On January 5, 2017, at age 50, I was preliminarily diagnosed with lung cancer. To say that this was unexpected is an understatement--I thought I had walking pneumonia! Looking back, there were little signs here and there, but all seemed to be easily explained away by other things, because I am always healthy and never had any risk factors. I will try to write more about that later.
Dr. Lowell Guray, the Ear Nose and Throat doctor who initially saw me for vocal problems, moved quickly to get me into see a pulmonologist, Dr. Jessie Wilt. I met Dr. Wilt for the first time on Monday, January 9, 2017, and immediately felt in good hands (see Journal Entry dated 1/13, "Still waiting...but some background" for that story). Dr. Wilt performed a procedure called a bronchoscopy on Wednesday, January 11, and as of now, we are waiting for results. The general line of thinking is that we start with chemo/radiation, and go from there. Because there is more than one tumor, the cancer is considered "inoperable," but that just means they can't operate right now, and we are not closing off any avenues.
People have asked me how I am feeling physically. I am experiencing some shortness of breath, and associated tiredness. My singing voice is NOT in good order, which grieves me deeply, but I have every faith that it will be back in time. My appetite is off. I am sleeping so-so--often up at night, but finding things to do to make me go to sleep (podcasts are great for this, but don't expect to quiz me on what I've heard!) Depending on the moment, I can talk on the phone, text, and e-mail. I do not want to shut people out, because I am an outgoing person who benefits from company and connection. If it is not a good time for me, I will let you know.
How can you help? For now, please just be with us, however you are able to. I am a strong believer in healing prayer and healing energy. My faith is definitely lifting me up, but I will need the strength and love of others to help me in moments when I flag. Those of you who know me well know that I am unfailingly positive, and an engine of activity. This continues to be the case...until the anxiety hamsters get going, or I otherwise go down a rathole of worry. Please, at those times, be God's hands and feet, however you may be able to, including telling me to "snap out of it," as you need to.
Mark (my husband) is my co-author on this site. He is my rock, and we are definitely in this together. My two daughters, Allison and Rachel, are also a huge source of support. My parents, Don and Claire Kissil, provide loving and fiercely protective caregiving. We are blessed with a number of wonderful communities who offer strength and love--our Quaker meeting, and the wider Quaker community, our amazing singing community (it is not lost on me that it was my inability to sing that tipped everyone off to there being a problem), colleagues and work associates for both Mark and me, the list goes on. I'll post more as I am able.