Be your own bulletproof vest! - Tracy Morel
Saturday 12th Dec
“ After mulling over what I wanted to say for a while I realised perhaps it’s best I put pen to paper. I tend to go on forever when I do.
When I started this Journey I was like ‘Yep I have got this’ however the last few months and one bad thing after another tends to squeeze it’s way into ones thoughts and create a bit of panic. Or rather urgency. I forgot how valuable my life was!? Silly me. I forgot again that life was fleeting as is a caterpillars life when it becomes a butterfly. But it damn well shows the world how amazing it is in it’s final path in life.
But I don’t want to be a butterfly I want to be a caterpillar, I don’t want to be in my final moments.
This is where I start to reassess my life, how I want to live it and who I want to take for the ride.
So in the last three months since I haven’t posted I have had alot going on…so I recovered from surgery in march.
Boy did that take a while, after getting multiple staph infections in my wound on my shoulder I was literally waiting like forever for a pea sized hole to heal after using a Vac machine and having a nurse come and change the gauze and packing every two days which gradually became once a week and then it was done.
This took about 2 months too long…
In the meantime I decided to Host a fundraiser with small committee to raise money for Sarcoma Research called the Yellow Ribbon Ball, In this time I also had pain and breathing difficulty in my right side again after surgery which lead to a Ct Scan.
On the same day my dressing came off my wound sight from my thoracotomy, I was told by the same doctor that I was going to lose the lower lobe of my left lung as there was a 2cm mass right smack bang in a hard to reach spot near the pulmonary artery. I was not impressed but hey no more nurse visits to dress my wound sight anymore! Just looking at the bright side.
Life was looking pretty busy and stressful. On a positive I finally got my car modified to drive with a left foot accelorator…nothing can compare to the sense of freedom one gets by being able to drive oneself anywhere and friggen everywhere. Its only been 8 months.
Its been a crazy long ride from march till now I’ve had my second surgery three weeks ago and had my lower lobe of my lung removed. That was fun!
The second day/or night who can remember I was on alot of drugs but I do know I spent most of my stay in hospital in ICU because of my blood pressure if I recall correctly? Weird. I was in pain but the pain killers were helping me manage but not when it came to my next lot of bad news…I was told the lower lobe of my lung had already collapsed…oh and I had a scan prior to surgery there was a second mass in the lower lobe as well, this found one month after prior scan which means this lil bugger had grown ridiculously quick. My surgeon informed me that there was fluid around my lung and it was blood stained.
I think a part of his heart must’ve skipped a beat or two when he discovered this as he emphasized the ‘Blood Stained’ too me. I guess it wasn’t because he was worried that a tumor had burst or anything?! Who knows…so it and the lining of my lung were tested which came back clear of Cancer , thank god because my surgeon made my stomach do back flips explaining these findings to me…in my head the whole time I was like when are you gonna get to the part where you tell me it is cancer!
However, it wasn’t and even though he expressed his hesitation to me he still went in a removed the lower lobe of my lung anyways. (On the bright side I seemed to have bounced back after the opration like a champion this time).
What he found next, yep there’s more apparently there was what appeared to be metastasis on my aorta near my heart. This he expressed needed urgent radiation, and instead of waiting the usual 6 weeks after surgery he felt 2 to 4 weeks after I should start. And not just start but hit it aggressively.
By this point I started to cry, did I mention it was day 2 after surgery, I was in ICU and on alot of drugs. But I felt at a loss. I was like this doesn’t look good. I kind of felt my end was near. (Dramatic???) So I asked his thoughts and feelings. Thankfully he gave me the kick I needed. I could feel him routing for me (or maybe it was panic and urgency) whatever it was it broke me out of my bubble a little. I felt this need in him that new it was important I survive.
Imagine If I didn’t have the pain in my right side? Only 2 months after surgery in march and I wasn’t actually due till august for a scan imagine how big my tumors would have been?
