Monday, August 18, 2014

the cha cha

The last few days have been a rollercoaster of emotions. In the weekend I got the heartbreaking news of a helicopter crash in Wanaka that killed this lovely, generous, funny man who had a zest for life, his family, his friends and his faith. He was on a weekend away with good mates, several of them were also injured in the crash. The impact of this shockwave is resonating through the St Paul's community.

Jerome Box
A man who lived life to the full.

John was Jerome's quantity surveyor for many years. I can just see them sitting down so many times to discuss life, families and faith, not just the work at hand. I can see Jerome's wry smile, hear his chuckle and listen to him share his unique take on life. My heart is aching for his wife Adelle and their gorgeous children... and the other injured and their families. It's shocking when the tragedies of the national news actually rock you and the world of people you hold dear.

Then I had my Medical Oncology appointment. All throughout my diagnosis and treatments every medical professional has told me that I don't need chemotherapy. That for the grade and stage of my breast cancer, surgery and radiation therapy will be enough to effectively treat it. That I will need hormone therapy to suppress the estrogen that feeds the cancer cells (in the form of a daily tablet) but no chemo. I thought the appointment would be straightforward. "Here are your results, here's the prescription for your hormone tablets, good luck with radiation therapy next week..." I became suspicious when the oncologist said I'm going to discuss your options for treatment. It turns out that the pathology from the surgery shows that my tumour is Grade 2 and not Grade 1, so now chemotherapy is part of the treatment to improve my chances that the cancer won't come back. Usually in journeying situations an upgrade is much appreciated. Who doesn't want to fly business class or have a better hotel room with a lake view? On the breast cancer journey an upgrade doesn't have the same desired effect!

I just didn't think I would have to walk this road and now it's right there. Chemo starts in two weeks. So in preparation I got my nails done, shared a bottle of bubbles with my long-suffering, very supportive sisters and made an appointment with my lovely hairdresser Alice Tucker for a last cut, colour and style before it all goes.

My dear friend Em (who is on her own breast cancer journey) shared this picture with me after we talked about the difficult, discouraging forwards/backwards nature of our journeys so far.

So here I am doing the cha cha, trying to keep a lightness in my step, with a heavy heart and tears streaming down my cheeks.  The great thing is I am not dancing alone, you are all here with me. So grab the ones you love, who are precious to you and let's dance!

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