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Waiting is sometimes the hardest part when tackling cancer

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Joyce Rudolph updates Burbank Leader readers on her health, treatment and what she’s doing to stay positive.
(Courtesy of Joyce Rudolph)

Well, science isn’t perfect.

In mid-May, I was given the great news that I was in remission. I have been battling pancreatic cancer since last October. I stopped receiving chemotherapy about 12 weeks ago and was referred to a pancreatic cancer surgeon.

He was suspicious of the validity of the PetScan I had in May and ordered a CT-Scan of the pancreas. And low and behold, when he called up my scan on the computer, there was the mass, smaller but still there.

I wasn’t really very surprised. I’ve had a lot of energy and am moving around quite easily now that I’ve healed from the spleen surgery last year. But I’ve still had some pain in the left side of my stomach.

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So I’m awaiting the results of an MRI taken on July 28 and then, I’ll be heading back into surgery sometime in August. The plan is to remove two-thirds of the pancreas, just enough to keep me from becoming diabetic. Then I’ll go back to chemotherapy.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get things done around the house. It’s a great feeling to be able to lift things and walk around without pain in my legs.

Throughout chemotherapy, I continued to suffer from edema and cellulitis in both legs. I have to do as much organizing as I can because, after surgery, I know I won’t be as agile as I am now.

My sister has cleaned out my mom’s office — which was my bedroom while I was in high school. We have removed the carpet, revealing the beautiful original wood floor, and painted the walls and bookcases.

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Last week, new vertical blinds were installed, replacing the black trash bags that have been hanging over the curtain rods for several weeks.

It’s so much fun to be back in my old room. My bed is a foot away from where my crib was after my parents brought me home from [Providence] St. Joseph Hospital.

Years later, my desk took over the same space my crib had occupied. I did my homework at that desk and later wrote my first stories for my college newspaper.

During high school, the wall behind my bed was a collage of photos of rock ‘n’ roll stars — the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc.

I’m now mulling over two beautiful photographs taken on a recent vacation to Morro Bay.

The fun included walks on the beach, watching the fishermen load ice onto their boats and eating at the best restaurants in town.

One of those was Dorn’s. Our waitress Kathy was charming and very attentive. I can’t wait to go back and see her again.

Staying upbeat and positive has been my prescription over the last few weeks. I’ve spent time in the garden, pulling weeds and pruning the roses and geraniums, and catching up with friends on the phone.

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Finding peace is really a blessing.

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