Part 2 - Diagnosis to Preparation

David Loofbourrow

Part 2 - Diagnosis to Preparation

(from CaringBridge 2018)

...continued...
Dr. M said he had already contacted someone at CPMC -- California Pacific Medical Center, Sutter Health's top-tier cancer/transplant clinic in San Francisco -- and, indeed, I got a call within a few hours confirming my referral and some instructions (mostly about how long I'd be waiting to hear when I'd get my appointment). I was told this liver cancer clinic is like the Mayo Clinic for livers -- with outstanding doctors and up-to-the-minute technology.
I was also referred to the Roseville Sutter Oncology department and within several hours had an appointment with my oncologist Dr. Cellappah for the following week.
The rate of waiting was now moved a breakneck speed.
I'm not being facetious. I wonder if it's like this for everyone with a cancer diagnosis. EVERYTHING CHANGED in a few hours' time. My head is still spinning with the radical change of almost every priority in my life. I had already cleared many decks since I was shifting my volunteer focus from Grass Valley Male Voice Choir to the Sacramento Valley Choral Coalition. But this news was a dramatic left turn. The same day as my diagnosis I decided to take a leave of absence from the choir and, a few days later, pass the duties of the SVCC on to another. Work on my Dad's house shifted to making room for another care-giver -- converting my office back to a bedroom. Creative projects put on hold or passed to someone else. Getting a replacement for my client's web work.
I am very thankful for Joel keeping me grounded those first few days. As I write this, several days later, I can see I was much more in a 'panic/manic mode' than I realized at the time. Over the Labor Day weekend, he and I completed a big household job I couldn't have done without him on a good day. Then we went to my last choir practice for a while, ran errands and had a lovely steak supper with Cornwall choir tour friends. On Sunday I let my church family know, had a wonder chat with a friend from High School, and worked a booth my author group was sponsoring at a street faire.
And I wrote my will.
Around all that, I knew I had to call concerned friends who had been following this journey, several people I wanted to talk to in person about my diagnosis before things slipped out on Facebook and by word-of-mouth. I'm afraid some people were hurt it took a few days to get their call -- but, of course, everyone can't be first and I could emotionally handle making only a few calls a day.
But the actual first call was to my brother, Jim.  Besides the obvious "big news", my concern was to be sure Dad was looked after.
For those new to my story, I live with and care for my 95 year old father. He's doing great, health wise, so that part is easy enough. In fact, eighteen months ago he was able to stay on his own when I went on a 21 day trip to England, with the help of our next-door neighbors Mo/Rick and Don/Bonnie. But now Dad's eyesight has failed considerably and he reports he is less stable on his feet. I am reluctant to leave him for more than 1/2 a day or night. Beyond that concern, I was also wanted make myself completely available to my Medical Team, my Job #1. My brother Jim has been super supportive and stepped right in. It also is hopeful that my two nephews can help in important ways.
So many people have called from choir, writer friends, church and around the country to offer their help and support. I am humbled and sort of embarrassed/guilty I need it. But I am learning that the love embedded in the help is released and amplified when I accept it. It's not my usual M.O. -- I'm typically private and strive to be self-sufficient, not be a burden or distraction. I have the feeling this cancer journey is going to teach me a lot of lessons I was supposed to learn before now. Thank you all in advance for the part you will play!

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