Am I really writing about my cancer journey?

          I was the last person in the world that thought I would be writing about my C….. Journey, but here I am. I mostly thought I would not write because everybody is living their own journey, mine just happens to be called cancer. My thought is why would anybody care to read another persons tales of one of the scariest diseases on the planet anyway. Everyone is busy living their lives, these are simply the times and the country  in which we live in, and thats how we roll in the US of A. Seriously never before has time  gone by so quickly, yet I have been caught up in a time warp and on the same page since April 15, 2010. Thats two years, six months and 14 days, but who’s counting? Funny how it took a tragedy to make me stand still. The same goes for the planet we live in. As I write this New York City, a city notorious for never standing still is at a stand still as Hurricane Sandy does its thing before it blows out of town. New York is in the dark tonight, a space that I have come to know all too well. I wonder how many New Yorkers went to sleep last night scared about what would happen when the storm hits? Weathering storms has become a part of my daily life now, mainly because I don’t know how I will wake up feeling anymore.

How did I get here? Good question and one I ask myself on a daily basis since 4/15/10. To be continued…..


“Weebles wobble but they don’t fall Down”

Wow, What a whirlwind of a month it has been. I believe I wrote my first blog entry on the evening Sandy was wreaking havoc on NYC and the entire east coast. I may not have lived through that storm…even though having lived in south Florida for 25 years I braced, barricaded, sand bagged, boarded up homes and restaurants and everything else that comes with a major storm. But no experience in my past could have prepared me for this, the storm that is ravaging my body and carrying me to death’s door. For all of those who know me well know that I am like a weeble, and we all know that “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”. I will refrase that because I prefer to visualize myself as a tiger rather than a feeble weeble; a tiger as many have coined me – with a ferocious fighting spirit. It reminds me of the movie “The Grey” that I watched with my brother-in-law Scott when he was out visiting me a couple of weeks ago. In the very last scene of the movie Liam Neeson was about to get ravaged by the Grey Wolf, but he broke a mini bar bottle of liquor and taped it to one hand and a knife to the other…if he was going down he was not going down without a  fight.  I have been battling “Triple Negative Breast Cancer” Since April 15, 2010, but the real battle began September 10, 2012. That was the day I was supposed to start Ministry School, oh but my Lord has a great sense of Humor…He had other plans for me.  So, as roll was being called on the first day of class, I was lying on an operating table with no clue about what was happening to me. After two trips to the ER in late July and three visits to my family physician in August I was sent home with antibiotics and steroids; the diagnosis was bronchitis. WE needed to avoid pneumonia at all costs since my immune system was quite compromised as a result of four months of chemo. On the third trip to the Family Doc, she finally ordered an x-ray of my chest and found my heart to be enlarged. She wrote me a scrip to get an echo….She did not seemed too alarmed as it was Wednesday and the echo was scheduled for Monday of the following week. So imagine my surprise when the echo technician puts the gel on my chest, and within 30 seconds of examining me jumps out of her chair and runs out of the exam room to call the radiologists. I never went home after that; he sent me directly to a cardiologist who was not taking his lunch break in order to see me. An hour later I sat in his exam room arguing over whether surgery could be postponed for a day so that I could start ministry school. He explained the seriousness of what he was calling a cardiac Tamponade….not to be confused with a tampon in the heart; actually the metaphor can be used since a tamponade does stop the flow of blood out of the right Atrium of the heart and compresses the heart.

I sit here in my zero gravity chair, a generous gift from my son and his boss, watching what might be one of my last sunsets in this Condo. Oh did I forget to mention that in the middle of all of this, my lease was up because my landlord had sold the condo I have been living in since I moved to Colorado in Sept of 2011. So I am having to uproot as well in the middle of it all. My sister who studied Sensation Homeopathy for three years says that in the world of Homeopathy, Cancer is known as Chaos….ya think? I have two, maybe three more nights here. Eva, Benny and the kids came over today and packed 11 boxes; Scott had already done the majority of the packing when he was here. My Sister Betty came out the day after he arrived back home and stayed with me for two weeks, it was her intent to finish what Scott had started and have me ready to go….but my health got in the way of that.  During my sisters visit I had my lungs drained (tapped) twice and  many trips to the doctor, this ferocious tiger survived all that, but the week of Thanksgiving I was really put through the ringer. Tuesday  I had to have another lung tap, and Wednesday was Chemo in the am, Shopping after chemo, a little cat nap when i got home, cause then of course i found myself in the kitchen performing my love language of whipping up some Thanksgiving  dishes. That night turned out to be one of the most difficult nights i have had since my cancer journey started and I survived it by the hair on my chinny chin chin. Thanksgiving turned out amazing thanks to the amazing hospitality of my  son and daughter-in-law, it was a family reunion and truly a day of giving thanks for another holiday spent with my family.  A week later on moving day, which  was seamlessly orchestrated by my son, Alex, Emily and their friend Lindsay, the good Lord, was also very instrumental and put his part in because i found myself in surgery that day and survived my 2nd cardiac tamponade and a painful, surgically implanted lung drain. After surgery and a night in ICU, I was finally able to settle into my son and daughter-in-laws beautiful log-cabin style home with a private room, lovingly prepared by them.  Now it was my turn to live under his roof; heaven help Emily, my poor daughter in law put up with this cuban mother.  Does my story sound more like a dramatic, soap opera than a cancer journey?  If so, stay tuned to the next blog, as all good soap operas always leave you hanging…….

October 29, 2012

Thank you for visiting my blog. Here, I will post updates to my journey to recovery.

Dionette Kalkhofer’s Treatment Fund

This is to assist me with my out of pocket medical expenses, drug co-pays, rent and other needs during my cancer treatment. Your donations are a blessing and my family and I are very thankful.