As I prepare to fly to Canada to be with my son and his family, I hold in my heart the reality that pancreatic cancer, to date, can be manageable, affording the patient more time while research is being furiously studied. There is no cure….. yet.
I do have hope. I hope that somewhere in the diagnostics, they got it wrong. I hope that it is something weird that can be cured.
I hope that even at its worst, God gives my son time, because it is within time that a cure will someday be found. Why should I not have faith that that cure could be found within his life? Within my hope?
I confess that even though I was raised by a devout Roman Catholic mother, I believed as a child, with a child’s faith. As I grew into adulthood, I did attend church.
I stopped attending church many years ago because I do not like organized religion, I felt that the true purpose of “religion” was lost by power-seeking leaders and financial greed.
I pray, when others asked for prayers, I prayed deeply when any of my children needed help. Maybe that makes me a bad “child of God,” but, if one believes in a Higher Power, He knows all of my faults, like a parent knows their own child and His love is the ultimate unconditional love.
The update on my son is that he is in the care of one of the most incredibly respected physicians in this field. And, as I mentioned before, my son lives in Canada, Calgary. His doctor is Dr. Oliver Bathe who is committed to research in pancreatic cancer and has acquired over 10,000 samples of markers for pancreatic cancer genes.
Until now, I never paid attention to the study or advancements in pancreatic cancer. This study, with which Dr. Bathe is involved shines hope for my son.
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine told me that her daughter had lung cancer. This was before I had breast cancer. I had the typical reaction, I thought, “Oh shit. Her daughter is dying. How is Frieda going to handle this? How would I handle this?”
There is no ONE answer to that query. We all answer the question of mortality in our own individual ways with whatever strengths we possess. I don’t know how Frieda handled it, I do know that she was with her daughter during the progression of the cancer. They lived within driving distance, unlike my son and I who are hundreds of miles apart.
Since my first writing, after I learned of Mikey’s diagnosis, I have emotionally and spiritually traveled from shock, deep denial and anger to where I am now. On drugs – not “those” kind of drugs, but I was already taking 75mg Effexor for depression since my breast cancer, now I am taking Xanax ER, instructed by my doctor to take daily. He also gave me another prescription for Xanax immediate release for “times when you will need it.”
I take, have been taking the Effexor for a few months already and the morning after learning of Mike’s diagnosis, I took one Xanax to stop my hyper-ventilating and constant gut-wrenching cries. Maybe I’m weak for needing to rely on medication to get through this, but, as I pack today and get ready for my flight out tomorrow morning, the most important thing I need to be is STRONG for my son, his wife and my innocent, 2 & 4 year old grandchildren.
I found the hope that resides in prayer.
In closing, I just remembered a quote which a farmer painted on the side of his barn which could be seen for a great distance. I think it is just what I need right now…
“COURAGE IS FEAR THAT SAID ITS PRAYERS”