• carla moreno

To Eat Or Be Eaten

To eat or be eaten, to escape or be taken ... a matter of utmost importance to the one concerned, yet it happens all the time and we don't even notice. Nahoko Uehashi
Artwork by Grégory Lê

It’s been 10 months since my appendectomy, 8 months since my right hemicolectomy, 4 months since I stopped chemo treatment, 5 CAT scans, countless needle pricks and doctor appointments; and while there was some good news last time, unfortunately, I don’t have good news now.

Actually, we don’t know what I have, but 4 new nodules and the doubling in size of a previous nodule is disconcerning. My oncologist didn’t want to scare me, but he didn’t think it should be ignored. A different test, right away, is in order.

So, the next action plan is to have a Positron Emission Tomography ... blah, blah, blah... just call it a (PET) scan. It’s an imaging test more in depth than a CAT scan that will reveal how my tissues and organs are functioning. A radioactive drug will be injected into my veins and areas in my abdomen with high level of chemical activity, which often points to areas of disease, will glow like a fuckin’ Lite Brite.

And because insurance is an issue, we have to wait for authorization to proceed. Isn’t that lovely?

Until the PET scan is completed, we won’t know the exact next steps, but another laparoscopy, biopsy, different chemo treatment, and the dreaded HIPEC surgery came up during the consultation.

It was hard to hold back the tears and with a face mask, I was practically choking on them. It was a quiet ride home and although it was only NOON, I took a shower, dressed in my pajamas and watched a few tear-jerker movies about terminal illness, because isn’t that what anybody does after news like this?

Anyway, I cried a lot and then I was hungry. Usually, my beloved cooks dinner, but lately I’ve been on a cooking kick and I thought:

I’m being eaten by cancer. Hell, let’s make a pizza!

I know that’s a bit macabre, but stay with me folks.

What I hate the most about cancer and this recent news is that I feel great. I’ve been eating well, hiking, ROAMing, and just thankful to be alive. It boggles my mind that something can be growing and eating the inside of your body without you even knowing it. Since appendix cancer is usually an accidental find, it truly sucks to know there’s so little known about it and therefore, treatment is limited. It sucks even more to think about all those times you were told your appendix is a useless organ because it does one hell of a job screwing up the rest of your body.

I continue to work with a Traditional Health Practitioner to maintain healthy habits, improve my immune system, nourish my spirit and honor my journey. I believe the strength I have now is directly attributed to this. I'm also reminded that I'm not meant to carry other people's expectations on how I'm supposed to deal/treat this.

While this is most certainly an extremely difficult time for me, I know the Creator and my mother are carrying me through all this and everytime I watch a sunset, I know tomorrow is another day to live BIG and another day to cook good food.

Illustration by Fulvio Obregon

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