My Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis
Monday, 03 July 2017
According to my surgeon, only 10 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are eligible for surgery. Had I not been one of them, there would have been, essentially, no useful treatment.
Following surgery, it was a week before the pathology report on the bits and pieces taken from my body was ready. In words you and I can understand, here is what it said, the short version:
The mass in my pancreas was positive for pancreatic adenocarcinoma – pancreatic cancer to you and me.
During surgery, called the “Whipple Procedure,” the diseased part of the pancreas was removed along with my gall bladder and some other parts. The tumor was determined to be “clean at the margins” - that is, cancer had not escaped the pancreas.
In addition, 17 lymph nodes touching the pancreas were removed and tested for cancer cells; two were positive. Here is what that means for me.
There are types of chemotherapy to treat this cancer and I will meet with a medical oncologist about that sometime in the next month or two. According to my surgeon and his team, a few people respond to this treatment and live up to ten more years.
Sounds good except that 80 percent in my circumstance who take this treatment are dead from the disease in five or fewer years. Numbers may vary from other sources but not enough to talk about.
(Excuse me while I take a moment for another small weep.)
Well, that's a stunner. Even though I'm 76 years old and even though my parents and other relatives died of one cancer or another when they were younger than I am, I was aiming for my grandmother's lifetime (92) or my great aunt's (89).
Nonetheless, I find it hard to complain that 77 or 78 or 80 years is not a decent run at life. And I have no patience with “miracle” alternative cancer cures – believe me, if they were real we would all know about them. Nor do I place any hope in beating the odds – a foolish waste of time.
Beyond that, my thoughts are an unrelated jumble still fogged from the effects of surgery, anesthesia and follow-up drugs – not useful. It takes every bit of my physical and mental effort right now to work out my medication schedule, figure out this new way of eating and give my body time to recover from the trauma of the surgery.
Walk, they tell me, even short distances. Keep your feet above your heart to reduce the swelling in your feet, ankles and legs. Well, which is it? How do I balance that?
Not to mention nap time. For the short future, I'm doing one hour up and about, the next hour in bed and so on.
I want to answer your lovely email and snailmail cards but 30 minutes at the desk every couple of hours is my body's and mind's limit and there are also banking, bills, personal business items, etc. to deal with.
Thinking time too. How do I want to spend the months and years remaining to me? I don't expect to answer that now, all at once, but the thoughts bubble up and need attention or, at least, notation before they float away.
The most I've figured out so far is that I desperately do not want to become a professional patient but I don't even know yet how much of my time and effort will need to be devoted to being as healthy and active as possible.
There is a lot more to life than dying and I still want as much of it as I can get.
Well, I will contradict you here, Ronni. Your mind is far from being a jumble. I think your thoughts are extremely clear and you have explained to us what has happened. Now how long you are going to live, (same for me or any of us) is something that would probably require a crystal ball.
I understand your not wanting to become a professional patient, but having been through two cancers, one does become a professional patient for a long while, (chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or even both) and then, one stops being one. Or at least not as professional as one used to be. And if you want to quit being a professional patient at some point, you need to be totally professional while it is necessary.
I know it is easy for me to say, as I am "only" 73, but my advice is to take things one at a time and make the best of it.
Your pancreas cancer is treatable. And you need to take the necessary steps to cure it.
Hoping you are not finding me too harsh.
I am in awe at how clear your mind is, so soon after surgery. No wonder you are exhausted. You do need to take it easy.
And don't worry about answering mails and such things. We all understand and hare happy to have news at all.
With all my love
Posted by: Claude Covo-Farchi | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 05:55 AM
I think you should shoot for the stars. Why not be the exception to every rule? There are exceptions!
Wear compression stockings when you walk?
Enjoy the sleep and remember some of us have trouble sleeping.
Keep the good attitude that you now have. It serves you well.
Posted by: Tabor | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:07 AM
Whew ... what a lot of food for thought in this post. I will have to re-read several times to try to absorb all the information you have so generously shared, from facts, hypotheses, possibilities and probabilities, thoughts, ideas, hopes and fears and ... and ... and!
For now, I can only echo and applaud Claude's post. ALL of it!
