Friday, December 01, 2006

Old to New

I found an old photo of my driveway garden. This one was actually my bathroom garden. Beside it was another circle which was my maple memorial. The bathroom garden was created when my bathroom remodelers put junk there and killed the grass and it gave me an excuse to get rid of the grass I didn't like and have a new garden area beside my driveway. I almost left the old toilet for garden sculpture but decided it was a bit much. The maple memorial was created when Hurricane Fran knocked down a mature maple tree. I hoped eventually to have little circle garden down to where my dogwood is and then beyond it to the azaleas that border the street. I ran out of steam. Not only that, over time they were so neglected that the rocks, shells and marble scraps were covered in grasses, groundcovers, etc. and my neighbor with the riding lawnmower plowed over them. It wasn't until he pulled down his trellis and trashed my circles that I had my little tantrum and ended up with what I've discussed already. My new oval which combines the two garden areas into one big one with stepping stones. Sometimes out of the abandoned old garden can come a new better one. I'm still struggling with how to turn a bad event like being diagnosed with melanoma and ending up with chronic junk after my LND into something positive, something new and better. Many of my plans for turning 50 revolved around physical activities that I can't do now but I need to focus on what I can do and create a new path from the rubbish. I am so lucky and I know it. I know that when I was initially diagnosed and had my very first scan there was a good possibility that I would have had wide spread metastatic tumors since the pathology on my primary made it unclear if it was a metastatic tumor or a primary. I was damn lucky that all they found was one micrometastatic tumor on my sentinel node and some residual melanoma removed during the wide excision. In some ways I was even lucky that I wasn't diagnosed 20 years earlier when pregnant. I resent the first dermatologist for telling me that my nodular melanoma was nothing but if I'd been diagnosed then, during my pregnancy, it would have added a layer of stress when I was raising my daughter that I didn't have. One of the reasons that I was glad that the new doctor I saw yesterday spoke about my history and risk factors is that I think it's important that it be recognized that I have an unusual history which could go either way. As long as I know that my doctors are keeping that in mind as all this new and changing crap keeps me from finding my new normal, I can relax. I didn't explain it very well in my last blog entry but the worse thing to do to me is say, don't worry about it, we'll worry about it. Or to say, you'll get a full body PET/CT scan once a year so we'll know if something comes up. That's the protocol at my main melanoma clinic and I'd be fine with it if I didn't have so many symptoms. I'd be fine with no scans if I felt like I got a complete check up and the opportunity to discuss my concerns. I've had a lot of scans and am getting more so it's never been a matter of me getting an annual scan alone but the hardest thing for me to forget was being told when I initially had concerns well over a year ago that I didn't need to worry that I'd get a scan once a year whether I had symptoms or not. I know it wasn't meant to be taken literally. I have been scanned out the whazoos because initial scans did show an "issue" which has gotten smaller but never completely gone away. Here's where my strange history is a factor. I want my doctors to acknowledge that I have something in me that fought all those years before I was diagnosed which may be a big factor now. As long as I keep fighting that's great but there may be a time when it won't hurt to get a biopsy of "issues" even when they are smaller so I'll KNOW that it's not melanoma. Either way, I need to focus on turning the crap into something new and better much as I created the bathroom garden.


King (Kathie) said...


This is a test! It's getting late for me and I need to unwind and go to bed. I left a long (probably too long - after too much sake) comment on your Blog entry from the 30th and was never able to post it.
I love your pics - love your honesty in your blog.

Stay Strong
Kathie (King)

Heather said...

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Anonymous

Carver, I love that you're trying to find something positive in everything you've been through. The above quote is one that gets me through a lot of days, I have it laminated and stuck on my fridge.

It's a complicated path, but the actual wanting/needing to find something good within a horrible situation is part of what makes one a survivor. It's not so much about what happens to us, as how we deal with it.

I think you have had so much uncertainty and pain, I know that I'd have a hard time dealing with that. Give me all the news, good and bad and give me something to fight. Pussy-footing around makes me nervous. I can totally relate to your dislike of being told "not to worry", when you have had concerns and unresolved issues.

I'm loving the idea of a toilet in the garden, I can see it overflowing with pretty flowers, you could plant some in the bowl AND the tank part, like a little waterfall of pretty colors. Or maybe that would be too much...?

I know this is long, but I just wanted to say too, that I am so impressed at the way you didn't "just not worry about it". You became an informed patient, and even though it took some time, you seem to have found a doctor who appreciates that, which is so important.

Also, the suport, friendship and information you give to us all... it's amazing. Thank you for being you.

Here's to your body's fighting mechanism, long may it reign!

With love,