I leave for PEI this evening. I am very much looking forward to spending over two weeks there – I come back August 26. I feel as though I need a break from being sick! When I return, I will undergo some tests. This includes a biopsy on the remaining ulcer to try and determine what is happening with it. It has grown in the last number of weeks. If the biopsy determines that cancer is the cause, then I will undergo chemo beginning as early as September. I find this a bit discouraging; a trip to PEI might be the cure for any discouragement!
Yesterday was the Feast of St. Ignatius. Every year Jesuits and our friends gather to celebrate the feast. This year we gathered in Pickering. I went to the celebrations. It was great to be there and to see so many people. It was a tiring day, but well worth the effort.
I have some good news to share. One of my lesions, the one on the buttocks, is healed! I have not been wearing a bandage for this lesion for a week. This lesion was the first one and the first symptom of the disease, first coming in March of 2011. It has been present ever since. I have been looking forward to this day for a long time. It is almost hard for me to believe that there is no bandage there.
The news about the other lesion (ulcer) is not near as good. It does not seem to be healing. On Tuesday, I had an appointment with my transplant specialist and he wants me to start taking another drug, new on the market for the treatment of my type of cancer. I will likely begin this treatment in September or later. In the meantime, I will undergo more tests to make sure that the cancer has not spread. This means that I will not be able to go to PEI for any significant amount of time this month. I am still hoping that I may go for a short period of time in between appointments, but I will have to wait until I get the dates of all the appointments before I can see if I can arrange this. I have to admit that I find this very disappointing — I really would like “treatments” to be over, and I was hoping that I could spend much of August in PEI. Yet, I am grateful for the advances in medicine and the unwillingness of the health care specialists to give up. It is still difficult to accept though.
The remaining ulcer has been giving me some pain. I am on pain killers around the clock. The other day when I was at mass, a refugee woman from Syria (no specific woman) came to mind. Remembering refugees like her helped to put my pain in perspective. I also realized that this pain is enabling me to be in solidarity with many people who have chronic or other forms of pain, many of whom often suffer in silence. Somehow I also feel closer to the pain of the earth at this time, the pain for species loss and climate change.
Since returning to Guelph, I have attended the lectures of a preached retreat that interpreted the Spiritual Exercises through the lens of the writings of Teilhard de Chardin. It was a great retreat, and I am grateful that I was able to be here for this.