Bushels and pecks of love and good wishes, always
Posted by: laura | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:11 AM
Research the choices available to you. Research, research and then make your choice and don't look back. Tears are normal at this point in time. So is rage, sadness and hope. Don't forget to hope and nurture positive energy. Whether you continue to share your journey here or not, know that others care....
Posted by: JeanR | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:20 AM
Thank you for your description of what has, is, will occur as far as you know to this point.
Here's hoping the therapies to come are ones well tolerated. In the meantime, rest AND walking, even if short and gingerly, are familiar to most who have had any kind of major surgery, and I know that fact does not make it anymore palatable.
I appreciate your take on longevity--and it is a mixed blessing to have times to think on the possibilities. The acceptance comes slowly, comes now and then, and at times life gives reason to not even think about it. We have no idea what our response will actually be when the times comes. But we will have thought it through time and again--kinda like a movie that lets you choose from several endings—if only.
I hope you are drinking lots of water. Just a thought related to my own experience.
Posted by: S C Jones | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:23 AM
Your writing is remarkably clear considering how challenging and emotional this time is for you. Makes my troubles poof away. We don't escape this bell tolling do we. And none of us know.
Posted by: Wisewebwoman | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:49 AM
Bravo! I applaud your attitude and believe you will find your way to a healthy decision. Go inside and find the authentic way for you. You are in the driver's seat, this is your life.
Posted by: Marcia M. | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:50 AM
One thing about statistics-- they are based on what has happened and guessing for what will. With the improved treatments, they might change a lot in 5 years.
We all die sometime but I think for me my concern is how it happens not that it will and the dying process is more scary to me than the dying itself. I am the oldest on one side of my family, with cousins younger dying before me. However, for reasons for which i have no idea, I never thought I'd live beyond 30 and when I did, I quit guessing when it'd be over. It does get scary as we age and things start to go wrong with no idea what will come next-- which is why Bette Davis said old ain't for sissies. She said a mouthful, sister.
Posted by: Rain Trueax | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:53 AM
Years ago my sister-in-law was suddenly diagnoses with stage VI breast cancer and learned that it was an "aggressive" form. She underwent all the surgery and treatment that seemed reasonable. She did her best to adapt her life style to the situation. But the most important thing she did was religiously follow the advise of one of her oncologists, continue as you are "living with cancer". From the moment she heard those words she adopted that attitude. She then had 6+ years of active living, traveling and enjoying life, far more than initially projected for her. And at the time that the cancer took over, her illness was more an inconvenience than any thing else. I was blessed to be with her those last few weeks of her life. While bedridden she planned her funeral outfit, "no shoes, I am a farm girl after all!" She know what dress and what jewelry and even the lipstick. At the last her passing was a peaceful whisper. I feel blessed to have experienced her positive living with a disease and her most grace-filled passing. I pray for these for all of us.
Posted by: Isabelle Alice Claps | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:53 AM
A difficult post to read, realizing it was just as tough to write. Heaps of thanks. And get-the-hella-better soon wishes.
May you find we are of some help even if it's to lend an open ear, accepting to your pains of body, heart and mind, requests for help, or to mull over choices, endlessly. We're a community for you, Ronni. A ready receptacle for you to cry, rage, and let it all hang out. And we're not going anywhere.
While never being in your place, here's the only word I'm thinking - live. You'll know what to do in time and you'll figure out how to do it. And remember those medical numbers are the average, not definitively relevant to you.
You'll handle this.
Posted by: Simone | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:57 AM
Thank you for your honest and thorough update. I applaud your ability to look at this realistically and communicate so clearly with us. You have our love and admiration. The statistics you mention, however, are general, and do not necessarily apply to you. You are an individual, and hopefully an exception. Please do not give a thought to answering your emails and comments. We are here to support you—we don't want you to use up valuable healing energy writing to us. Rest, cry, drink water, and receive the loving energy coming your way.
Posted by: Still the Lucky Few | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:00 AM
This is so very clear. More than anything I now think I have a better understanding of the source of your strength and the origin of your successes - such capacity for clarity. In a world where most people blather on and on, or gin up false emotion, you are unique.
I can imagine how hard this is. Please let us know, if you can, what you'd like from your readers. It may change over time, I hope you are always this clear and direct with us, and I wish you a long and fulfilling life, however you come to define those terms. Thank you for your courage in the midst of what you are experiencing.