The pain on my right side was inflammation however what they found on the left was so important to my life. I call this fate, I see it as an angel watching over me or the universe speaking to me telling me it’s not over yet, that I’m not done here.
That was until I had an appointment with my radiation Oncologist and I’m told I’m going from stereotactic radiation to IMRT or Intensity Modulated Radiation therapy the difference among other things is the diametre the radiation covers. IMRT is smaller circumference because the tumor turned out to be alot closer to my heart than first thought. Bummer!
This worried me a bit ok well maybe alot but it was very internalised. It made me feel I think more vulnerable. It’s my Heart. Don’t get me wrong I know people have heart transplants and everything, not that this is what’s happening. But I’m kind of really fond of it and don’t really want this Cancer or Radiation to hurt it in anyway that is irreversable.
We all have our things I guess and we all push on because we can, we chose, we have too but here it is, I’m due to start twenty rounds of Radiation in Four weeks on the 9th of August! Eeek!
So when you find yourself going through all this depending on what is said and the results you get everytime. I find myself feeling like I’m holding my breath before I get the answer and in my mind I’m expecting bad news everytime but hoping its not. So who knew we weren’t bulletproof?
Perhaps it’s overrated anyways…
Perhaps the best part about being human is having fears. Having scars. Being imperfect. Not always being safe.
In a weird way I guess it’s like watching a scary movie when you’re at the doctors, they are usually great at building the plot and making you wait while they approach the buildup before the action happens. A really bad comparison I know!
There’s often a lesson learned in it all. Im still waiting to learn one btw…or perhaps I am already learning. Maybe facing my fears head on is a lesson in itself and not worrying about how it will affect me but rather getting on with it?
Maybe it’s listening and really listening to all of life’s little messages, from my early CT scan because of pain on my right side.
Maybe this is something we just tell ourselves to justify the coincidences? Who knows, however its like me sensing what I felt like what was my surgeons need for me to live.
That jumping to the next treatment and targeting this cancer aggressively, because afterall what have I got to lose…it was just the strength, motivation and inspiration I needed to remind me that my life is important, and I need to fight for the right to be here!
And I get these messages all the time. From friends, family and coworkers its like sometimes I feel they are in tune with the universe and they are the voice that gives me the constant reminders that I need, that empower me and make me feel like Ive definitely earned my spot here…well for the time being anyways.
Although on any given day its ok to feel the negativity slip in a little bit. Of course we can’t all be positive everyday. Thats why we have our friends and family to remind us to stay positive…hmmm speak for themselves lol but after hearing medical opinions and explanations of things and learning about my current situation I don’t feel it makes one negative however, it makes you realise how fragile and delicate we all are. And its not that I resort to being negative but I feel Im being realistic!
Lets face it My drs have never treated Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma before. And that’s 4 of my drs now all whom have different specialties.
So to me its a little concerning and that’s purely because its rare. Although I feel I am getting ridiculously good care with Sarcoma experts it’s hard to trust someone to cure you when they have never had a patient with this such disease before.
It makes you realise how so many things are out of our power. How life can be so fleeting, how hard life can be and you are the only one fighting the uphill battle to try and get out.
People can assist you but nobody can truly help you.
Drs can extend your life but they may not be able to save the world.
It’s truly a reality check.
Unfortunately No you are not bulletproof and neither am I. Its a curse or a gift we are given. Its a curse if you think we are destined to die however it is a gift if you think we are destined to live!!!
Be your own bulletproof vest take the hits and fight for your right to live. Afterall what are we all here for!
Lastly to honour the last day of Sarcoma Awareness month in Australia I will include my Do It For Cancer link so if anybody is interested in donating feel free to hit the link.
I’m doing this for those that can’t because they are currently fighting their own battle, because they won’t because this disease can take so much from us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually or because my fellow Sarcoma Warrior has grown their beautiful wings.
To each and everyone one of us it touches let me be your strength, let me be an advocate of hope for us all. This is for you!!!
Do it for cancer 🎗💛🌻