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Jun 29, 2017 Latest post:
Sep 10, 2017
Hello dear ones. Welcome to Rose's Caring Bridge page. This site will be a place where you can read updates on Rose's journey. It will also serve as a bridge between your desire to help, and meaningful, practical ways you can do so.
On May 25, 2017 I experienced a sudden onset of severe chest pain which landed me in urgent care. After receiving an unclear diagnosis of "either mastitis or pleurisy", and getting sent home with a prescription for an antibiotic and a steroid, I knew something was off. I decided at this point to dig deeper so I headed to ER for further testing. After several hours and tests, I received news that my CT scan was abnormal because a lobe of my left lung was collapsed. I was then referred to a pulmonary specialist who revealed to me that the lung collapse was due to a large mass between my heart and left lung.
My doctor confidently believed I had a congenital "pulmonary sequestration" (a benign extra piece of non functioning lung tissue) but of course, felt it was necessary to rule out any other more serious possibilities. I then underwent a Pet CT scan, a bronchoscopy, additional lab work, and finally a CT guided biopsy of the mass. On June 19, 2017 my biopsy results came back and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
My world was shaken. My immediate thought was to run as fast and as far as I could imagine. I spent that evening hiking in nature as I grieved and took in little lessons from mosquitos, rivers, butterflies, plants, and trees. After I felt I had enough time with myself and the universe, in my new reality, I began to share my news with all my loved ones. I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the support and love I've already been given.
I met my doctor for the first time on Wednesday, June 21 and I spent over 2 hours getting to know him, as well my unique situation. I immediately felt in good hands as I sensed the doctor's compassion, wisdom, and kindness. I learned that my prognosis is hopeful at a Stage 2A at best, but that radiology still needed to confirm whether the tumor had invaded the lining of my heart or not. The following day, I received the good news that the tumor was separate from my heart and that I am confirmed at Stage 2a Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The tumor was about 6 cm x 7 cm at that time and there were three additional lymph nodes that were affected as well.
My doctor shared that he wanted me to begin chemotherapy immediately. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I informed him that I was still breastfeeding my youngest baby. I could feel his empathy as he explained that I would need to wean her and that my treatment could wait one week to allow for this. I was grieving for myself, my sweet children, and my poor baby, as well as this life chapter I had landed in.
I have always believed that natural living and holistic healthcare was my only way, but given the proximity of this mass in my chest, I know I don't have time on my side to wait and try gentler, less invasive treatment. This is foreign territory for me. I've always believed in supporting the body and trusting in its power to heal naturally..... " first, do no harm", I say. Now I find myself following my gut a different direction to arguably, the most extreme form of westernized medicine.....chemotherapy. One day, I'm trying to eat as many organic foods as possible..... using coconut oil instead of lotion, and mixing a homeade "antibiotic" for my child ,and the next, agreeing to put poison in my own body to ultimately save my life. It is terrifying at worst, but somehow beautifully humbling and mind expanding at best.
At first, I thought I should hate the cancer, and envisioned my warrior state against it......but it felt untrue to myself and this journey.....this was perhaps a more typical expected response to a cancer diagnosis, but it wasn't my own, so I let it go. After I have now come to accept my unusual, more true regard to my cancer, it has brought me peace, and reminded me of my connection to all the universe.
I truly believe my cancer is not evil or some sort of monster in my chest that I must enter into a ruthless, heartless battle against. I have instead bowed out to experience a more peaceful journey. I view myself as a humble student, and the cancer, a wise teacher here to enlighten me. Once I have received it's lesson, I know it will be on its way. I will release it with gratitude and be done with it. I am working on welcoming my current co-existence with it, yet speaking also of the medical diagnoses in the past because my health changes every moment. I want to allow space for this fragile reality. Ultimately, I do believe in miracles, and I want my cells to know this at a molecular level. Of course, for some days or certain moments, I will also welcome my anger, fear, despair, and any other more commonly felt relation to the cancer. And you all shall beware of my somewhat morbid, hilarious (I'd like to think) cancer jokes, that sneak in when I need a laugh most of all.
My vision for my future has changed. I face some grueling months ahead filled with tests, procedures, and of course, chemotherapy treatment, as well as my continued responsibility to be the primary care taker for my four young children......my world, my hope, and my joy. Please hold me close in your heart and your prayers during this trying journey ahead. My gratitude is overflowing. I know I will bloom from this very wound in which I bleed from. All my light and love for you all.
Here's to moving forward, onward, outward, and up.....and up,...UP!