Posted by: Lisa | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:07 AM
What an extraordinary community you have, Ronni. And you would not have it if you yourself were not extraordinary in every way.
Live in our love for you, and may it support you through all the days ahead.
Posted by: Jean Gogolin | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:11 AM
So your groove may not be back for awhile, but it is very early yet in the game, and you seem to be doing rather well to be back at home and productive on your blog again. Is Autumn still with you? Do you have other assistance with meals, cat care, errands and such? So many accommodations and adaptations you are having to make.
I'm hoping you still have the support of others around you. It may be hard when you've been so independent and self-reliant for so long, but this may not be the time yet for rugged self-sufficiency. Although, on the other hand, I have to say that some of the times when I have felt my absolute worse and have pushed through pain and suffering to do things that needed to be done, my body somehow rose to the challenge and pulled me through. But none of these were post-op recoveries from cancer; for that, I have no personal frame of reference.
Facing our mortality head-on, knowing more perhaps than we'd like -- that has to be life's greatest challenge. No one has ever traveled the road ahead of you. You will be a pioneer, but you have many people rooting for you.
Posted by: Cathy Johnson | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:12 AM
The fact that you were able to have the surgery gives you extra time many with a PC diagnosis aren't afforded. We know that you, Ronni, will make the most of whatever is possible, and we will be there with you if only in cyberspace. The heartfelt wishes for as smooth a process as possible comes from us all I'm sure. Day to day some will be good and some especially tough, but you are not alone. You are cherished for all you have given. So if there is something any of us can do to brighten or lighten your time, speak up. I for one am going to cling to hopes that you will get those extra years.
Posted by: Norma | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:13 AM
Blessings on you, Ronnie. The longer you remain in this earthly plane, the more important it will have been that you chose to share your experience with those known and unknown who read your blog. We are legion and we are the wind beneath your wings. This is not to diminish in any way your own faith and persistence, it is just to say that Love, focused, is very very powerful. I will continue to send mine. I wish you Wellbeing
Posted by: Nancy Lindgren | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:51 AM
If your oncologist recommends chemo, I'd go for it (and did). You don't want 14 hours of surgery to be for naught. Forget the statistics. Every case is different, and by all indications, Ronni Bennett is one tough lady. My money's on you.
Posted by: Susan R (PiedType) | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:56 AM
Please just keep looking forward and being positive. Treasure every moment and think only good thoughts. I feel like you're gonna make it. You're strong and you have so many people pulling and praying for you.
Posted by: Tanya | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:58 AM
One step after the other and the best path for you will become clear. The mind and body have a strange way of working together to let us know what to do when the time comes to do it! And while you're walking down that yellow brick road, may the love from Team Ronni sustain you. Ann.
Posted by: Ann Burack-Weissmuller | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:14 AM
You being you, Ronni, I have complete confidence that whatever decision(s) you make regarding further treatment will be right for you, no matter what the outcome. And that all of us will be better for it as you continue to blog about your journey.
A special thanks, btw, to readers who have amply demonstrated what support and caring are all about. I have learned much from each of you.
Posted by: ag | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:20 AM
I can only echo what others have said .
Put all your effort into regaining your health, and although it's easier said than done, a positive attitude will take you a long way. I'm sure you know that.
Take good care of you!
Sending love and best wishes,
Posted by: Lola | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:32 AM
You are a true inspiration and I wish you the best in your recovery. Take it easy and your life will take care of itself.
Posted by: Gen C. | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:32 AM
You are such a beautiful soul! I only hope we are able to return to you a very small bit of what you give to us. Your wisdom is right on, you will know what to do, the path will unfold with each step. I believe, from what I know of you, that more of those steps will reveal beauty and grace than fear or darkness. My prayers, and those of many others, accompany you, step by step.
Posted by: Salinda Dahl | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:38 AM
Think positive, everyday, all the time. Defy the odds. Know that so many people are thinking of you, pulling for you, wishing you the best.
Posted by: MerCyn | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:40 AM
We'll be on this journey with you Ronni... some of us will likely leave the planet before you, after you, and whenever our ticket is punched. However it turns out, just know you're not alone.
