By Emily Moore
Today is a good day.
Today is a great day.
Today is a very happy day.
When I began this journey, I had a very hard time writing about it. I had to deliver terrible news to the people whom I love the most. It was heartbreaking for me. Going public with so much confidential information was not easy for me either.
However, over time I learned to let people in. While I still do not share every private or painful moment of this journey, I’ve realized that by opening myself up, I have been enveloped in a warm embrace of love, concern and more support than I could have dreamed of.
I think that allowing others to experience this journey by my side has given me the courage to continue fighting.
When I was initially diagnosed with cancer last Oct. 31, I was given a diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I wasn’t given very long to live. At 34 years old with two small children and a loving husband, my life was coming to an end.
I realized how in an instant life could be taken away.
I constantly worried. “Are my precious children going to lose their mother?” “Am I going to see my little boy graduate from preschool?” “Will I ever wave goodbye to Hallie (and chase the bus down) when she boards the bus bound for Camp Barney?”
I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t give up; how could I leave my children on this planet without me?
After many tests and a visit to Johns Hopkins, my diagnosis was changed to a Stage 4 appendiceal cancer that metastasized to the liver. Still not good, but there was hope.
After five rounds of an intense chemotherapy regimen, I was a candidate for surgery. Back in March, I underwent a complex surgery that removed more than half my liver, a third of my colon, and my appendix and gallbladder.
I was more frightened than I have ever been in my life. It was a tough time, but I survived to tell the tale, although I admit I do have many moments when my breath catches in my throat and I’m amazed that I am alive.
It’s a funny thing, that even in the midst of a terrifying situation, one can find hope to cling to — the craving for life, the silent promise to live. The human spirit is determinately resilient.
Recently before chemo we met with my oncologist to go over results from a scan I had. The chemo shrank the spot on the liver.
An interventional radiologist is going to ablate the spot via an MRI-guided procedure. I will undergo a few more rounds of chemo, then (G-d willing) will be able to say I am tumor-free.
If you are able to take anything away from my story, let it be two important things:
- Never underestimate the power of a second opinion. We were told it would take months for us to get into Johns Hopkins (if we got in at all). It took us days.
We worked hard. We did not stop. My family and friends used every connection they could come up with. They tirelessly worked the phones day and night. They won.
- Let others in. Support is important.
I am the kind of person who likes to do everything myself. I don’t like accepting help, and it has been hard. That being said, support is crucial.
Today I feel as if there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although I know I’m not in the clear and I do constantly think about my cancer coming back, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to fight.
I am working hard to build mental resilience while gaining a new perspective on life. I am overwhelmed with immense gratefulness for my life and gratitude for my family, friends and this wonderful community.
The short and sweet is we will meet with the interventional radiologist, who is going to perform the ablation in the next few weeks. Until then I am still undergoing chemotherapy.
Lots of love and gratitude,