just another day...

The day is winding down and tomorrow I begin chemotherapy. It is a roller coaster, a relentless journey of heartbreak, tears, giggles, discovery, friendship, family and love. The roller coaster as described is not just my own, though I like to think I am in the driver's seat. Funny thing is, as days go by and I learn and I discover more, I realize that really, I am not. Some people will say that my health is "in God's hands" and I believe this to be true. Regardless of spiritual beliefs, a certain part of me also suspects that the idiocracy of the cancer is what is really in control and that is what is unpredictable and scary.

That being said, as has been my practice where possible in my adult life, I try not to worry about what I cannot control. I am confident that we have chosen the right form of treatment. I gain more confidence every day through the incredible resources we have amassed through family and friends.

Tonight, I talked to our good family friend, Dr. Galen Hansen. While not having reviewed any of my medical records, he gave me some good indicators that I wanted to share:
  1. I had a chest x-ray on 11/17 and I never heard results. In his experience, if there was something in the x-ray that indicated more cancer or cause for concern, I would have heard by now. (This confirms the PET scan reading as well.) He says that the chest x-ray is one of the tests they use as a preliminary indicator.
  2. My liver panel (a blood test) is normal. This is one of the test results that I can view online. Dr. Hansen said that if there was cancer in the liver, the panel would read much higher.
  3. My hair falling out means that chemo is working. Chemo kills all fast growing cells; hair grows fast, i.e. if chemo is causing my hair to fall out, the cancer must be dying too. :-)

I thrive on these positive indicators. I plan to focus my energies on the positive, thus worrying about what I can control - my reaction to indicators and response to my struggles. I have to give credit here to my Weight Watcher triumphs and my Weight Watchers leader, Judy Minich. When I think about my forthcoming chemo journey, I know many of these concepts will apply.

For example, Weight Watchers teaches us to make the best decisions we can for ourselves at every meal. If the best decision we can make for ourselves at dinner is to have a piece of chocolate cake. Well, that is still the right decision for us in that moment. Therefore, as I move forward in my struggle with cancer, I plan to make the best decision I can for myself, Steve and the kids, at every moment of every day. Since I cannot worry about what I cannot control, there are no wrong decisions to be made in the short run.

Another good Weight Watchers concept is not to complain to yourself about what you can and cannot do. I still hear Judy's voice in my head when she did a role play about not wanting to exercise. It went something like, "It is too cold to excercise. I do not want to, " said in a two-year-old tone of voice. This self-defeating pity-type talk does you no good. Try it, you will feel silly. Moving forward, I know I will have moments where I may feel sorry for myself. I am thinking that mimicing myself in a two-year-old's tone of voice will get me back on track.

And I could go on and on.

Succeeding in Weight Watchers is one of my greatest accomplishments to date. I plan to carry these feelings forward, as Judy taught us to celebrate our successes no matter how small. And that is exactly what I will be doing for every success in my cancer journey and this is what I will be doing tomorrow, post chemo-treatment. After all, tomorrow is just another day....

Judy, thank you so much for all that you have taught me! You are awesome!

A special thanks to Dr. Hansen too. Especially since Steve's dad is not around to talk (what Milt did so exceptionally well), it means so much to have friends that are so close to Steve's family just a phone call away.


  1. We'll be thinking of you tomorrow and sending lots of positive energy your way.

  2. I'll be thinking about you tomorrow too. I am so inspired by your positive attitude and strength. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Best wishes today! You know I'm cheering you on. Everyone is thinking about you this week. Hang in there!! Love, Shelley

  4. Thinking of you today! Love You!!!

  5. Marsi, you will do splendidly today with your chemo nectar, can't wait to see you as a spectacular redhead. If you wish I have a good guided imagery meditation from Bellaruth Naprasat that is not hokey, very soothing voice. Blessings,Jeanie

  6. Hi there sweetie! We are thinking of you and praying every step of the way. We are just a phone call away....and sometime my "not so better half" ( I like to think I am the best half LOL!) is working in your Master bath and bedroom getting it ready for your recovery. We LOVE YOU! Liz, Tommy, TJ, and Abby too!

  7. I admire your outlook on this whole thing! Good luck tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you!!! Love, Carrie

  8. Marsi, So glad to hear about your PET scan results and Dr. Hansen's info. Just want to let you know that I find your strength and courage through this journey to be utterly amazing. You're going to win this battle! By the way, I love the thought of you streaking your hair and then going for red.

  9. Marsi:

    Today is going to be a very challenging first step but remember through it all, that it is in fact a first step towards a second and third. One step at a time, and one day at a time. You will get through this.

    I am with you today, you are in my every thought.

    Much love, hugs, and kisses,
    Jodie and Tomas

  10. Marsi, Just wanted to send our thoughts and prayers to you from your extended family in Illinois. We were saddened to hear about your diagnosis, but strengthened by your words and the outpouring of support you are receiving from your family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing your journey on this blog. Love to ALL. Dawn, Joe, Sara and Tommy Jastrzebski...Bartlett, Il