And with all my study, I've learned that the single biggest thing that impacts our lives after 65 is a sense of Purpose. You're a teacher, so we'll continue to learn from you and you'll fulfill your purpose.
Thank you! ✨🌺✨
Posted by: Susan | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:50 AM
I'm with Susan R. here . . . while I do understand that most times one doesn't "beat" statistics, well, I know someone who had lung cancer a while back, had the surgery, did whatever, and, probably at least ten years later now, is doing beautifully with no recurrence. Definitely against the odds.
AND--this is tough stuff. You are doing it as well as I would expect of you.
Posted by: Kate | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 10:16 AM
As usual, I'm checking in later than many TGB followers, so most of what I might say has already been said. However, I will add that your post is astonishingly clear all things considered. Amazing!
So. . .I agree with Rain and Lisa. I'm not sure I can "walk my talk" when my time comes, but for me, at this point quality of life would have to be balanced with quantity. No way did I expect to live 80 years, so I probably didn't prepare as well as I might have. (How does one really prepare for "living old"?)
I have no idea what I would do in your situation, but you will follow the course that is right for you.
Posted by: Elizabeth Rogers | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 10:32 AM
I have nothing to add here. I am inspired by you and all these wonderful comments. You made this, Ronni! Hugs.
Posted by: Anne | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 10:40 AM
You are still writing with marvelous clarity and wisdom. I agree with you on wanting to not prolong life with "miracle cures" to keep you on beyond your definition of a useful life. I am 70 and have no major disease that I know of, but the parts are wearing out and I experience a lot of pain. The surgeons wanted to do surgery 5 years ago but I said No, as there no guarantee at all that I would actually have less pain. So, I say, without being in your shoes, hurray for deciding for yourself how much treatment is enough for you. We need to all carefully think that out before we have to face it. In CA and OR, you are urged to write out all your wishes for you death and give them to your loved ones, long before you need it. I hope you have done some such thing. But, I also wish you great recovery and many more years to delight us with your writing and sage thinking.
Posted by: Francine Fields | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 10:54 AM
I have been a silent reader for a long period of time. Now is the time though to let you know that you are the second person I stumbled upon that has, and is, teaching me so much about aging and courage. Irene Bean, Reenie, took me on a wonderful journey the last years of her life..........you dear lady are teaching me even more. Your clarity, wisdom and plain common sense helps my soul with every read. My wish for you during this difficult time is to know how many of us that do not comment, there are many of us of that I am sure, you truly touch our lives over and over again. Your loyal commentators have said all that is in my heart for your wellbeing.........remember too the silent ones are with you every day.
Posted by: Rosemary | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:00 AM
Do not be hard on yourself. With our age, things are more difficult to heal.
Your body needs to adapt to the new circunstances.
Do not be shy on depending on people. Independence is a dream. We are all interdependent.
Somebody is living with you to help? Ask for help when you need.
I was in bed because many spine problems for almost one year, and without help would be impossible.
When the time to talk with the doctors come, do not be affraid of going to the treatment.
To be alive is always better than be dead. You are very important for lots of people.
Love and good wishes
Posted by: Beatriz Redko | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:09 AM
I know next to nothing about pancreatic cancer, but 15 clear lymph nodes seems positive. Keep the faith. Many of us are praying for you. Rest, enjoy the moments, and keep your feet up😃.
Posted by: Joann Wallace | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:09 AM
Hi Ronni. No advice or words of wisdom--you are a brilliant woman and will know what's best for you. Just sending you my love, support, and wishes for comfort. I hope you'll have the desire to keep writing. You teach me every day. I love you. Linda in Illinois.
Posted by: Linda | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:23 AM
I'm typically very quiet on your blog, but I'd like to share just a bit of possibly helpful info with you. I know you have a lot to digest and sort out. If this can be of any help...my brother-in-law has been living with Glioblastoma Multiforme -- an always terminal form of aggressive brain cancer. He had brain surgery in October 2011 and was given about 12-18 months to live. However, 6 years later he is alive and kicking and doing pretty well, considering. It will definitely recur. He has been following all Drs order (traditional medicine -- radiation, 2 years of chemo that he was genetically suited for) as well as following both a vitamin protocol when not going through chemo, as well as using a THC oil (medical marijuana permit) that may have tumor shrinking properties (he started using it for nausea as well as the possibility it might help keep the cancer at bay after researching what was happening in Germany, Canada and other countries that are progressive). He has the finest doctors, top researchers...and while they don't know if this is helping keep the cancer at bay, they tell him not to stop taking the oil (it's a drop the size of a grain of rice, taken sublingually, once a day). It cannot hurt him and may be helping. So when you regain a bit of strength, you may want to do your own investigation.
