Well, one trip to Pittsburgh is over and done with and plans are now underway for the next one. I have to return for surgery on October 23rd at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital there at which time I will be the recipient of either an "End Colostomy" or an ilieostomy. Either way, you know know why I titled this piece "It's in the bag!" don't you?
The surgeon told me yesterday first off, there is no possibility of the tumor being removed - at all! Seems it has damaged the bone tissue in the lowest part of the spine and the pelvic floor so that removing the tumor would entail removing some sections of the spine and would weaken my body's support/stability system way more than would be advisable with an affect on the legs, back as well as damage to surrounding other organs and such.
He also said there are two possibilities with this tumor. One is that it may be it is an infection around the "hook-up" where the colon was reconnected after the resection operation three years ago and if that is the case, he will do an ilieostomy, try to treat the infection and possibly, get the colon to a point where the ilieostomy can be reversed. Won't give the best functionality but it's something.
The other option involves if they discover that the tumor really is malignant and if so, it will be deemed a case of recurring cancer which will mean an End Colostomy - no reversal possible then. Because I had radiation 3 years ago, he thinks I may have already reached to peak level of radiation you can receive or if not, I am probably quite close to that level so that leaves only the colostomy and chemo to try to keep things at bay.
Ok, neither scenario is all that hot, for sure. But I am trying my level best to do as it says in the old adage "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" Not an easy task at times but as long as those close to me try to follow that lead, we - my kids, extended family and friends and I can make the very best of what is left in my life.
There are, I am sure, plenty of folks who think they know me but who would most likely be quite surprised by my thoughts on this development in my life. Although I have been a life-long member of the Lutheran church in my community, I am probably not what many of the members would call a "good member" because I am not necessarily one of the faithful every Sunday, not always able to be a heavy contributor to the church in the financial aspect and often, can't always help out either because of having to watch the grandchildren or intermittent health issues now.
But, the fact of the matter is that I do have a very strong faith deep inside me in my Lord and Savior. I believe in the teachings of the Bible and in the tenets of my church but, sad to say, I am not always the best role model since I do indulge in a few vices here and there - nicotine for one, have always enjoyed a brew or two (or three) for openers. Plus, I can be really head-strong, stubborn as the old mule, downright obnoxious I suppose at times and have a vocabulary that might rival a lot of sailors too. Not necessarily the components of what many think of as being part of being a "Good Christian" soul.
Well, believe what you want there but God knows what is in my heart, what I have done, left undone as well and I know too that, as a sinner - which we all are, you know - he also loves and accepts me for who I am and what is inside me, not what people may think they see or know of me from the surface.
I strongly believe that life is a journey that consists of a phase where we are here and then, after death, you begin the rest of the trip! Don't know if that makes sense maybe to some people, but that's my particular take on things at any rate.
I am no different than anyone else in that I would like to live as long a life as possible, be here to share good and bad times, love and caring with my children, grandchildren, all my extended family and loads and loads of people I choose to call my friends. But, if God chooses that my life is nearing the end phase of the first part of my journey, so be it. I am not afraid of that part - have no "fear of flying" in that context!
This past week was a hard one in many ways with the medical news as well as for having attended the funeral of my Aunt on Tuesday. But, just as in the words of the closing song at her funeral - one of my favorites hymns too - "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" - that's how I view things.
So, for this sitting now, I'll close with this - Till we meet again it's in the bag!