Saturday, October 6, 2018

Health update

Nancy while in hospital
Hello everyone. I have been away from my blog since March. I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I had a successful lumpectomy March 6 in Pembroke. No cancer was found in the 3 lymph nodes removed nor in the margin material removed around the tumour. When I was healed from surgery I underwent a series of chemotherapy treatments, also in Pembroke.  I spent all of my Spring either receiving chemo, sleeping, or watching Netflix.

Our summer holidays at the cottage are a blur-do not remember much. My daughter Emily and her husband Eric came up from Iowa, with my brother-in-law Mike and Emily's good friend Rachel.  We had the 25th Anniversary party to celebrate the building of the cottage. I do not remember any of it.

While we were at the cottage I began experiencing memory lapses and extended periods of confusion. We just thought it was "chemo fog" We went home early and then transferred me to Ottawa to stay with friends while I underwent daily radiation treatments. I came home on the weekends. Towards the end of these treatments I experienced significant confusion and other issues, and ended up in the hospital. I do not remember much of the next little while. François was in Deep River and dear friends stayed with me at the hospital until he arrived.

At first the doctors believed I had brain cancer, but the MRI and CT scans did not present images consistent with that diagnosis, so they were stumped. I experienced two TMI strokes and two seizures.  At this point, out brilliant neurologist proposed that I had Autoimmune 

Encephalitis. The chemo drugs did their job well-kill the cancer-but my immune system confused the lining around my brain with the cancer and started to kill it. The neurologist-Dr. Briscoe-proposed that I be put on prednisone, asteroid, to counteract the directions being sent to my immune system.  If it worked, no brain cancer. If it did not, brain cancer.

Well it worked! I am home recovering. Still weak but I am improving daily. My hair is growing back, red!  François says I look like Tin-Tin! I am on 40mg of prednisone daily through the end of next week, then I step down to 30 mg.  I still can not attend church as my immune system is compromized. I am waiting to hear the results of my blood-work from this week which will tell us whether or not I can return to church.  Autoimmune disease is part of my family history-my sister had Myasthenia Gravis and my mother had Lupus.

When we were preparing to leave hospital, the doctors were talking about what I would be doing at home, care for me, etc.  When they heard about my letterpress equipment in the studio, they turned quickly to François and said, "We do not think it advisable for Nancy to operate this equipment in the near future."  

I have recovered almost all of my memory now, I can translate Latin and can also program the various websites I am responsible for as part of my routine. I am walking around he block and cooking meals. I am working in the studio daily-tidying and organizing. I walk by my presses daily and look longingly at them, but I know better than to attempt anything at this point!

This has been an incredible experience, and I will write more next week. When I started on the prednisone I lost my memory, thought the nurses had kidnapped me, and that I lived in Mt. Carroll, Il. I wanted to put up this post as I have received many emails from people wondering where I was.

Thank you for your concern, your prayers and support.  I feel healed from the breast cancer and am on my way to a full recovery. I am very thankful for all the support from our parish here in Deep River, and also former parishes in Fitzroy Harbour and Cambridge. The power of prayer is an amazing thing, to be sure. 

I definitely feel healed by the power of God-no mistake about it.

This past year I have been spending time again with Dorothy Bass' wonderful book, Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time.  Since my illness this year and all that has transpired, each moment of every day has become more precious to me. I feel the presence of my loved ones who have died with me in the studio every day. I feel compelled to create and to share my creative verve with others as an expression of my deep faith in God and all that she brings to the world in every hour of every day. 

With each breath I make and each step I take, I know in my soul that all will be well, and all will be well, with the peace and grace of our mother God, all will be well.