It's chilling when you decide to take fate in your hands in that way—to be sitting across from the surgeon, making the decision to go ahead with a high-risk surgery to remove the mass once and for all. Kill the mass before it kills me, hopefully survive the surgery and not be killed by the surgery. And this is where I become philosophical about life and death because I'm 42, the meaning of life. I told my friend Karin after making this decision that we all die, and this is just a matter of how we decide to write this story we call our life. I could wait and see and let this mass go and see how it plays out, like all the doctors are telling me to do. But what would that be like, to be anxious all the time, like I've been?
The pathology came back inconclusive, a false negative. The oncologist was unable to get tissue from the lesion, as it's in a difficult spot in the upper lobe of my right lung—which is why it's also in a tricky spot for the surgery because it's also near the main artery. So we still don't know if the lesion is cancerous or not. It has been growing slowly over the last five years, but stable over the last two years. The oncologist and the surgeon advised me to do the good old "watch and wait" game, but after ten years of living in Cancerland, I'm done with that. I'm tired, I'm worn down.
Anton and I listened to the surgeon. He explained the risks, which was like listening to the track of a horror film. He will try to go below the ribs first, using a video camera, minimally invasive, to obtain the mass. However, because the mass is semi-solid and in a difficult location, he might have to make a bigger incision in the ribs, where there could be substantial scarring from the radiation I had as part of my breast cancer treatment. That means that I could bleed a lot from all the blood vessels in that area, and he also has to worry about the main artery that's there. So there will be a vascular surgical team to assist.
The surgery will take place in mid-September, after I take my oldest daughter, Miss Chloe, to LA to see her favourite band BTS with her Ninang Mae. Yes, I am scared. But I am also eternally grateful for my beloved Anton and my children who give me so much love, that I feel so protected and safe. I know I will be fine. I feel supported. I will heal, and I will be better. I have friends who love me and who are rooting for me.
My body might be weak, but my voice is strong. I will continue to speak out and write because my words connect with so many people who feel lost—people like me who are going through their own cancer battles, who are sick, who are abandoned by family, who are isolated, who are battling mental illness, who have experienced trauma, who are searching for their identity, who need support. I'll keep using my voice for those people, and for myself. I started this blog almost 11 years ago to heal, and I'll continue to do so.