We were traveling in Bali and I noticed that things did not feel right. My scuba diving was never technically great, but now I was floating around like a giant, dead puffer fish. I had to rest a lot at our casita, and my stomach ached. I knew something was wrong, but I thought it was my bad diet and lack of exercise.
I had been a personal trainer/pilates instructor before moving to China and was in great shape. But since moving out to China a year earlier, my body had changed. After returning from Bali, I still waited about a month before going to the doctor. Doctors in China were scary to me, and often gave a diagnosis like too much cold air coming in through the bellybutton or not drinking enough hot water. Eventually I looked as if I was pregnant and had to go to my doctor, who quickly sent me to the hospital where doctors looked as if they had heard the saddest news when I said I was unmarried with two daughters.
I had a CT scan, which I sent to my sister-in-law (a radiologist). The minute she saw the scans, she said I had to return to the U.S. immediately. Through chemotherapy and surgery I have regained enough energy to return to work and travel the world with my daughters. I live by my bi-monthly scans at MD Anderson, and by God’s grace they’ve all come back stable.
Cancer is now a part of my life and my daughters’ lives, and it’s always there. But we do our best to keep it in perspective. While I wish I had another ailment that isn’t listed as terminal, but life is terminal and God has just given me the gift of perspective. Carpe Diem!