Optimistically Resilient

We knew deep down that the battlefield has changed. The CT scan Bobbi went through last week showed no liver spots to be biopsied. Naturally we were elated. Christmas miracle. The doctor performing the procedure even said the spots might have been inflammation from her first bile duct stent falling out and going through her system. Nothing to be seen meant the cancer hadn’t spread right?

Well, he’s not a oncologist. And after discussing it with three unrelated oncologists we learned that her pancreatic cancer did in fact spread to the liver. It has metastasized. We met with a new doctor, Tuesday, before her chemotherapy treatment and she confirmed things. The reason the spots were not seen by the CT was because her first two sessions of six treatments of chemo decimated them. Which is good news, yet learning that her cancer has in fact spread, and how we learned of it, was heartbreaking. There more than likely won’t be whipple surgery. Plans are now to do two more sessions of chemo, PET scan, then radiation for five weeks, once a day on the tumor in her pancreas.

Bobbi took the news good as one could I guess. At least we now have clarity she said. We wanted to believe this and that, hope for the best, but reality has a way of slapping you in the face no matter what your wishes are. It’s Thursday, we took a nice drive to get out of the house, talk, and went out to dinner. Have had lots of talks of late. Putting all the cards on the table, not trying to convince ourselves jacks are queens and hearts are spades. Three different doctors have been involved, many different scans at different hospitals, and everyone assumed that the other had informed us about it spreading, when in fact we never knew and had to learn about it in the manor we did. Doesn’t change anything. It is what it is. Can get angry and I want to jack people up but it wouldn’t do any good. It’s also isn’t an automatic death sentence. Because we may have a good idea what may eventually lead to our crossing over doesn’t mean you stop living, laughing, or loving. I know, with my heart having a full metal jacket in it with 19 stents, and complications from the open heart surgery, that it will probably be what does me in. Yet I’ve been battling the challenge seven years now when told one to three years at the max. You just never know. To start digging your grave because of bad news is nonsense. Bobbi shared she’s been aware of it for sometime in the back of her mind. Again wanting to hope for the best, yet still knowing deep down that Twisty had more tentacles unseen but felt.

Physically she is doing well. This last session has left her joints sore and numb. Fatigue hasn’t kicked in yet, but know some will soon, is tender in midsection. Has medication for discomfort and anxiety. Was assured that medications would given no matter what the problem. Don’t know if they have pills to give us 10 more years, the real problem. But palliative care will help ease discomfort. I know from experience that isn’t always the case. Morphine may take the pain scale of ten down to a 6, not to mention all the BS side effects.

Tuesday night we slept for about three hours. On Wednesday night she fell asleep five minutes after her head hit the pillow. I went into the living room and just sat in the dark thinking and trying to wrap my mind around everything. I want to do whatever I can to make her smile and laugh, feel loved, and be happy. We are hoping for some years. Not stupid though. Statistics are statistics. They don’t mean much but they don’t come to be by rolling dice and adding things up. This is a terrible cancer. Once it spreads it really is a different battlefield.

Clarity is important. Bobbi is a fact person. She deals with reality pretty damn good. Right now she is assuring others that she doesn’t plan on leaving this earth soon and worried more about how loved ones will handle the news than how it will impact her life. We talk about it though. We have the tough discussions and talks that we never dreamed in a million years we’d be having. Right now we have TODAY though. That will be what we live in and take in. Optimistically resilient. Twisty is certainly going to be smacked around and choked off when it can be. We each agree that when it’s time to slide into home base it’ll be head first with plenty of dirt on us. No time for games or time spent on meaningless things. This fight is a long ways from being over! Going to have a great holiday. Going to visit with her sister Lori and Jim on Christmas, and nephew Jordan. Then when we come back our kids and grandkids will be visiting! Very excited to see and spend time with everyone. It’s been hard to get together when not knowing if there would or wouldn’t be surgery, and when it’d be if so. She is still on a high from seeing so many at her “You are Loved” party. So many people from the hospital she worked at for forty years she’s kept in contact with. The news wasn’t great, but life isn’t always great for anyone. You fight your battles the best you can, give it your best shot and live in today. None of us know what our tomorrows will hold. As a friend shares, we could get hit by a bus. We are hoping everyone a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Let this writing remind you to look at the people in your lives as if it’ll be the last day you see them, and the words shared as if the last. The fight goes on!

