If I was telling you a month ago it would’ve sounded something like this:
- when the rain makes my hair frizzy
- when the person driving in front of me waits till the very last second to put on the left turn signal and now I’m stuck waiting
- when people pity me
- when I can’t make it to Starbucks
- when people drive the exact speed limit in the HOV lane or side by side in the slow and fast lanes and block traffic
- when my husband throws stuff out without telling me even though I’ve asked him a bajillion times not to
- when people in our building let their dogs pee and poop on the front boulevard despite all the signs that say ” NO PETS ON GRASS”
- when the person ordering their coffee in front of me has NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING
- having to repeat myself
- feeling like I’m not being heard
My perspective however has changed… I don’t really mind the rain making my hair frizzy. I’m happy to have hair…… for now :-) As for the traffic, I’m happy to be going to visit family or friends, or to drive my daughter to the studio. And Starbucks… well it’s all red and decorated for Christmas so lots to look at while I wait. As for the rest I guess I’m just learning to let it go. But I still have a list, it’s just different. My list has changed…. there is only 1 item on it.
- when the doctor tells me, “these results are highly unusual, nobody knows what to make of this, we need to book a PETSCAN (which will be a few weeks away) and repeat the liver biopsy (sweet cuz the first liver biopsy was just peachy!!!) ”
COOL!! AWESOME!! AMAZING!! Because it’s not like I only have 8-11 months to live or anything like that…..(based on what I’ve been able to find online regarding stage 4 metastatic liver cancer). So putting off treatment for 3-4 weeks to try and find out what kind of cancer this is so they can determine what treatment to give me seems cruel. In my mind the sooner I can start treatment, the closer I’ll get to 11 months… but I can’t get treatment without knowing what this is…. so I have to wait…. CATCH 22.
Yup….. I REALLY REALLY hate that.
Today there has been a battle. This outter facade of calm and peace just the facade of inner turmoil and struggle. Do not mistake it for acquiescence. FUCK OFF Cancer!!! I am NOT your playground. And you should keep in mind this is MY TURF, so MY TERMS. I know you’re there. You cannot hide. There is nowhere to hide because I know every nook and cranny. If I must, I will come after you but I suggest you come meet me in the center of the cage. I’m ready so let’s fight. It’s ON!!!!!
I had to go to the lab for blood tests to prepare for my liver biopsy… what a trip. I arrive and because all this has sort of been 911, I didn’t have the requisition; the Cancer Agency had faxed it. So I told the tech (a barely 20 looking, fresh-faced, soft spoken darling) that my req had been faxed. She asked my name and started to thumb through a pile of papers in a folder next to her computer. Nope not there….. I’m thinking “really?! I just came from downtown all the way to the suburbs!! It has to be here” So she asks me who faxed it. I said not sure which doctor but it came from the cancer agency. The tech freezes and stares at me quizically. “oh….” she says. After another little pause she turns to go look on another desk. “here it is” and she tells me to have a seat in the waiting area. I see her back in the lab through the window from the front desk – she’s looking at my req and she looks at another tech standing next to her with her mouth agape and eyes wide as saucers. Her reaction made me smile….. I guess all the “history of…” and “metastatic blah blah blah” was a little shocking particularly since I’m not exactly the poster child for stage 4 anything. To be honest I’m kind of proud of that. So she calls me back and I sit down, left arm exposed. She asks if that is my best arm. Yup for now it has been but those veins have gone into hiding from being poked so much (duh!! wouldn’t you? lol) they’re deep and resistent so you should probably anchor (hold it down with one hand while you poke it with the needle in the other hand). She says ok. I can see she is hesitant. She gets everything ready, tells me that yes it’s a good one, anchors only on the top end of the vein (mistake) and goes for it….. nope missed it. She says, “oh! I always get them on the first try! Hang on, let me see if I can get it” Now comes the digging…. OUCH…… She keeps saying, “i’m so sorry!!!” she can’t find it so finally I say, “did you want to try again?” She seems so relieved, but sorry at the same time. “ok… I’m so sorry. I hate that I have to poke you twice! I’m really sorry” I say, “don’t worry about it! I’m used to it!” I suggest she tries the other arm she says, “ok, and maybe I’ll hold it down on both ends this time” I’m thinking yes sweetie good IDEA and pretty sure it was mine before you poked me the first time haha! And so she sets up, and misses to begin but manages a quick recovery and fills several viles of blood (btw my blood is beautiful…. that red is so dark and rich with a hint of black – add a few sparkles and it would make an awesome OPI nail color perfect for winter toes!) She continues to apologize and I continue to reassure her that it’s all good. Poor girl. She puts the little circle bandaid on my arm and sends me on my way with a little forelorn look and “hope the rest of your day is better than this!” I cheerily say, ‘oh don’t worry about it! thanks so much, have a great day!” So then I walk out and laughingly, I extend both my arms to show my Bear who is patiently waiting for me that I had to have 2 pokes instead of 1 (normal for me). His look is one of horror…. I’m confused…. ??? ummm what’s the deal? It’s just 2 little circle bandaids, 1 on each arm….. so I look down…. oops! the last little circle bandaid looks like a little balloon and then escaping from the bottom is a little river… of gorgeous, deep, rich redish-black…CRAP! lol so I sit down, Bear grabs tissues from the front desk, and we start cleaning up, but it’s still bleeding. Bear is upset, I’m fine and kind of laughing, the tech is looking out from the back of the lab with a look of horror… poor sweetie. She comes rushing out and says, “oh… I’m so sorry! this day is just not going very well for you!” I laugh, “oh don’t worry. It’s fine.” she has cotton and medical tape and fixes me up. I’m certain she is about to cry. I reassure her again, say thanks, wish her a good day and we are on our way. As we leave the building, walking hand in hand, I can’t help but have 2 thoughts:
1. re: the tech – awwwwwww poor sweetie!!! Are you ok??
2. Wouldn’ t it be fun and fancy if I had sparkly blood???
You know when you don’t want to see, hear or do something? But there are the 2 voices? One is saying, “no… no… no..” It’s quiet but insistent. You want with all your heart mind and soul to obey that voice, to walk in the opposite direction, to plug your ears, close your eyes…. but you can’t, you just CAN’T. Instead, you RUN straight into the eye of the storm, knowing full well that there is disaster waiting there for you. It’s like driving by the crash-site… you HAVE to look…. you don’t want to but you do. That was me on Thursday November 22, 2012 after a dental appointment. I was driving by my doctor’s office and I couldn’t look away. I HAD to run straight into the eye of the storm. I knew that disaster awaited, but the screaming voice drowned out the quiet little “no”. GO IN! ASK! FIND OUT! And that was the day I was told stage 4 liver cancer with some tumors in the kidney as well. Here is what I’ve realized though – not looking doesn’t mean the crash isn’t there, that it didn’t happen. And so here I stand – in the quiet and calm of the eye of the storm knowing full well that chaos and destruction are circling all around. I am insulated from the destruction for the present moment – basking in the love and support of family and a couple of close friends. But this won’t last and when the chaos hits, my desire is to protect those who love me… to somehow envelope them in the love and gratitude I feel for each of them…. particularly my Bear and my Monkey.