He goes for an MRI every 8 weeks and we always hold our breath for him...so far he keeps coming back with a clear result (i.e. no new tumor growth. ) This is a description of the particular type of cannaboid from the National Cancer Institute website: "The main active cannabinoid in Cannabis is delta-9-THC. Another active cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which may relieve pain, lower inflammation, and decrease anxiety without causing the "high" of delta-9-THC." He uses Delta 9 and it does get him a bit high, but he takes it at night, which also helps with insomnia. And here is a link to the originating article on the cancer website: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq
Posted by: Janet Spiegel | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:31 AM
Most of your results are totally positive and should give you the renewed energy to continue. Doctors do their magic, medicine does its but it is you who can do a lot about your recovery. Do everything you can to aid your body to heal. Diet, exercise, mental attitude are all in your control. You are strong and I see lots of positives here. Keep putting that foot forward. We are all here cheering you on.
Posted by: Patti | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:42 AM
I agree that it is difficult to walk while keeping one's feet above one's head!
There is no escaping the brute fact that you must completely change your life, stripping away all non-essentials initially until you have figured out how to manage your life support system. You must accept all the help you can get. Pay others to do routine things for you to the extent your pocketbook will allow. Take advantage of any and all services.
I know I sound bossy, but I'm going through this too. I was diagnosed six months ago and am on the perpetual roller coaster! What I like best is having friends come over for a chat. That always cheers me up. Several of them are cancer survivors on maintenance, so they provide an extra measure of understanding. I find it's almost impossible to convey the experience of having cancer to anyone who hasn't had it. Like you, I'm not much of a joiner, and I don't really like the idea of support groups and so on, but I'm thinking I might want to join such a group sometime. For the moment my support group of family and friends suffices.
Oh, and be very very good to yourself!
Love, Marianna (aka "Hattie.")
Posted by: Hattie | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:48 AM
Wow! you do have some terrific friends here at TGB! That & all the love counts for so very much. Hang in there & try not to fret.......too much. EASY for me to say! You have what it takes to do this recovery thing well. And the compression stockings are a great suggestion. Just try to put them on before you get out of bed. Is there someone giving you a hand at home? I'd be there if only I could. Sending good energy your way, Dee:):)
Posted by: Dee | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:48 AM
Even if you are not in favor of alternative treatments, I suggest looking at the research on high dose IV Vitamin C. Recently there was a mainstream study showing its usefulness for certain types of cancer. I'm sorry I don't remember if it included pancreatic. A close friend had advanced esophageal cancer in 2004, with a five year survival of 5%. She had the surgery, removing her esophagus, part of her stomach, and her gallbladder. They found a bunch of positive lymph nodes. She did not want chemo and had the high dose IV Vitamin C treatments, from a naturopathic oncologist. She completed 13 years of survival, with a pretty much normal life, in May. She does have to eat very differently now, but still enjoys life.
Research your options yourself, if you are able to, Ronni. Or ask us for help
Posted by: Cindy | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:50 AM
Sending waves of love from one Big C survivor to another.
Posted by: Chris in Seattle | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:55 AM
You will be able to make the right decision.
Virtually, I sit by your side and hold your hand.
Posted by: Susan | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 11:58 AM
My idea of a successful life is one full of continuing positive interactions with other humans. Ronni, you're the most successful woman I know.
Posted by: Wendl | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 12:18 PM
Thank you Ronni for continuing to include us on your journey. Many have already posted anything I could add, so let me just say again how grateful I am that you have shared your life and thoughts. My prayers continue your way. And good happy thoughts. And smiles.
Posted by: Michelle Gorel | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 12:34 PM
heart heart hug hug
Posted by: Susan Pope | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 12:35 PM
I will keep this short. Can't imagine how you can read a bunch right now. Blessings to you from TX.
