Back to Life, Back to Reality

May 2, 2002, Memorial Hospital, New York

It felt like the clock striking midnight on Cinderella at the ball.

For two glorious weeks in Hawaii, we had the experience of reliving our pre-cancer lives. We dropped right into our old rhythm, staying in our old neighborhood, revisiting favorite haunts, visiting with old friends--feeling as though we'd never left. It was all so familiar, so comfortable, so right. No doctors, no appointments, just sun and beach and love and family togetherness. I had lots of energy, invigorated by the tropical air, and we began to dream of how we could make a real return someday.

Then it came time to leave. Just like that, the glass slipper fell off.

Beginning with the long flight home, I didn't feel right. The trip had upset my delicate diet routine, and as the flight dragged on, I grew increasingly nauseous. I hadn't weighed myself the entire trip, and when I got home, I found I had lost five more pounds, bringing me down to 30 percent below my pre-surgery weight. A CT scan the next week showed more tumor growth, despite my having continued chemotherapy during the vacation.

Not good.

We took a trip to Chicago to investigate a highly recommended alternative cancer center near Northwestern University, the Block Medical Center. After spending a day there hearing about their treatment ideas, we decided to sign on with their program, even staying an extra day to get started on some preliminary procedures. We returned to New York awaiting insurance clearance so we could get going in earnest.

But alas, there's been a complication. I'm back at Memorial Hospital after checking into the emergency room Monday night with severe abdominal pain. The docs say I've got a bowel obstruction, but as of yet haven't located where. I told them I don't intend for this to be the end, and they agree that I shouldn't be leaving here in a box. But I'll probably be hospitalized for several days while they sort things out. In the meantime, I continue to scratch and claw my way along, fully intending to pull out of this slump and get on the upswing.

My mind and spirits remain good, it's just my body I've got to bring up to the same level. I doggedly believe it can be done. After all, didn't Cinderella overcome her travails to marry the Prince and live happily ever after?

Believe with me and we'll make it real.