Nancy’s Story: 525,600 minutes

“525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.  In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.  In 525,600 minutes- how do you measure a year in a life? “(Lyrics from the musical Rent)

A year in a life indeed.  I wrote my first posting to this blog one year ago this month.  I discovered a lot about myself, my friends, my family and my illness just by being able to write about it and talk about it mostly through my association with the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia and Gilda’s.  I cannot imagine how I would have done this alone.

A few weeks ago I developed pancreatitis for the second time in six months.  I was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) for several days to let my pancreas rest and was also taken off my cancer drug Pazopanib for the same reason.  We knew this is a side effect of the cancer drug so we were unsure what to do next.  Dr Haas, my oncologist, discussed this with Jeff and me, along with other oncologists for their opinion.  We decided that because the drug was working so well on reducing the tumors, we would try taking the Pazopanib at the lowest dose possible and hope for the best.  I will have my scans in August to see how I am doing.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am officially retired, at home, adjusting to a new schedule and finding that I am thrilled with the idea that I can fill my day with whatever I want.  I have all my paper work in order for my disability retirement, which was not an easy feat. I also have more activities that I want to attend at Gilda’s.  One of the things my doctor has instructed me to do is to be active as possible.  Tuesday mornings will be my new exercise day.  The exercises that are offered at Gilda’s are tailored with our disabilities and limitations in mind. So whether it is Yoga, or Pilates or Tai Ji  I want to try it all.

We have been invited to a lunch and a lecture: “How to stay young for the First 100 years.”  I saw it on Gilda’s schedule, but when I got the invitation, I thought why not attend?  My sister Lu and her husband are here visiting from the Midwest and since Dennis is a cancer survivor I thought that they may enjoy meeting my friends at Gilda’s.

It is not just people who are dealing with cancer that need hope.  I have found that my attitude has inspired friends who are dealing with their own issues. One such friend gave me a medal of a guardian angel.  I told her I thought, she is my guardian angel, which surprised her.

I have invited my sister to attend Women sharing Wisdom and Dennis will be Jeff’s guest at the men’s breakfast next Saturday, and maybe, just maybe they will walk away with a new way of looking at life.  It’s the best thing I can share.

So for now and throughout the next 525,600 minutes I will find lots of bits and pieces to share with you and hopefully give you something to share with someone else.