The summer that never happened

2020 has been quite a year. For so many reasons. I started they year with a new job and a cancer recurrence. Then a pandemic hit. I only worked two months in the office before going to work from home. That’s been weird in itself. During all of this I have been receiving chemo every other week and have been through 8 rounds now. It’s been weird doing this during the pandemic. Basically my only outings are to the Cancer Center and I haven’t been allowed to have anyone with me. Turns out going to chemo by myself hasn’t been that bad. My brother has video chatted with me during every single round. Sometimes I read to my oldest niece as well. She just knows her auntie is at the doctor. That’s all a 3.5yo needs to know. I read, I stream, I chat with wonderful nurses and then it’s time to go home.

The rest of us know it’s a lot more than just visiting the doctor. Eight rounds of chemo takes a lot out of you. I spend the week after it so fatigued that taking out the garbage makes me want to pass out. My wonderful parents have been doing all my shopping and taking care of so many things. When I do have energy I am gardening, walking and now kayaking (huge shout out to the Milwaukee Kayak Company)!

I’m at the point in my treatment where I have to decide if I keep doing chemo or if I have another surgery. My tumor markers have decline throughout chemo. My scans have remained stable, meaning no growth, but also no measurable shrinkage. I’ve had a few conversations now with my surgeon on what a surgery will look like. It won’t be quite as extensive as my last one, mostly because they already took so many of my organs and I’m not full of disease. There are two tiny tumors on my liver so this surgery will include a second surgeon who specializes in liver oncology. They will be working together to remove the tumors. This surgery could be anywhere from 6-10 hours depending on many, many factors. Getting through my scar tissue alone could take 2-4 hours. They may find more disease than is showing up on scans. They might take a small part of my liver. They might do the heated chemo (HIPEC) again, they might not.

The thought of another surgery is overwhelming and scary. But so is months more of chemo. I’m so sick of feeling like crap every other week. After lots of consideration and conversations with doctors, my parents and family, I have chosen to have the surgery. It will be June 30th. I will likely be in the hospital for 7-10 days. They have thankfully lifted the no visitor policy so at least one of my parents can be with me. I’s say it would put a damper on my summer except for the fact that I was going to spend my whole summer in my backyard anyway. At least getting out for walks will be a lot easier than when I had a January surgery. My plan is to enjoy June and kayak as much as possible and maybe get around to mowing my lawn, again.

If you want to help: I will need people to water my garden and mow the lawn. I will need someone to take care of my kitties while I’m in the hospital. Funds for paying cleaning people, my mom is managing this. I have no idea about meals because I hated food so much after my last surgery. My mom is good at feeding me. Other things to do: support my parents. They may need meals.

My garden, I’m obsessed with it. I basically check it daily to see were everything is at and what might be blooming. It’s keeping me occupied and I love it. Can’t wait for all my veggies.

12 thoughts on “The summer that never happened

  1. Rooting for you again Renee!! You know I’m a crazy cat lady, so I can totally help care for your kitties if needed! Just let me know when. I am out of town July 2-6, but before or after that I’m available! 🤗❤️

  2. Renee,
    I’d be happy to mow your lawn whenever you need. I’m just down the block at 3207, text me when, and I’ll be there.

    1. Thank you. I have a couple people who have volunteered their kids. But I will keep you in mind as well. Greatly appreciated.

  3. Renee, glad your mom shared this with me as I am not on social media these days. I would love to show you where I kayak around here. I assume you have a kayak and a way to move it? If you ever want to get out of the city and kayak along the Rock or Little Oconomowoc River, just let me know. Other than that, you can count on me to care for your folks and feed them! Stay the strong positive person you are. I am pulling for you. hugs, Mary

  4. Thanks for the update Renee! All our love, best wishes, and best of luck with the surgery. I’m so glad you have found ways to enjoy June – I love kayaking too. Your garden looks great – Christine has developed a gardening obsession too! There is so much joy in seeing your investment of time and care bear fruit. Love, Brunos

  5. Thinking of you and miss you so much! I offer my prayers and my support in any way you need. Please let me know, sounds like so many people have already rallied around you. Shows how very much you are loved!

  6. We’ll be sending our love & positive vibes your way on June 30th. If anyone can do this thing it’s you Renee! Glad to know your parents can be with you. Fun to see that you share your mom’s passion for gardening!

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