Monday, November 9, 2015


I’ve learned much, the past couple of months, about the battle against cancer.

For one thing, it’s not a battle, it’s a war and wars are won by winning a series of battles.

Mobilizing for war is arduous especially while defending against an unexpected attack. It takes clear thought to the goals and what will be lost if one doesn’t win. There’s the cost of fighting a war, mentally, physically, psychologically and monetarily.  One leaves behind ‘normal’ life and has to focus everything on fighting and winning the war. It becomes the daily existence. One has to channel funds into getting the best weapons and equipment, assembling a strong motivated fighting force, and have a good knowledge base of the enemy and its goals. Not an easy task. The initial euphoria after an attack often wears thin and so keeping the reasons and goals for fighting the war to begin with, needs to be kept to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Then it’s hunkering down for the long haul and fighting to win.

Somewhere along the line I lost sight of parts of that mobilization process. I was unexpectedly attacked and I mustered up what was needed initially. Mindset, support group, funds to deal with travel and tests. I was armed but it was only the first of the battles that needed to be faced and although there were skirmish victories my mind lost sight of the long haul. And it’s daunting.

I think one of the problems is I’ve had several surgeries in my life. Usually, after a surgery for a particular thing, the mind then faces the healing process (like rebuilding after a war). In this instance, the removal of the tumor was successful. Pathology indicated that all was clean in the breast. Lymph nodes all clear. My mind leaped right past the concept of war and focused on the battle won and onto healing...wrong. It was only the initial battle. Yes, I won that series of battles but the war was by no means won.

This trip to CTCA was very intense. I had a list of questions and one of those questions had to do with further treatment. See, everything was healing. Pathology showed all clear, so why did I need chemo or herceptin? I brought my page of questions forward and got back several pages of answers and much more information for the war beyond this initial series of battles.

We went back to the preliminary findings and again defined the cancer I’m facing—Her2 positive, grade II, stage II—highly invasive and consequently fast growing and with a penchant for stray cells to migrate to other places and basically homestead. Without proper treatment this cancer will come back and even more aggressive than it was initially. I was given a clearer picture of what it takes to conquer this particular type of cancer and what weapons I will need to win the war

Scary stuff.

Countries gearing up for war can divert resources from existing assets and/or increase taxes to fund it. I have no one to tax and only a limited amount of funds to divert and yet there is no question that if I want to live and win this war, I have to go forward. On the plus side I do have very good insurance. On the negative side the co-pays are going to hurt financially. Then there is travel, daily food, and lodging that must be taken care of over the next eighteen months. This war is going to be expensive.

Just like soldiers and civilians in a war, I want normal life back. Well, that’s not going to happen for awhile. There is much in between the victory in these initial battles and eradicating the threat and demolishing the enemy. All the wishing in the world isn’t going to make this cancer go away as quickly as I want it to.

All I can do is have courage and move forward, keep my spirits up, and focus on demolishing the enemy. To do that I have to hunker down for the long haul. 

And it will be a long haul.  


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Dear Sia - I am sorry life is being so troublesome ... and now you're finding out about the battles ahead ... at least you're facing them with a positive attitude - yes there'll be the downs, but the expectation of recovery is there - it is taking it one day at a time and slowly you will get your life back. With many thoughts - and that long haul will shorten as the days go by ... take care and all the very best to you and the family - Hilary

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, you can do it. For anyone with cancer, it is a battle and a struggle and can be hard. Having a positive attitude can help a lot. It helped my sister so much while she battled this. Take care of yourself as you journey through this and keep your family and friends close. We're here for you.

Kat Sheridan said...

I just want to go kick somebody's (something's) ass. I'm sad and angry that you have to face all this. I wish there was something I could do, more than just sending well wishes and virtual hugs. I'll be thinking of you and your family (you have an AWESOME team on your side!). Just keep fighting. We'll keep the home fires burning for you.

~Sia McKye~ said...

HILARY--yes, thankfully the expectation of winning and kicking this cancer to the curb is there. My medical team has been reminding me of that. :-) I'm trying to take it a day at a time and keep my focus there. Looking at it any other way is overwhelming.

NATALIE--thank you. I know a positive attitude is instrumental in winning and thankfully, I'm one for whom a positive attitude is a natural way of life. Yet there are days when it's a reach. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

My dear KAT, I wish I didn't have to face this either. However, having people there to keep me strong and focused is everything. If I get tired frustrated with dealing with this I can only imagine how hard it is for those on the sidelines. There is a desire to do...something, anything to help with the war and yet there is very little physically that can be done. I've been on those sidelines, too. The business of life goes on and takes up most of our time and that's how it should be. Having those to cheer me on
or be there when I need to vent and rail is very much needed and appreciated. Thank you my dear friend.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry there is so much more to do to win the entire war. Just keep fighting, one battle at a time. Your attitude will make all the difference. Keep praying for strength.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm so sorry this is a battle you have to face. Now you know why they say cancer is invasive. A friend of mine went through it, including two full mastectomies, and she has been cancer free for ten years. It can be beat.

