Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's been going on while I've been missing from the Internet

Well, hello there, stranger.

Sorry I haven't written much lately, but I've been a little busy feeling like crap 'n' stuff.  This whole cancer thing is tougher than I thought it would be.

Some days, I feel so sick that I can barely lift my head.  And on other days, I feel better, but I have trouble finding the energy to do anything.  This combination leads to a whole lot of nothing.

Last week, I battled a fairly serious infection.  I never completely healed from my first surgery on October 18th. Those dumb cancer cells can't do anything right and that's precisely why I'm trying to evict them as we speak.

The infection hit me like Alec Baldwin punching the paparazzi.  It came out of nowhere - quickly, suddenly, and chopped full of crazy. I woke up about 5 AM with a fever of 102, a migraine headache and could barely roll over.  Brian and I thought I had the flu.

Later that day, I wasn't feeling any better.  I fainted once, but don't tell anybody, m'kay?  I've got this whole "ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride" thing going on, so thanks for keeping a girl's secret.  XOXO

My primary care physician said it was the stupid infection again.  I got pumped full of drugs and then laid around for another day until my oncologist appointment.

I felt awful. If a giant meteor had been falling toward my house, I would have just laid there and let it put me out of my misery.  

I couldn't sleep the night before my oncologist appointment.  Not one wink. I think it was 2 parts fever and headache, 1 part nervousness, shaken not stirred.  Seriously, don't ever let your bartender talk you into trying that cocktail.  It's brutal.

So there I was, at the oncologist's office for tests and traumatic conversations about life and death with no sleep, no food, and full of pain and misery.

I wouldn't recommend those conditions, by the way, because you may or may not end up crying like Tammy Faye Baker on PTL back in 1986.  Just a guess.  Barring the mascara, of course. I mean, really, mascara?  As bad as I felt, they were lucky I even brushed my teeth.  Besides, I haven't worn makeup in so long that I'm probably going to need a YouTube tutorial the next time I try to apply eyeliner.

My oncologist looked over my chart.  He reviewed my ultrasounds, CTs and scans.  He listened to me as I described my symptoms, i.e. "slow death by flu-like infection".

He walked over to me and held my hand.  He looked me in the eyes and said, "Now, we aren't going to let you get that sick again.  If we have to put you in the hospital and keep you there until the surgery, that's what we're going to do.  We're going to take good care of you."

You know that moment when somebody says exactly what you need to hear? Yeah, that was one of those moments.

"We still have to do your biopsies today", he said as he patted my hand.  "And honey, with your infection, it's really going to hurt. I'm so sorry."

Now, ahem, I'm no medical expert, but when your doctor calls you "honey", pats your hand and apologizes for the pain that he's about to inflict, that shit's about to hurt. They even gave me something for pain and anxiety beforehand.  I'm embarrassed to admit how much, but let's just say that if I was a hippo, I would have been passed out cold. And still, on a scale of 1 to natural childbirth, the pain was like a 6 or a 7.

If you think that number sounds low, then you've probably never had natural childbirth.  When I was having Bailey, the pain was so intense, I left my body and was floating above me, laughing at the idiot who thought she could actually handle natural childbirth.

Totally kidding.

(Not kidding at all.)

The lack of sleep, pain, and emotions took over.

Remember that "ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride" girl from before?  She was no where to be found.  In fact, there wasn't a single 80's song that could help me, not even Lookout Weekend or You Dropped the Bomb on Me.

I held back my tears until I walked into the waiting room and saw my Mom.  I broke down, and at some point, I even called her "Mama" instead of Mom. When I started crying, she started crying, too.  She wrapped her arms around me and said something like, "I'm so sorry, baby girl."

I totally forgot that anybody else was in the waiting room, but that didn't change the fact that they were there.
I looked up, with my eyes full of tears, and saw a room full of cancer patients crying with us.

One lady spoke through her emotion, "It's going to be okay.  God bless you."  She could barely get the words out.  I don't think I'll ever forget her face, her curly, gray hair,  her round, black glasses, her Christmas sweater, her sympathetic eyes, her selfless act of kindness.

I don't know what she's going through herself, but everybody in the oncologist waiting room has a story.  Regardless, she put her own pain aside to reach out to somebody else, and that somebody else was touched beyond words.

Isn't the human spirit awesome?  Aren't I lucky to get to see it?

I wish everybody could learn the lessons that cancer teaches you.   It changes everything. It's changed me. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore; I'm just happy to be here. I wish I could bottle up this feeling and keep it with me forever. Because I'm scared that soon, I'll go back to worrying about things like my jeans size or mortgage payments.

The oncologist called me with the test results.  The cancer has not spread.  I will have surgery, and then pending some post-surgery tests, I will be considered CURED.

Did you hear that word, CURED?  Thank and Praise God!

Two of the biopsies were completely benign (Whaaaat?!), so the first surgery did its job.  Yay! The "12 o'clock biopsy", or the uterine one, was cancerous. But that's exactly what my oncologist expected to find, so the fact that we didn't get any surprises was considered a blessing.

I will not need radiation.  I will not need chemotherapy.


So it looks like I'm going to be sticking around for a while, which is good thing because I still have some stuff to do.

My surgery is scheduled for December 26th, so Merry Christmas!  And may God bless us, every one.


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