Most of you know that I had ovarian cancer four years ago, in 2017. I went through chemo and surgery, and it seemed I came through it with flying colors. Duncan and I had spent hours every day -- listening to guided meditation, me going to acupuncture, seeing a therapist, I don't really remember what all we did. Members of the local UU church turned up at our house to help in every way imaginable. People all over the world were praying for me, and/or sending positive vibes, whatever worked for them. By January 2018, chemo ended, I was able to go back to teaching Latin, my hair grew back, and tests showed no sign of cancer. Hurrah!
(2019, after the death of my brother Amos, I retired from teaching.) May of 2021, Duncan and I (and everyone else) are both four years older. Pretty much by chance, a blood test showed that a cancer marker had risen above normal. Cat scan, Pet scan, and biopsy followed, and the cancer is back. It's still ovarian cancer, but since I no longer have ovaries, the cancer moved into my lymph nodes. The cancer is now categorized as "treatable but not curable." So I am being treated, again with chemo. I've had two treatments, and after the third (approx 6/24/21) I'll switch to immunotherapy, which is much less toxic. It is aimed at training my immune system to attack the cancer cells.
We are fortunate that Waldo County General Hospital, which is just a few blocks from our house, has an excellent oncology department, and the medical staff includes important friends who helped us through Round One, in 2017. There are many weeks when there are medical appointments of one kind or another every day. Duncan and I are both technically retired, and we both have work projects that we'd like to be able to focus on, but Cancer has no regard for such things. Chemo is exhausting, and keeping up with treatment is the same. Sometimes I can drive the short distance, and other times Duncan drives me. We have help and support from loving friends, often in the form of meals delivered to us. We have a terrific garden helper, a local high school athlete. We have a cleaning lady every two weeks. And my (Rebecca's) kids Adam and Sheyna are scheduled for visits in June and July.
Duncan and I will try to post here whenever we have news.
We want our friends to know how Rebecca is doing medically and how we are doing as human beings. Love may be better the second time around but cancer is not. Medical system communication is difficult. Blood level loss from Rebecca's mechanical heart valves greatly complicates everything. So it all feels fragmentary and exhausting and we feel fragile. It seems like a long vague journey so we hope to keep people informed, so they are free to know without feeling invasive. Of course we welcome short calls and long prayers. Cards too.