- Lori Micheli
On the Road to Recovery
A year and a half ago marks my bone marrow transplant. I was able to go home once and for all. As a mentioned previously I started slow, really slow. I now had to get strong for my surgery to remove a tumor they found on my kidney. Leukemia saved my life from this slow growing growth that would not have been found until it was too late. I was referred to a doctor and we talked about my options. He thought it was best to remove the whole kidney because removal of only the tumor would require a longer surgery and could affect my heart. I was not expecting this conversation. I thought it would be a simple procedure and just another step in my process. I left that meeting with my nurse crying in the car. They questions running through my head. If the cancer comes back, isn't better to keep my kidney just in case? But what if I didn't make it through surgery? I couldn't believe I was back here...in fear. That tunnel vision, out of body fear. I decided to get a second opinion. I contacted everyone I knew in San Francisco that was associated with the UCSF system as well as collecting my paperwork to give to the Cleveland Clinic. What I did have going for me was time, my tumor was growing at a snails pace. About a month later, my San Francisco peeps, gave me the name of a surgeon named Dr. Kristen Greene, professor of clinical urology. Right that name down. After months of worry I met with Dr. Greene. She looked at my charts and said, We do not need to take out the whole kidney. I can preform laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumor from your kidney. It will take about three hours and best to save this kidney because it is larger than the other kidney and quite beautiful. My kidney is beautiful? Oh, the beauty you find in dark places. Dr. Greene is another major god send. We set a date, my surgery went well and it will be a year ago this month.
Leukemia was a blessing because without the leukemia I would not have found the tumor. Strange to think, isn't it? I do not say this lightly but most of us will go through an illness, a divorce, losing a loved one. It's scary place but so important for transformation. It is a true rebirth of the soul that changes you. Living in the dark place teaches us what is truly important in life and if one is brave enough to to move through the pain, you will emerge into a light that is so bright. All the things that I have taken for granted in the past, the simple things really, are the most magnificent. A bird in the backyard, a candle burning, talking with a friend, a feather floating in the sky. Again, I do not take this lightly, and I pray that you will find the courage to walk through your pain when everything seems hopeless. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was a nervous wreck. All I thought about was death and not seeing my children grow up. It was a very long process but I started with with two words. No Fear. I still get fearful sometime and that is human but I have the tools to help me walk back from the ledge. Meditation, prayer, crying, writing :), talking and most importantly staying present.
This is the deal, I am just the same as you. Yes, I had leukemia, a cancerous tumor and my odds were not good but we all have one thing in common...this moment. What we do with this second in time is when the miracles happen. Life happens and there is so much goodness and kindness. People talk about the current issues that this country is facing. We are so against each other. My prayer is that we all listen to one another with an open heart no matter what side of the aisle your on. Just wanted to add that in.
Where am I at now in my recovery? Like life my recovery has it's ups and downs. My leukemia is in remission and just received good results from an MRI and CT scan regarding my kidney. I get sinus infections and ear infections because of my immune system and I should be more cautious than I am. Part of me mourns the Lori that enjoyed her cocktails with her loud opinions, though other people might not miss her :) I ask God to protect me and keep me safe. I listen every moment how I should be guided. We have a big trip coming up and there is a chance that I will not be able to go. I am taking it moment by moment but believe God wants me to live my life to the fullest...I think my odds are good. My peace comes from my faith and when I have faith and live in the moment there is no fear.
If you have a prayer request, please list in the comment or send me an email. Love to you all.