Sunday, July 12, 2015

Life On Hold

I once worked with an artist who seemed to think that time stood still - at least while he was working on a project. The "deadline" was not a date on the calendar or an hour during the day; it was whenever he finished. When he was zoned in, it was as if the world around him was frozen in time.

For the moment, the world around us continues to move. Other people are going about their work, their friendships, their family functions. Life goes on.

For Donna-Lane and I, it is as if our life is in suspended animation, on hold, awaiting the results of her pending surgeries and how the doctors interpret what they find.

Each time we've had a medical meeting the past month, there's been a new "wrinkle." The spots on the mammo, which the subsequent biopsy determined were malignant. As D-L was tracking toward breast surgery, a PET scan revealed a possible issue with her gallbladder. We knew she had gallstones, discovered earlier this year - after thinking for years it was an esophagus issue - and knew something would probably have to be done sooner or later. But the spectre of cancer there had never occurred to us.  (And it may not be, but they will remove the troublesome organ and then do the tests.) The same PET scan also highlighted a small, yet unknown hot spot next to an intestine, so they'll extract and examine that too. Until they reach conclusions on the gallbladder issue, the breast surgery is in a holding pattern.

It's possible all her surgeries could be done by the end of the month, and we head back down to Argeles-sur-mer for most of August. Maybe still do the Scotland house-swap in September. That's best-case scenario.

It's also possible she'll require chemo to make sure there's no more cancer anywhere in her body. For that, we'll remain close to the hospital in Geneva, for the most part, for perhaps the rest of the year.

We'll have a better idea, we think, later this week. Fingers, toes, arms, etc. crossed for good news.

I would encourage you to check out D-L's two blogs:
http://breastisyettocome.blogspot.fr/
http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.ch/

I know I sound syrupy at times, but Donna-Lane has an amazingly positive attitude, including when faced with adversity. She finds the fun and humour in any situation. Yes, she's scared about going under the knife and anesthetic. Yes, she'd rather be sitting on the beach watching the sun come up. Or exploring a museum or 12th-century castle. Or checking out the fresh veggies on the marche.

On Monday when she checks into the hospital, she'll get to know the doctors and nurses, as she does with taxi drivers, waiters, and strangers we meet on the street. In her way, she'll make them feel better about themselves and their roles. After the operation(s), when she's conscious again, she'll write about the experience so others may be informed, encouraged.

And, when she's healed and better than ever - however short or long it takes - we'll start the clock again on the rest of our lives. Full expecting that whatever we plan, there will be surprises to be dealt with.

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