Last week I got some pretty devastating news.
“Elisa,” my doctor said, “we’ve done so much radiation on your back that if we do any more one of your vertebrate could fracture.” You see, they think the cancer in my back is growing—encroaching on my spinal cord. And so it’s sending nerve pain and problems through my legs. “We’ll still do radiation on the tumor in your left femur. But for your back, you most likely need another surgery. They’ll remove as much cancer as they can and reposition the cage where your L3 used to be….”
Her words struck me and tears filled my eyes to the point that I had to bite my lip under my mask just to avoid falling apart right there in the office. My mother-in-law—who is an absolute legend—sat by me. The last thing she needed was to watch me cry.
I told myself to be strong and play the glad game. I could be glad because even though I have to get radiation on my femur, my parents are coming up in their RV to be by me. (I swear those two have people in RV parks across the nation praying for me!) I could be glad about surgery because… because… I thought of the brutal 6-inch scar on my back and the 5-inch scar on my stomach where they’d pulled my L3 cancer-ridden vertebrae out. Then, for some reason my thoughts turned to Mother’s Day, and I thought of my four kids. How much longer will I be with them? The surgery could lengthen my life, give me more time with my husband and kids. But my choices are between having a serious surgery (where I initially almost died on the operating table in 2020–thank God for a blood transfusion) or letting the cancer take me.
After I got home from my treatments that night, I snuggled into my bed and cried. It’s not that I WANT to feel bad for myself, it’s just that another surgery sounds almost unbearable. (I had six surgeries in five years—you think I’d be used to it, but I guess everyone has their breaking point.)
I prayed this week that God would help me. It’s just surreal how sometimes God sends angels on earth to answer our prayers. I felt so alone, then, a woman who reads my weekly newspaper column, Pamela White, sent me the most encouraging message saying she’d asked people at church if they knew about me from the newspaper. I guess people did—and she said so many people prayed for me in that town! Just her message and that knowledge wrapped me in so much hope.
Then, on Monday, my memoir, “Two More Years” came out. My post about that got thousands of views, and in a single day, my book hit No. 4 on a bestseller list. I also received the most encouraging messages from so many people on Facebook. I just can’t describe how much this means to me, truly.
That night, I snuggled back into bed, but this time I didn’t cry. Instead I thanked God for His blessings. I can’t believe how many wonderful people I’ve met through the Island Park News, my blog, and Facebook—even as I’ve battled cancer. You’ve watched me fight, prayed, and even battled beside me. Through this, we’ve forged a bond that I believe is absolutely humbling. I’m so grateful that I didn’t die in a car accident or have my life snuffed quickly out. Even though this is a laborious, tiring journey, I’m so fortunate to be making more valuable memories than I did for years before my diagnosis!
I can’t believe how kind people have been. I can’t fathom that my cancer memoir became a bestseller! I’m stunned with the good fortune I’ve had—despite cancer. So, if I must get another surgery, I’m ready to fight once more. I guess it just took some prayers from my family and friends, the amazing people I’ve met online, and local church members in Island Park. Plus, Mike said if I need surgery again that I can go on a $30 Goodwill shopping spree on him—that’s worth at least six dresses!!!
Thank you for everything—especially to Inger, Jo-Anne, and Melanie. Your kindness means far more than you know 💓
To find out more about my memoir, please go to: TwoMoreYears.Net