~Sia McKye~ said...

You ARE TRULY a trooper Sia McKye, WE Have Faith, We Will Win this WAR !! . I have started to read your writing and Enjoy every word, I get so into them, it seems my coffee is cold when i finish, Thank God for the microwave !! lol WE LOVE YOU !! #greatwriter#greatlady#greatfriend#L&R!!

Charles Donohue
November 9 at 8:53am

~Sia McKye~ said...

ALEX--I have been praying for continued strength and endurance to win. Thank you.

DIANE--LOL, yah, the enemy is invasive and looking to win. Thank you for sharing the positive of your friend's battle and 10 years cancer free. :-)

CHUCK-- You and Theresa have a great cheering section for me. Sorry you couldn't get your comment here but I brought it over from FB. I have no doubts I will win but it's the day to day grind of it all that gets me down now and then. Love ya!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My prayers to send you strength. You have the determination and are asking the right questions to take control as much as you can. Thoughts coming your way every day.

~Sia McKye~ said...

SUSAN--I had to laugh at the thought of having control over any of this. Yet, I get what you mean and yes, I've done what I can do control as much as I can and keep some sort of balance in daily life and keep my lifestyle as 'normal' as possible. This crap tends to take over every aspect of your life if you let it, so my husband and I try to do other fun things to take us away from it.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They are very much appreciated. :-)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Sia. I'm sorry. I didn't know you were facing this battle. I can only wish you strength and the wisdom to make the right choices for your treatment. Your gearing up for battle is spot on. I'm sure the mind is either your enemy or your best resource in this battle. Keep that positive vibe going, and ask for prayers everywhere you can. I'll keep you in mine.

Denise :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you DENISE! Prayer is a powerful resource and I appreciate any and all prayers.
Yes the mind is both resource and stumbling block but I do pray for clear thoughts and a light to shine on the path best to take and the right questions to ask. I also ask for guidance for the doctors treating me. Again, thank you. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Yolanda Renee said...

I'd love to send you a healing prayer, if you wouldn't mind. It's a Baha'i prayer that can help you remain calm in times of stress, it's simple but very powerful.

I know you have this, Sia, you are one awesome woman!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I didn't know! So sorry for this journey that you didn't ask for and never wanted. I'm praying for you!

Karen Walker said...

Sia, I can't imagine what it is to face something like this because I haven't gone thru it personally. But from your words, I know you are doing everything you can to win this war. I wish there was something I could do other than offer prayers and an open heart to listen. Some others I know have done a GoFund to raise money for help with things like this. It's hard enough to fight the health battle without having a financial battle to deal with as well. Virtual hugs are on the way....

~Sia McKye~ said...

YOLANDA--Thank you. You have my email go ahead and send it. As for awesome, I thank you for that compliment, but I gotta tell you there are days I feel more like applesauce than awesome. :-D

Theresa--no, I didn't ask for it but I will deal with it and thank you for the prayers.

~Sia McKye~ said...

KAREN--Having been on the other side of the fence with friends I totally understand wishing there was something we could do besides offer words, hugs, and prayers. We're geared to want to DO something, fight something, in their behalf. :-)

But, don't underestimate the power of those words, hugs, and prayers. They do matter.

As far as financially, yes, it is a worry. I've gotten a couple of bills back and went holy crap. I've heard of GoFund but haven't a clue as to the workings of it.

Lisa said...

This certainly does put things in perspective. I have known, and know, so many women who have fought this same war and some have won the war and some have not. Putting it in this way, the war and the battles, makes me appreciate the strategy that women (and men)must come up with if they ever want to get to that main goal, a normal life again. Brave woman you are and I thank you for sharing this with us. And thanks also for taking time away from your battles to read and comment on my blog...

Nick Wilford said...

So sorry to hear this news. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to prepare yourself mentally for fighting this war. Not many of us want to go to war, but keeping that strong mindset will be a great advantage. Sending best wishes your way.

~Sia McKye~ said...

LISA--it was my pleasure to visit. It was a great post for Mark and his Oirish terms, lol!

Yes, it is war and there is strategy needed to win. That became very apparent to me when my nephew went through a brain tumor and subsequent treatments spanning several years. Cancer is a war that involves the whole family--not just the person with the cancer. I saw courage in action with my sister's family.

Thank you for stopping by and your encouragement.

NICK--Thank you. No, not many of us want to go to war and I'm hanging tough.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm so sorry to read this news. I had no idea you were battling cancer. I know that you will win this war. Sending many hugs your way.

Beate said...

Dear Sia, I'm sending all the strength I have, all the positive thoughts, all the healing energy and lots of smiles your way. You are amazing and inspiring in the way you deal with this incredibly scary time of your life. I believe from the bottom of my heart that you will win every single battle of this war, because this world needs you to spread happiness and kindness and smiles :)
Lots and lots of hugs to you,

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