Are you ready? What an interesting question and one which has been posed many times the past few days as the date for chemo approaches. I don’t think anyone can ever be ready for a diagnosis of cancer, or any other life altering illness for that matter. There’s no way to prepare for such a diagnosis – no way to insulate yourself from the disbelief and shock – and yes, even anger. But, am I ready for what comes next? Am I ready for chemo? Surgery? Radiation? Am I really ready to fight and take on all that it entails to win this battle? How do I answer that question?
Am I ready? I’ve had mammograms, PET scans, CT scans, ultrasounds, breast MRI and other scans whose names I’ve already forgotten. I’ve been pumped so full of radioactive dye that I’m sure I glow and the space shuttle has no difficulty spotting me when it orbits over my house. I’ve had blood work, EKGs, echocardiograms, more blood draws, two breast biopsies (and one more to go), a port installed, more ultrasounds, measured with pointy sharp calipers, and still more blood draws. I’ve been poked and prodded so much that I promise I could have a meaningful conversation with an abductee! ET has nothing on me!
Am I ready? In the past month, I’ve read articles, journals, white papers, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Physicians Guide twice (all 165 pages!). Abstracts on trial studies, late breaking news, statistics, and much more, litter my desk, file cabinet and the floor. (The puppies have found the papers to be a great source of shredding entertainment!) Dr. Google became a good friend until I fired him and went for “real’ factsd. Information on alternative and complimentary therapies have been reviewed, digested, accepted, and rejected, and put on the take now or wait list. I’ve talked to surgeons, plastic surgeons, nurses, schedulers, financial counselors (everyone wants to make sure they get paid in case you don’t make it), and most importantly – survivors living AFTER cancer. Their advice is probably the most meaningful, insightful, and useful of all.
Am I ready? The pantry is stocked with crackers, bananas, applesauce and rice (BRAT diet just in case!). Snacks and drinks are packed and ready to go. I’ve purchases extra cat food, dog food, and chicken scratch (they have to eat too!). Thanks to my lovely daughter, Rebekah, and the grandchildren, we have enough home cooked meals in the freezer that Cotton and I won’t have to think about cooking a meal for weeks. The medicine cabinet is stocked with drugs to treat nausea, diarrhea, constipation, Lidocaine and saran wrap (don’t ask!), and of course, Budro’s Butt Cream.
Am I ready? I’ve prayed and have beloved family and friends from Switzerland to Argentina, New York to California, North Carolina, Utah, Texas, Colorado, and all points in between praying for me, lighting candles, meditating, and sending their healing thoughts, prayers, and energies to me. The spiritual battle began a month ago and these people have my back. They’re lifting my hands up and encouraging me every step of the way. Tomorrow, the physical part of the battle begins. Tomorrow is the first day of chemo. Tomorrow, I will no longer be simply Mary. Tomorrow, I will be a soldier – a warrior – entering battle. I will be a Marine and will kick cancer’s butt. I will give no quarter. Cancer has already interfered with my life and the penalty for what it’s done to me and my family just over the last month alone is worthy of death. Cancer will not survive. However, I will. I choose life.
Am I ready? I suppose that the reality is that no soldier – no warrior – is ever truly “ready” for battle. But, they have prepared by studying, training, and equipping themselves with the tools and skills needed to win the battle. Am I ready? Probably not, but, I am prepared. I have done all I can do and having done all, now I stand.
New International Version (NIV)
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
© Mary Kyle. 2013. All rights reserved.