Oh, my eye!

Judging that your breast cancer was caught at an early stage – my index of suspicion is low.”

That is what my oncologist wrote to me after the first ophthalmologist examined my left eye and told me I have early signs of cataracts, but also a raised area on my retina that “may” indicate the return of my breast cancer. In my eye!

In just the last few weeks, my left eye developed a cloudiness that limits my vision. Above the halfway mark, I see only a gray cloud. No pain, only annoyance. I immediately suspected cataracts, but was curious why it had popped up so strongly, so suddenly.

After the first eye exam, I was referred to a retina specialist. She probed, took photos, and scanned my eyeball… and came to the same conclusion: ocular metastasis. There’s no doubt a visibly raised area on my retina; anyone can see it on the photos. The growth covers about a third of the front of my eyeball and is perilously near my optical nerve (causing the cloudiness).

So. What had been low risk was now a high probability.

Next, I was examined by an ocular oncologist. He, too, explained that the incidence of metastasis to the eye was extremely low, as in the low single digits. He was extremely doubtful that it was merely a benign inflammation. “You lost the lottery,” he added.

That this cancer disease is a lottery—or a crap shoot—has been clear to me from the start.

Life itself has no rules—that is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.

Carl G Jung

The next step is for me to get a B-scan. This ultrasound is used to determine whether the tumor is solid, indicating metastasis, or hollow, indicating malignant melanoma. And that determines the treatment options. Either way, it’s cancer.

I asked him directly whether this tumor would kill me. He said, no, the eye would not.

BUT. My odds of further metastasis to my bones, brain, liver, or lungs just got significantly worse.

As a lovely friend responded to this news, “What the actual fuck. Fuckedy fuck FUCK.” That’s right; couldn’t say it better myself.

More tests coming. Liver scan, bone scan, chest X-ray. Blood tests.

I’m aiming not to let this dismal development ruin my day, today. Or the tomorrows.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

Maya Angelou

I hug my honey hard. Often. He hugs me back. I’m grateful for the steadfast loving support I get from him and my friends. It fills my heart with joy.

And I am still at peace. Ever the stoic. Que sera, sera. I’ve already shared that I am not afraid to die.

Yet I am conscious of feeling a sadness settling in my body. Anticipatory grief for what clearly can no longer be, but without guilt, shame, or anxiety.

And I’m trying not to ruminate about what challenges could lie ahead for me. That’s made tricky by the constant reminder of my eye’s fuzzy vision.

Taking it all day by day. With compassion and with great love… even for this body that continues to disappoint me. And I keep on trusting the process.

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

Carl G Jung

34 comments

  • Dear Francisca, This news is a shock and surprise. My first reaction is, “Oh No!”then moves to “Oh Wow!”, and on to “How brave!” My first response is to offer my deepest compassion and prayers for this challenge. You have a wise and candid writing style. Thank you for your brilliant wisdom and gifts of courage and willingness to share your authentic process with us. Sending you Tender Thoughts with Positive Prayers each day. Holding the Faith that you and your body know how to meet this and heal.

  • Couldn’t rest until I figured out how to find your online journal!
    The quotes from Carl Jung now have deeper meaning for me and because of your indomitable spirit, the Maya Angelou quote deeply inspires me.
    I’m enfolding you and your Honey with hugs and prayers and grateful to return the love you so freely give. The love you gave me today literally healed me! Thank you for gifting us with this journal. It’s therapeutic for you and me. Blessings.

    • Beautiful, Diane. Thank you for sharing your healing. When I started this online journal, one of my key intentions was write in a way that was personal to me, yet illuminating for others. by example they could relate to either directly or indirectly/ And I lean into your hugs. More love. 🌸🤗💜🌸

  • Wow I think your friend said it best. I’m so sorry to hear this is happening to you. I truly hope for the best. Please keep us posted. This is just unbelievable. With the most of love beautiful Rebecca

  • Hey, Madame! I don’t know what else to say as you have articulated what needs to be. Just take care and take heart. The universe unfolds as it should so is your life. My best to you always including my hugs!

  • I am putting you on the tippity top of my prayer list. I know this journey has had many ups, downs and substantial challenges. I wish I could lift this burden from you. And your friend was right… What the actual fuck. Now that I got that out… Big virtual hugs. Many, many hugs!

  • This makes me reflective. For all of my life, I think I have considered my body as a community of organs, organisms, entities of which I have the fortune to exist ‘within’. Through circumstances including cellulitis, pneumonia, childhood asthma attacks, mitral valve regurgitation, vomiting after physical exertion (!!!), flu, stress-induced weight loss…I tend to regard and honour my body by maybe looking at it both clinically and emotionally supportively. As ‘things’ happen to my body, I grieve, suffer, worry along with it, keeping in mind that I can only do my best to support it through thick and thin. Yes, I am integrally linked to my body, but to me, it is an entity and friend in itself, that I am constantly observing, inhabiting and marvelling at its life, good parts and bad. Not sure if this makes any sense, but I am with you, Cisca. My body is not with you, but my spirit and energy are. Forever, you realize, Friend.

    • Yes, I realize, Jenniekins, forever. 🌸🤗💜🌸 And you’ve perfectly articulated my own thoughts about my body. It appears to have a life of its own, deciding how to behave, totally independent of my wishes. Some might argue that subconscious forces are at play, but I’m not inclined to agree. I’ve done my utmost to be good to it, caring for it, loving it.

  • oh shit! my first reaction. . . no words Francisca. . . just with you. sending a tight hug.
    love you, rose.

  • I’ve been trying for the last two hours since reading this to find the right words to write. They are not coming to me. I know you will face this new challenge with strength and grace. Sending love, hugs and good thoughts your way…

  • Oh. My. Flippin’. Gawd!
    Thanks for sharing. More lemons, and they are rotten ones. I didn’t know why I decided to check email right after I got out of my warm bed, but now I know. There was something to know about my friend Francisca.
    For now, I’m just stunned. We’ll talk soon.

  • This filled my heart and soul with the feels…and though full of tears all I know given your way, your words, your spirit… is hope. I am so glad you’re writing: even this twist in the lottery is a blip on a radar and life to which you bring so much love and joy.

    • You’ve recognized that I need to write to get “stuff” out of my system, Joan, to gain clarity of meaning, to containerize the blip, and yes, to maintain hope. Thank you for seeing me. 🌸🙏💜🌸

  • Well CRAP!! CRAp CRap Crap crap!! There! I have registered my feelings. My thoughts won’t un-jumble for a while. And my body aches for you. Sending hugs hugS huGS hUGS HUGS!

  • Another obstacle that I know you will tackle with determination and strength! I will be sending lots of love and prayers your way. ❤️

  • Sending much love Francisca, knowing that you will overcome another hurdle on your journey. I love your quote from Carl Jung, ” I am what I choose to become” Big hugs xx

  • Quite a shock to hear this. Knowing you I am sure you will handle all those challenges with courage and determination and I bet you will come out of this victorious.
    I can only wish you strength and send you all my love.

By Francisca

Want to know when I post?

Enter your email address to subscribe to my journal and receive notifications of my new posts by email.