Michelle Futral Michelle Futral

First post: Jan 4, 2020 Latest post: Jan 17, 2020
Hello friends,
My mother has far too many loved ones to be left in the dark, and there are only so many of us who can provide adequate details regarding her health journey. The genesis of this journal comes from the overwhelming love being poured into our inboxes. Chronic illness is anything but linear. We celebrate small wins and tackle each low with hopeful steps, making compromises all the while.

Something I have used throughout my time with her illness journey is the concept of impermanence. Periods of good spirits and calm are as impermanent as the consuming feeling of fear upon hearing bad news. Coping with illness is a balance of embrace and release, and above all it is a reorientation back to love. It is no wonder that my mother has been so drawn to Buddhist ideologies in her later years.

Now back to her. At the start of December, after experiencing a month of benefits from her second cycle of chemotherapy, she began feeling amounting pain in her liver along with other indications that her cancer was becoming active again. She started another round of chemotherapy, but it seem to only compound her weakness. On Thursday, her team made the decision to admit her to Emory, to pause her chemotherapy treatment, and to focus on rebuilding her strength (although that is never something she has lacked). She felt better almost immediately. Another low, possibly the record, and another moment to reorient. Her exceptionalism is not unknown by her team, and might contribute to the reason we were able to expedite a newly FDA approved drug that has shown significant success specifically in patients with a long history of treatment. She will be the first patient of her doctor to receive it.

We are hopeful, continuing to embrace the impermanence of everything but love.

Grace Futral