Posted by: Bonnie | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 01:45 PM
Ronni, from day one in this beautiful space, you have demonstrated that when it comes to seniors, "one size does not fit all."
You have never been, nor will you be the wake of your boat.
You are the engine.
Do whatever you need to do to be comfortable.
Stay in the now.
We're standing guard.
Your Montreal Fan
Posted by: doctafill | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 01:55 PM
I can't add to the wonderful comments. Just get well, take it an hour at a time, put the decision in the back of your mind and let your subconscious mull it over and the right answer will come to yo. Much love to a fabulous lady.
Posted by: Darlene | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 02:09 PM
Whoever said drink more water wasen't kidding! Mucho important. A big hug.
Posted by: Susan rogers | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 02:22 PM
Ronni, you continue to amaze and inspire me. I will not attempt to match the eloquence of your many followers (or, as I think of them/us, your "fan club"), so: What they all said.
I try to practice gratitude daily -- it makes me, generally a pessimistic and gloomy sort, happier and more hopeful. Most days I'm grateful for the smallest things -- a perfectly brewed cup of tea, say, or clean sheets. Today I am so grateful for some pretty big things: that you were in that small percentage eligible for surgery; that your surgeon is a pancreas expert; that you got clean margins; that only 2 of 17 nodes were involved. None of us know what the future holds, but I choose to believe you'll be among the long term survivors. And for as long as you want us, we'll be here supporting you.
Posted by: Patty-in-New-York | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 03:16 PM
I agree with what Hattie said above: I agree that it is difficult to walk while keeping one's feet above one's head!
Nevertheless, while nothing is easy - you can do it, Ronnie. Hang in there!
Posted by: sflichen | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 03:21 PM
I know there is this fugue going on in your mind right now, a jumble of thoughts and emotions. But take heart, that fugue will eventually become a melody of clarity and wisdom. Fear will turn to courage, and apprehension to understanding. And it is that understanding and courage that will put you on the path to a full recovery.
Posted by: Bruce Cooper | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 05:09 PM
Your story touches me with exceptional warmth and pragmaticism. You are helping me in the knowledge that mortality is reality. Know that you have given others strength in the words you have shared.
I'm lighting a special candle for you in Ireland.
Posted by: Bernie Goldbach | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 05:48 PM
I don't know what compels me to use up a precious bit of your stamina right now, except I need to say I don't think you come close to knowing how many lives you have impacted via the airwaves. You are loved by I dare say, thousands because of your site and experience and remarkable ability to connect us all to what feels like a humongous cyber family. Did we once cut our fingers and become "blood sisters" somehow? Thank you for all of those connections and your generous heart. I am sorry about your cancer. I have a disease with a death sentence, too. Some days I have a pity party but most days I realize it's okay. Each day, month, year is a gift and I will use it as wisely (or not) as I can. I hope you feel better tomorrow than you do now. The days come one at a time so know you can always make "today" good enough. Sending love and prayers your way. You can do this.
Posted by: Edna | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 05:49 PM
Talk to your body. Make friends. And remember - a good cry is good therapy.
Posted by: Charlotte Dahl | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 05:49 PM
I am speechless. Your chances actually look better than you think they are, but by taking the position you have let's you control the future. We have known each other far too long and I forbid you from going anywhere! I know I'm babbling but I'm not very good at this. You are in my prayers every night. Not bad for atheist.
Posted by: Alex Bennett | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:25 PM
I saw this after a wonderful walk today and it stuck with me, a quote by Walt Whitman: “Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.” Sending you the best thoughts and wishing you the best care.
Posted by: Heidi | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 07:56 PM
Well, you can call me a cockeyed optimist if you like -- which can also be compatible with my being a realist -- not just some Pollyanna -- but I focus on your being in that 20%. You've weathered a few storms -- granted they were different than this, but you've thrived on challenge. Now is not the time to assume the worst.
This is early in your recovery from the surgery, so I can imagine the fact your thoughts are wandering all over the place is to be expected. Sounds like focusing on your immediate daily life is exactly what you need to do now. Riding your emotional roller coaster can't be fun. You probably don't want to hear a lot of palavering talk from me so I'll spare you. Do know that you're in my thoughts with positive messages and warm virtual hugs coming your way on this journey.
