2007-05-20 To Florida & one year anniversary of this blog
It was on 5/17 last year that I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and I started writing this Blog on 5/20.
Even though it was a very bumpy and challenging year, it was one of the best years of my life. In addition that my treatments worked well and I am feeling quite strong these days, I learned that I am surrounded by lots of love, people who care about me, and I gained a newfound appreciation for nature, music, and the arts.
While sitting on the back porch of my house, looking at the birds and fresh greens, what I discovered last summer was that I am a part of this beautiful earth. This feeling is most beautifully expressed in the following poem titled “sen-no-kaze (a thousand winds),” which was given to me by my friend when I visited Japan this spring. This was originally an English poem which was translated into Japanese and became popular when a writer/musician put it to music.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awake in the morning hush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.
2007-05-14 再発、ま〜さか？？？？ Metathesis scare
“Hi, how are you? Has your weight increased a bit?” I answered that I lost all the weight I had gained in Japan because of the dumping syndrome I suffered 48 hours before my departure. “We would like you to take a MRI, because the CAT scan taken in April showed some shadow in your liver. Even though we think that it is the same one you had last year when the radiologist pointed it out, we decided to be extra careful and have you go through the test.”
Since I had totally eradicated from my mind the possibility of my cancer coming back, this phone call was a shock. After arranging the MRI appointment for 5/13, I called my oncologist even though his office was already closed by then. There were two immediate issues I wanted to address:
1) I did not want to tell Mark yet about this test. He was in Japan, and could not do anything but worry over possibly nothing.
2) I did not want bad news to be broken while working at the simultaneous interpretation assignment that would start on Tuesday the following week.
He agreed that I did not need to tell Mark the situation yet, and told me to come to the office after the MRI on Monday. He said that he would call the MRI reader of the day from his office to get the preliminary result, if I could be with him. According to him, he and my surgeon talked about the scan results about a week ago, and told me, “it will probably be nothing. If not, it is simply more challenging.”
While having made a decision not to tell Mark, I became quite anxious about the test over the weekend. So, I decided to talk to Dr. R at the church, who is a renowned hematologist/ oncologist, and who had been my oncologist’s teacher.
After explaining what I could expect as a treatment if this were the metathesis, he asked me what was worrying me most now. When I answered that I hoped that the news would not be broken during my simultaneous assignment, he laughed and said, “as long as you are worried about everyday life like that, you should be OK. Your immunity should be working very well.”
Fortunately, the preliminary results showed nothing cancerous, as everybody expected.
Even though it was scary, I was most appreciative of the BWH medical system and the collaborative efforts between the doctors. While being one of the best hospitals in the US regarding cancer treatments, the doctors are humble about their diagnostics and treatment. Multiple eyes look at one test or one film to avoid missing anything, and they try to avoid assumptions.
2007-05-12 Still suffering from jetlag （時差ぼけだ）
“Why am I sleeping?”
I woke up at 12:30. Come to think of it, I went out for a walk at about 6:00, talked to Mark on the phone, and…
I must have fallen asleep without eating dinner.
I woke up yesterday at 5:00, and started my busy day. During the morning, I negotiated with contractors, and then started training for an upcoming interpretation job. The agent sent me a link to a client’s website, and I started reading it (translating verbally as I read). It is a physical and exhausting activity, but I feel uneasy plunging into a job without proper preparation after taking such a long break.
My son in Scotland finally sent me an Email:
I got back to St. Andrews like an hour ago. Sorry I didn't send you a message, there wasn't really any place to get it. Croatia was amazing, you guys should consider going there, and maybe even look at property because it is really cheap right now. I'll talk to you later, its late here.
OK, our next trip is to Croatia, then!
It has been exactly one year since the GI endscopy discovered a tumor in my esophagus!
Weather: sunny, thunderstorm, then sunny again.
Had a contractor and a carpet shop come to give estimates in the afternoon.
Fortunately the insulation inside the basement wall turned out to be dry, thanks to my son’s quick action after the flood. Now, we only need to have the two upstairs bathrooms repaired and cosmetic repairs to the ceilings done (It still is good news…)
The cleaning helper came over to vacuum the floor (our vacuum cleaner got wet, and I am still waiting for it to completely dry out before deciding whether we need a new one.)
Four days after getting home, I finally feel that I can rest.
The flowers and trees are utterly beautiful here in Holden. Not only the daffodils, cherries, pears, crab apples, whose flowers are showing off their colors, but also the small and humble flowers on the bushes are in full bloom.
I am suffering from terrible jet lag. My son has been coming home quite late, because he has been house-hunting in addition to his work. We eat our dinner after 9:00, and it is midnight before we know it. I go to bed at about 1:00, but wake up about 3:00.
I decided to buy Vietnamese takeout dinner tonight and eat before he came back. I need to go to bed early before I experience another dumping syndrome that seems to stem from the fatigue.