Cancer is a Waiting Game


I’m a lady in waiting.

Waiting for the tumour board to decide if the specialist can “cook” my liver. Radio frequency ablation (RFA) has been proposed to burn away the metastatic “super tumour” that not only survived five months of chemo drugs but doubled in size by the time chemo was complete.

Using ultrasound and CT guidance by an interventional radiologist, a small probe the size of a ballpoint-pen refill is inserted percutaneously (through the skin) through a small incision into the centre of the tumour. The probe releases radio-waves that are converted to heat energy which shrinks or destroys the tumour. The dead tumour tissue is either absorbed by the body or discarded.

Radio frequency ablation seems a relatively easy procedure worth waiting for. As the liver specialist said, “You don’t even have to take your clothes off.”

I’m also marking time for a CT scan appointment to see if my chest and abdomen are home to more aliens. Which might mean no “cooking”.

I’m biding my time until Friday’s CA 125 tumour marker. How far will it go up? Does it mean there is more cancer? Or are the existing tumours just expressing themselves more fervently?

I’m standing by for my next appointment with the oncologist, to decide if and when chemo will resume. Too soon and it will disable me, make me sick, sicker than the cancer makes me feel. Too late and chemo will drain the strength I’ve worked so hard for this year and I’ll miss the ski season.

There is good news within this waiting game. My fitness level has improved significantly. When compared to other women in my age group, I’m no longer in the 5th percentile  (5th!), I’m now between 20 and 25%. That’s all I get for working out in the gym twice a week, weekend walking, swimming, and skiing for the last three years. As my wise friend S. says, “think how bad you’d be without the exercise”.

There are no promises in this waiting game of cancer. Exercise, eat right, drink red wine (not too much), endure vitamin c infusions and release your life from stress. Hold on.

I’m on stand by.

Hang fire.

I sit tight.

Hold my horses.

As the dictionary says, I must “remain in readiness for some purpose”.  That purpose is my life.

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2 Responses to Cancer is a Waiting Game

  1. I think I am dancing on that same cliff’s edge right now and not liking it one bit. Feel welcome to email me if any direct contact would help. You expressed it quite well. It is so odd to feel like a strong woman who has so little power.
    Good luck to us.
    Love, marcy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Louise Doherty says:

    Rochelle, your writing here reminded me of the following quote:

    Your living is determined not so much by what life
    brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by
    the way your mind looks at what happens.
    Khalil Gibran

    I so appreciate how you have chosen to live your life in spite of this unexpected journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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