Posted by: Joared | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 08:23 PM
Dear , dear Ronni -- you have always been good at LIVING -- and that is what you are doing now -- living. I have no doubt you'll go on being good at this thing we do, however long you get to continue doing it.
Do walk if you can. That's the medicine I find I most believe in for all of us, as we can. (Though I am sure there are other kinds.}
Much love to you, my friend.
Posted by: janinsanfran | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:16 PM
Wishing all best for you, Ronni. You are a guiding light in this world that we all are in together.
Posted by: Linda Carmi | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 09:38 PM
Your final sentence today really 'got' me, Ronni. Sniff, Sniff It was full of wisdom and full of yearning. And we all love you for it.
Posted by: Tim | Monday, 03 July 2017 at 10:44 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us it is really appreciated and like others I want to wish you every success with the treatment. Time Goes By is such a wonderful resource and place for sharing.
Posted by: Ralph Hampson | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 12:27 AM
Yay team Ronni...sending more of the thousands of loving thoughts which are energy through the net...thanks and healing can go through the ethernet. You are the center/hub of this particular web. Count me on it too!
Posted by: Barb | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 07:06 AM
Ronni, considering the type of cancer you have your prognosis sounds fairly good and quite hopeful. You'll have a course of treatment soon to focus and concentrate on. In the meantime that walking sounds like good advice, but don't get too carried away just yet. Hang in there.
Posted by: Charlie | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 08:09 AM
Written with such clarity and truth. One of many reasons we all love TGB. So many wonderful comments already that I can only echo the sentiments. You are a strong woman of indomitable spirit, and your last line says it all.
Peace, rest (literally go to the mattresses!), energy enough for now, and much love to you.
Posted by: annie | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 10:50 AM
It must be very scary to be living with so many unknowns.
The old adage "one day at a time" feels so cliched and over used but there is a lot of wisdom in it.
Anytime I've been unfortunate to be facing what seems at the time a horrible situation. I try to stop myself from all the what if's and fear floating around in my mind.
It isn't easy but there really isn't any other sensible solution that keeps the uncertainty from being over consuming.
Take care and know you are in the thoughts of many people.
Posted by: Tera | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 11:39 AM
We are all here for you - individually as well as an army of support. You are a pillar of wisdom and strength, and because you have shared such a intimate life event with us, we will all be forever grateful. The community here is more tangible than even I fully realized. We may all be miles apart, but here at TGB, we find friendship, love, and camaraderie. Know that you are a best friend to many folk, regardless of the fact that few of us have ever met face to face.
Personally, what I wish I could do is hold your hand and tell you that you are not alone. You have a tribe, and we will follow your lead.
Posted by: CP | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 11:43 AM
Even though this is not the 'all clear' you (and all of us) wanted to hear, doctors only have statistics for the facts at hand and they can't predict with much accuracy where those facts will take any one patient.
If statistics count for anything, I think it's safe to say 100% of us in a similar situation would be feeling the same disappointment you have especially less than two weeks after a major physical assault to your body! You want to know the results of the biopsies, but it's hard to process those properly when you're not healed up from the surgery. I am certain the sorrow will diminish as you start feeling better and find out more about the chemo options.
That doesn't make you a professional patient...just someone who doesn't have all the facts you need just yet to make the best decisions for yourself.
Posted by: Lauren | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 05:35 PM
There's always hope, but you are a realist like me. I have often wished I could live in denial. I, too, have a cancer diagnosis not as serious as yours; yet I panic, for a few days before each check-up.
You've so recently been dealt this news. I wish for you peace, rest and a way to find a sense of wellbeing in spite.
I have no advice. Breathe in the love. Breathe out the fear. That's all I know what to do. Keeps me moment-focused usually.
Posted by: paula | Tuesday, 04 July 2017 at 07:46 PM
Ronni, you are now the third person I know who has had the Whipple procedure. The other two are still alive and very active - like nothing ever happened - one after 6 years and one after 4 years. Just sayin'.
Dealing with mortality leaves us to "clean up our side of the street" with others, and with the energy left after that, participate in self-love. You are still you, and you will always have yourself. When you love and forgive yourself unconditionally, you are free.
Add to that that you are the favorite person in many people's lives. Deep breath.
Posted by: Regina | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 12:09 PM