Tag Archives: Melanoma Cancer

Cover Reveal – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival

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Early this month, in a comment, Diana W. Peach asked me if I kept a secret about my new book.

Not really.

I’ve been writing my book about my cancer journey since 2016. I kept organizing, reorganizing, writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. I posted tidbits here and there but the story was still brewing. It is not a secret but it becomes normal for me to keep working on it until I call it done.

Well, my writing group at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University, Fullerton, has been extremely instrumental in helping it to come into shape with clarity. I’ll introduce this group of retired professionals to my blogging community later.

Today, I’m grateful to reveal my Cover, the Foreward, and the Blurb.

The book will be available on Amazon later in the summer. I’ll let you know when I have a date.

Foreward

You know the ending before you read the story because I’m here to tell it to you. The journey was long and dark, but I survived. The ending is an important part of a story, but the process gives it meaning. At many points during this cancer journey, I felt death was teasing me. I lost most of my muscle mass, lost 20% of my blood, and almost all my energy. Yet, I was breathing. It caused me to ponder. What is life?

I had an active and productive life up until the point when I had cancer. When I couldn’t lift my feet to walk, being productive was thousands of miles away from my thoughts. Family and friends became the only value in my life. In fact, they carried me through this journey.

Life is precious, and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living. I want to enjoy the beautiful earth and everything that lives on it. I want to emerge in the blessed and loving relationship between family and friends.

I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.

Blurb

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-a dangerous, aggressive, and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received the treatments at the beginning of 2009, her cancer progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and upward winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

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Thank you for letting me share this cover with you. Now, I have to get the ball rolling!

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Remission 12th anniversary

Photography by Miriam Hurdle

I was diagnosed with a rare melanoma cancer in July 2008. None of the doctors who treated me had seen it. It started with stage I or II but turned into stage IV within a few months. I completed the year-long bio-chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation on August 1, 2009. Today marks the 12th anniversary of remission. I’m thankful to be alive, enjoy my family and have the joy to watch the grandchildren grow. I have been writing about my cancer journey since 2016. The distance from the event allows me to have reflection and a proper perspective. It will be a part of my legacy to pass on to the generations to come. This was a one-day-at-a-time journey of faith, hope, and strength. It was a journey cheered and supported by family and friends.

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of my remission, I wanted to share an excerpt with you. The working title of my legacy is The Winding Road, and I’m working on the tagline.

Chapter 2

The hysterectomy surgery was on July 31st, 2008. I wanted to rest for two or three weeks after the surgery before returning to work when the new school year began. 

My husband, Lynton, drove me to St. Jude Medical Center which was 3 miles from home. He stayed with me until the hospital attendant transported me to the surgery room. After the attendant and nurses lifted me onto the surgical table, the anesthesiologist called my name and introduced himself to me and said Dr. Gray was on the way. Before I smiled at him, the blackness came upon me. 

I woke up in the hospital room in the afternoon. There was no pain in the abdomen. Perhaps the anesthesia was not worn off yet. Lynton came with a bouquet almost the same time I woke up. He stayed with me until dinner time and said he would call me early in the morning. It was a relief that the fibroids I had for years were out for good.

At 10:00 p.m., Dr. Gray came to the room and greeted me with a smile. I returned a grin with apprehension because no doctors would visit patients late at night unless there was an emergency. He sat down by the bed. “The surgery went well,” he said, “and I wanted to share the pathology result with you.”

My puzzling grew but nodded and kept smiling.

“The pathology result shows that the vaginal mass was melanoma. I’ve never seen it before, not in vagina, so I did some research. The research shows that melanoma is the most aggressive, invasive and dangerous cancer.”

He detected the perplex on my face, and said, “It looks like it’s in stage I or II, the beginning stage and the cancer has not spread into other parts of the body yet.”

I wanted to ask questions, but my mind went blank. What questions could I ask? The moisture saturated my eyes.

“I have lined up the referrals for you to see the specialists for treatments. Call my cell phone if you have questions. I’ll start my vacation tomorrow.” He handed me a note with his phone number. It seemed like he did a lot of homework that afternoon.

“But you’ll be on vacation,” I said, still tried to find words.

“That’s what a cell phone is for.” he smiled. “I’m glad God put you in my care.”

His visit transported me to the thickest fog in the dark.

~ ~ ~

The next day, I still had no pain after the anesthesia was worn off.

Lynton called me around 9:00 a.m. to let me know he was coming to see me later that day. He told me his dad passed away, and he was on the phone with his siblings. His dad had been in Loma Linda ICU since last Wednesday with a heart-attack and a kidney infection. The infection went into the blood and his condition went downhill. After the infection was gone, he was on dialysis to give the kidney a break to see if it could be reversed. Lynton and I went to see him last Wednesday. He was unconscious when we got there. The entire family of twelve people were there talking to each other about the latest progress. Lynton’s dad heard our voices and opened his eyes. We went close to his bedside to hold his hands and spoke to him. His eyes sparked a little and then went back to unconsciousness. That was the last time I saw his dad.

“Would you ask your family to schedule the funeral service after I get home from the hospital? I want to be there.”

“Don’t worry. My family will consider that when they plan for the funeral service. I’m on my way to the hospital to see you.”

When he arrived, I gave him the news. He faced me with the brooding look and said he would research on melanoma as soon as he got home.

“How are you feeling?” the nurse came in to check on me.

“I’m feeling very well with no pain. Can I go home today?”

“The attending doctor is not here yet. Let me check your incision and change the dressing. I’ll let the doctor know of your condition. He has to authorize the discharge.”

The doctor came in an hour later. After checking my progress, he authorized the discharge.

“Thank you, doctor,” I said to him while my mind spun at a record speed, miles into the search engine, chasing the meaning of melanoma.

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