I am past due to send out a great heartfelt note of thanks to all the people out there in internet land, in Rome, in Europe, the US and elsewhere, who have written, emailed, texted, phoned and messaged me on facebook, the blog, here on LifeSite and even in the post, ever since I made it known publicly that I was recently diagnosed with cancer. As I said, it is only too easy for us cold, northern Anglo types, particularly those in this line of work, to forget that there really is such a thing as Christian charity, kindliness and good will.
I have really been overwhelmed by the generous and friendly notes and messages I have received. Prayer offers have come in ranging from daily family Rosaries to entire communities of nuns, praying for my health and recovery and general well being. I have had calls and messages and offers of help from journalists, friends, editors, colleagues, priests and pro-life campaigners from around the world, from friends in England, the States, Ireland, Australia and Europe, from nearly all the people I’ve worked with in the last ten years (and even from one member of the British Royal Family!).
I came into the office today and there was a large bouquet of flowers waiting for me on my desk sent from friends in Ireland, and the other day, a box arrived from North Carolina, via Poste Italia, containing a large tupperware container of homemade ginger cookies!
I have had people buy me things I need, bring me flowers, top up my cell phone credit, drive me 60 miles home from hospital, take me to doctors’ offices and hospital appointments, help me get the paperwork together for medical coverage and even get on flights to bring it to me from England via Germany. Today, an Italian friend took me round to all the necessary local offices to get signed up for an Italian GP and did all the necessary translating to get the proper prescriptions. People have grocery shopped for me when I was too tired and taken me out to eat when I was too out of sorts to be much fun. They’ve sent me funny videos on the internet and a stack as long as your arm of Russel Crowe and Ahnold action flicks on DVD. (Nothing like explosions and car chases to take your mind off your troubles, I’d definitely recommend it.)
I can’t tell y’all how much this has helped, and, at the risk of being accused of sharing too much, I thought I would spread a little good news.
I was told that after exploratory surgery, I would be undergoing a series of scans and exams to see if the cancer had spread to the surrounding tissues, and if so, how far. This would let them devise a treatment plan, to decide what sort of surgery would be required and whether they would do chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
I had the first of these last week and the doctors have told us that it is showing the best possible scenario. From the dedicated ultrasound, the tumour looks to be small and localised. There is no sign of the cancer having spread to any of the surrounding tissues or organs or lymph nodes.
The doctor told us that, apart from having no cancer at all, this was the best possible situation. I will be going on Monday for the big fancy scans with MRI and PET machines and they will be able to tell me definitively whether there is any spreading or any cancer anywhere else, but for now, the prognosis looks very good. They told me there is a good chance that I will not need chemo and that the surgery will be very minor.
I have had a hard time keeping up with all the people who have been supporting me, with saying thank you properly and letting you all know just how much of a difference this has all made. It can be a bit scary living in a foreign country, but I would like to let you all know that I have never felt more loved or more safe.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Just posted this to the LSN blog.