13 thoughts on “Optimistically Resilient

  1. Each day we wake up is another day that can be lived to the fullest. Sounds like Bobbie has a great attitude which is very important. Statistics are just that ‘statistics’. Every person is unique as is every cancer so they are really just guessing. We are as healthy and alive as we feel. Love and prayers to you both 🙂

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  2. Mike & Bobbi,

    I will refuse to “like” this news one bit nor can I hit “like” on your next post either. The blogosphere isn’t going to feel right without you two, and me especially, cause I hate when I have to have one less positive in my orbit, no matter how far the orbit reaches. Selfish of me to say. However you say it as well as anyone with fucking Cancer would…no, it’s not a death sentence, I’m living proof of that truth. And there aren’t any hard or steadfast rules in how we handle our illness or when we hear that it ran amok behind the firewall of a person we love so much we would rather everyone else drop dead. When my news came it was shocking and never have I gotten over the diagnosis at stage four death sentencing completely.

    One day I go to the ER for bad dehydration from food poisoning, and five days later I am alone at home screaming at a phone for days shaking with a bottle of morphine, a bottle of tamoxifen, and a large dose of reality. I see my port in my chest to get stuff in and stuff out of my body. Neither of which I wanted in or out. And I cry at the thought of needing a fast port. Three years later…I’m good. Okay not excellent. But I’ll be better each day. I am.

    No one can tell the patient or the love-giver how to grieve. How to deal with the news, the changes to everything ever understood as part of a life, the changes to interactions with everyone you ever knew and those you never thought you’d meet. There’s something very important about writing. It’s got spectacularly mystical powers to sooth the soul, to send out for a bit of commiseration, to understand there is an unknowable that we may think about seeing and making knowable from time to time, but never this way.

    My encouragement to you as a love-giver Mike – don’t rob Peter to pat Paul. Or as I like to say, Ringo to pay Paul, since there’s only two Beatles remaining. I hope to meet John over in the great infinite. Sure you do, back away from the drugs lady… oh right. Ahem. So, keep a few things in your world just yourself, without breaking anyone’s trust ever and use your writing to keep a personal journal, at the very least. Use a notebook, a blank or used one, or be a preteen age girl and find a spiral bound (twisty, unbound) with Justin Bieber on the cover tied up with a randomly colored wool hair ribbon. But your words deserve to spill out and find refuge for you on paper as you head into the rollercoaster of metastatic disease. Believe me I never leave the house without pen and notebook. Or go to bed, or the bathroom. You get the point.

    Keep celebrating small victories, keep being the husband who those of us who don’t have your brand of overwhelmingly big love to fall back into like the softest thing in the whole knowable world when we cannot stand on our own. We must be badass patients. We must gather our inner forces so we are strong enough trump the oncologists who are used to leading the battle and let it be known this life is led by the Patient herself, not the medical field practioners. As well as they think they know our cancer, they do not know our bodies or our souls. They do not sleep in our beds. The patient is the advocate and there’s no better person to lead the team. The runner up and until the time comes to take over temporarily when we are unable to should be the love-giver.

    That’s in some cases, but it’s rarely as understood by the patients’ partners as it would and should be by ourselves. (I dislike care-taker and care-giver because they’re misnomers – the patient is the taker of care and the giver gives us love in the best possible world. So I changed it to love giver. Because the “love you make is equal to the love you take.”)

    I bid you both TTFN because goodbye is for much later.
    With love and positive energy to you both,
    Cancer Bus Driver

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  3. Sorry to read this after what appeared to be good news in your last post. You are dealing with it so positively though and making the most of everything while you can. It is so easy to let life drift as we think we’ve got plenty of time, but none of know what is round the corner. While having a life limiting diagnosis is a blow it is also an opportunity to make the most of life, live it to the fullest and appreciate the gifts we can enjoy. Sending my best wishes to you both.

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  4. Thank you mike for sharing my prayers are going strong for you and Bobbie ❤️Your right no one knows when❤️I’m so happy to hear the kids and grandkids are coming it’s what you both need God bless merry Christmas 🎄 always kate

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  5. One day at a time. All you have to do is be here for this one day. You both have great attitudes, which is half the battle, and Bobbi seems like she isn’t running away from anything. Getting angry about the situation won’t help at all, as you said. Sending you happy thoughts from Texas!

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  6. Sweet Bobbi and Mike: My heart breaks for this latest update. I pray when my time comes that I will have the strength and wisdom you both share. You guys keep loving on each other while I keep my prayers going for you. Merry Christmas, my dear friends. 💜💜❤️💜💜

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