:: The S.I.C.L.E. Cell ::

my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Saturday, July 11, 2009 ::

Sorry for my long absence. In May I was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor that turned out to be cancer. The average survival rate for pancreatic cancer, from diagnosis to the big dirt nap, is three and a half months. It's wicked deadly. So I thought I was out of here. However, after removing most of my pancreas (and my spleen) the tumor was found to be of the NET variety (neuroendocrine tumor), and my particular NET cancer appears to be of low aggression. You may remember the headlines last month re: Steve Jobs and his pancreatic NET-related liver transplant. Yeah, I think my life has been shortened.

Here's how it all came about:

I was visiting a dear friend who happens to be a doctor. I quipped that I grew a better mustache than he. He sent me for labs. I almost didn't go, but I thought it might be interesting to see if anything showed up that might relate to all my horrible HG pregnancies. Everything was normal except an elevated DHEAS level, a marker for adrenal tumors. But the number wasn't terribly high. Normally it's in the 700s for tumors. Mine was in the low 400s. Just to be on the safe side my friend ordered a CT scan. CT scans are no joke, so I didn't want to do it. In fact, the day before the scan I called him and said I wasn't going to do it. Didn't he know my family tree is worm-eaten with cancer? I argued with him for a good half hour, and then finally complied; that's my schtick.

Got the CT, and 4 days after my birthday, on my daughter's birthday, I got the news: adrenals clear, but there is a "small thing" on the pancreas. Then came the inconclusive biopsy. Btw, if you ever find that you have a tumor that will need to be removed surgically no matter what, don't let anyone biopsy it beforehand, because the biopsy can cause malignant seeding, which I am now at risk for, having had a totally unnecessary fine needle biopsy. I didn't know that malignant seeding was a risk, and when I asked, I was literally laughed at by the gastroenterologist who performed the EUS/FNA. Come to find out, there IS a risk, and my surgical oncologist acknowledged it. At any rate, next came the serious surgery, 10-day hospital stay and grueling recovery, which I am still not out of. Next on the menu is the rest of my life, however short or long it is.

And now you may find interesting the phone conversation I had with my endocrinologist who called to inform me that she received a certified letter from the lab where I had my initial blood test. The letter included a list of names of those affected by a faulty lab assay that mistakenly elevated normal levels of DHEAS. My name was on the list, along with the assurance that they had corrected their assay. Obviously, if they had not made the mistake, I would not have had the CT, and the NET would have grown, metastasized to my liver, and that would have been my modus of exit (i.e., I would have died).

Most of my pancreas is gone and also my spleen. It causes problems. I wish I could go to the pancreas/spleen store and get new parts. Or I wish new, cancer-free organs would regenerate. But they don't. No one can make a pancreas or a spleen. It would be a miracle. And yet, there are over 3,000 young Americans today with little spleens and pancreases that are being perfectly, Masterfully formed. These are healthy organs built to sustain long lives. No man can match their handiwork or even come close. And yet all these miraculously made organs, inside these tiny, miraculously made people will be destroyed and thrown in the trash in abortions performed this very day. IT IS SUCH A WASTE.

I knew before that life was precious. Cancer just brings it home. When you get your tumor, you'll see what I mean. And if you're an abortion supporter, maybe you'll reconsider. But hey, why wait? Love life now. (And not just your own.)

Well, that does it for the Cell, kiddies. My clock is ticking audibly now, so I'm investing my remaining time in my children. The years have been long. Thanks for reading me.

:: ashli 10:21 AM # ::

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