So, I am sitting in bed at 10:24pm on Tuesday evening waiting for the unisom to kick in and NOT looking up the 5 year survival rates of metastatic renal clear cell carcinoma. I am really, really good at looking up worst case scenarios on the internet. You know those people who have that one friend who digs up information on the internet on people they want to date? That’s me, but with really bad diseases. I’ve diagnosed myself with things Dr. House hasn’t even heard of. Anyway, now that I have an actual, real-life diagnosis that is scary, I can really get down the rabbit hole and FAST.
I technically don’t even know its metastatic yet. Lots of testing is happening this week. Tomorrow morning I go in early for a liver biopsy. If they are going in to remove my kidney, they need to know what’s going on with the liver so if needed they can resect that as well. Tomorrow afternoon, after the biopsy, I have an appointment with the GU cancer clinic. I meet with the urologist, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist. I’m very familiar with this process because of Brian’s journey, and I also worked oncology my first year out of nursing school. Then Thursday, I have a full day of testing starting at 7:30 am with a nuclear medicine bone scan, then a CT chest/abdomen/pelvis, then the other half of the bone scan, then a little break, then finally an MRI brain at 7:30pm. So grateful for my mom who took two more of her busiest days off to be with me through these stressful days. And of course grateful to Brian’s family who will be with him and the kids 24/7.
Its really hard for me to not be looking up cancer stuff. And saying that probably makes me seem like a pessimist, but hope springs eternal! I feel like it must be because of all of the many prayers being lifted for us, but I wake up every other day feeling pretty okay. Yesterday I cried all day long, literally, all day. But today I got up and while I was in the shower (where I get all of my best inspirations) a memory came to me.
I was babysitting the Cluskey’s. Kate was about 2 years old and we went outside to play. She bounded down the steps to the yard where she saw some dandelions that she scooped up and proudly exclaimed, “FLOWERS!!!” Greg rolled his eyes and said, “Kate, dandelions are weeds, not flowers.” Undeterred, Kate hugged them to her chest and shouted, “WEEDS!” with just as much admiration in her heart as if they were golden dipped roses.
It was at that moment that I decided that I would never be the kind of mother who told my children not to blow the dandelion seeds in the yard. I really love those little flowers. And they are very useful as well. You can eat the leaves and the roots. They are good for your liver, and my liver needs all the help it can get. I enjoy a drink called Dandy-Blend that’s made from dandelion root. It tastes like coffee but it doesn’t have caffeine. Its great hot or cold.
I decided that I would google dandelions instead of cancer today. I learned a lot. Did you know that the word dandelion translates from French as “Lion’s tooth?” And here is a list of common dandelion symbolism.
~Healing from physical injury and emotional trama
~Emotional and spiritual intelligence
~The warmth of the rising sun
~Surviving through all challenges and difficulties
~Youthful joy and long lasting happiness
~Fulfillment of wishes
All of this inspired so much hope in my heart and soul. Last night I was googling “hope is like a…” and a lot of things came up. Hope is like a feather, a road in the country, a set of car keys (?), a bird that senses the dawn.
I didn’t see “hope is like a weed,” but that’s what its like for me. No matter how much I try to get rid of it, it always seems to be back and multiplied in the morning. I can’t take all the credit for this. I feel that I am truly being uplifted by all of the many prayers being said on behalf of our family. For this I will be forever grateful. For these moments when I can’t stand alone, I am being carried by so many of my dear ones.