As I write this, I’m traveling home from my most recent 4 day/3 night retreat at the Cancer Fighter Resort (AKA Cancer Treatment Center of America – Newnan, GA). I’m relaxed, refreshed and full of joy! Sometimes, my neatly organized schedule gets abruptly rearranged during my visit and it happened this time too.
CTCA front entrance
During my previous trip, my pulmonary doctor was pleased to hear that my breathing was getting easier. I told him I didn’t feel like fluid surrounding my left lung (if there was any remaining) was hindering my breathing any more. He told me he would remove my Pleurx Catheter if I could go until my next visit without having to drain. He scheduled me for surgery in anticipation that that would be the case. When he saw me in his office this time, he did an ultrasound and saw only a small amount of fluid. Then, he gave me two options. The first was to follow through with surgery the next morning, as scheduled or he could pull the catheter right there in his office with no numbing meds so I could have the entire next day free of appointments (the whole day had been set aside for surgery and recovery). I hesitantly agreed to have him pull it right then. It was quick and the pain was tolerable. No tears. No surgery. Free day tomorrow!! I was ecstatic at this schedule change! The Pleurx had been the last of my cancer “accessories”.
Fluid I drained several months ago using my Pleurx. Ewww, it's foamy!
The following day, I went to a craft class, and then a worship service at the chapel on site, had a music therapy session, attended a cooking demonstration and played Bingo after dinner. I met several new people and enjoyed talking with them and hearing their stories. The next day was the rest of my appointments. All my doctors were pleased with my continued progress and my blood work looked fantastic, they said.
My music therapist and I stole their guns and made them be in picture with us!
Later that evening I attended Drum Circle. Drum Circle has many purposes. It helps patients and caregivers to relax, connect with others, release stress, etc. We beat on drums, shake tambourines and sing among other things. This time was extra special though. After many people left, a few of us lagged behind and chatted. One woman asked if we would be her “live” audience as she tried to recite from memory, a poem she’d written. She had been practicing alone, trying to memorize it because at the beginning of the year she is supposed to share it with her church family. I had not met this woman before drum circle. But I could tell we had some things in common. She looked like me – short hair (beginning to grow back), petite, smiling. She said she was nervous, as she rose and stood before us. As she spoke, her voice echoed some of my deepest feelings. Her poem, “Woman under Construction”, painted the picture of her trials through cancer and God’s refining love transforming her in the process. The longer she spoke, the more I could not control the tears streaming down my cheeks. I’ve found it difficult to accurately describe some of my physical conditions and emotions during my own fight to non-cancer patients. But this woman knew exactly. Her poem, a monologue of her conversation with God lasted five minutes. She had it memorized but spoke straight from her heart. We all congratulated and encouraged her. As I spoke to her personally afterwards, I found we had much more in common – our faith, our love for exercise and health, we are close in age, both have children and we both finished chemo around the same time. She is currently having daily radiation treatments. She has been at CTCA since October (I think) and won’t finish until mid-December. Please keep Esther in your prayers when you remember me. She blessed me greatly!!
God has placed me in a great family at CTCA in GA. I’m always excited about going! Isn’t that strange?! Employees and patients, both are warm and caring. From the valet, to the housekeepers, to cooks, doctors, to security – they all ask what they can do to help, if we need anything and how we are. I guess I could keep to myself while I’m there, but I’d be missing out on so much.
My housekeeping friend. She has remembered my name since April! She always greets us with a huge smile and a "How you doin'?" and leaves us with a hug.
I asked my husband to take my picture with this sign. CTCA is definitely a refuge area for paitents and caregivers too!
Wall sign leading to two places I go to every visit...Infusion (previously for chemo and now hormone therapy) and Wound Care to follow up with my wound care peeps, Beth and Stephanie.
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your smiles. Thank you for your hugs. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your encouragement. I thank God that you love me so well. I love you back!
Still fighting. Still VICTORIOUS!