i guess the last time i wrote in this thing, aside from nablopomo, was for bad news. it occurred to me that i only really write in this when there’s bad news. i guess because writing it out helps a bit? of course i could totally write about good news, as well, as a sort of celebration of sorts. but i guess i’m not that kind of person. haha.
but let’s try. the last thing i wrote about, before nablopomo, was the cancer scare i went through. i had just found out that i needed to get a biopsy done on a mass that was caught on a routine mammogram. i went to a deep, dark place that i haven’t really fully gotten out of. i could be driving home when all of a sudden it’ll strike me that i could be dying and i start crying. i’ll be laying in bed, drifting off to sleep when i’m suddenly thinking wait, what happens if…? and then i try desperately to distract myself by playing a game on my phone (no netflix any more, boo!). it’s not as bad as it was, but i’ve never fully recovered from it.
well, about 2 weeks later, i get the call. i knew i was getting the call around that time, but since i started work that week, i told myself i wouldn’t answer it and just get the message later, after work, otherwise i’ll start crying and won’t be able to finish my day. but when the call actually came in, mid-morning…i looked at it, ringing and thought just let it ring…let it ring…but my wanting-to-know-right-away-edness couldn’t take it and i picked up my phone, took a deep breath, and answered it. my doctor came right out and said it was benign and she gave me the name of what it was, and that i’d have to go back in 6 months to monitor it, to make sure it’s not growing. i thanked her, hung up, and cried, even though it wasn’t for the reason i thought it’d be. it was just such a big relief! my son was actually with me–he helps me set up the room since i’m such a weakling–and he asked who it was and i could barely croak out it was the doctor (i had turned my back from him when i answered the call so he couldn’t see my reaction)–it’s not cancer. then i had to calm myself down because i didn’t want anyone to walk in and see me and ask what’s going on. so i calmed down, and then thought i better text my mom because she was anxiously waiting the results, too. so i texted her, and as i did, all my tears came flooding back. her excited response of relief just made me cry all over again. i was still in the corner of my room, back facing my son, pretending to put books on the shelf. haha! i had to calm myself back down again and think good things.
when i got home, i looked up the name the doctor gave me online, and to my dismay, it said it was cancerous. i was confused. she did tell me it wasn’t, right? she did tell me that i would need to get checked again in 6 months…if it had been, surely i wouldn’t have to wait 6 months now, would i? i looked up other names and found a name that was similar that meant it was benign, so i wasn’t sure if i heard wrong, or if she told me the wrong thing. so it did still kinda hang over my head a bit. and i was told by the hospital staff as well as through my internet searches, that i’m at a high risk for actually developing it later on. so it’s something that still bothers me, that still kinda sends me to dark places. it’s scary. i don’t like being old. i want to go back to my 20s and 30s when these things seemed so far ahead in the future.
anyway…on monday, i had my 6 month followup. i got the reminder card in late december, so i called to have an appointment made while i was still on vacation so i wouldn’t have to take sick leave. however, they were all booked. i did have a sub lined up for today, the 21st, due to a workshop i thought i was attending, but then found out it was more for new teachers. i decided to keep the sub anyway and just take a day break. 🙂 yes, i had just gotten off 3 weeks of break, but hey. i thought it would be nice. so i asked if i could make the appointment for the 21st, since i had the sub anyway. the receptionist told me okay, but then said that they were open on the 19th, as well, which was a holiday for most people. so i thought, oh, okay, i’ll take that day. then if i have to come back for further testing, i can go on the 21st. so i had my appointment for the 19th. i went nice and early. they were so good in giving me a nice, very warm robe–i guess they know it’s been chilly lately so the nice, warm robe felt sooo lovely. then they took me in and prepped me for the ultrasound. the technician was chatty and smiling, but a different one from the one before. she explained to me the whole procedure and then had me lie down while she prepped the area. when she finally started the procedure, she stopped talking and just did her measurements and stuff and i started to panic. why isn’t she talking? that’s how the other one was, and then it was something i needed to do a biopsy on. what’s going on? i looked at the screen, and saw it. it was no longer a perfectly gray oval, but it looked more like a gumdrop shape, with the bottom end a bit more wider than the top half–the top half looked a bit deflated. thank goodness i didn’t have a heart monitor on or they would’ve seen my heartbeat rise. how come it looks different? it’s growing?? i remember people online saying irregular edges could mean cancer. ugh! then she finished, wiped me up, and had me get up. she offered me a snack and a hot blanket to keep me warm. she said the doctor would review all the pictures she took and my previous mammograms, and then tell me the results. then she said that it looks good, in fact, it shrunk a bit. my heart skipped a beat. i didn’t think the misshapen thing would mean it shrunk, i thought it meant it grew. i walked back out into the waiting room, encased in the hot blanket they gave me, and waited torturous minutes for the doctor to call me in. i looked around at the other patients around me. i knew that this side of the hospital was for the ones with abnormalities–if you were fine or just doing your routine one, it’s on the opposite end. all of a sudden i felt so much empathy. a couple of them looked nervous, flipping through magazine pages quickly. one had her head buried in her hands on her lap. one talked on her phone like nothing. one just sat there, staring straight ahead. i knew what was going through all their minds. i know the scary thoughts they must be thinking. and here i was, with potentially good news…it just made me feel so bad. tears started forming in my eyes as i began to think how i was there 6 months ago, scared as heck, wondering what’s going on with my body. some of them were older than me, but some looked younger. i thought how awful it must be to be faced with that when you’re in your 20s, 30s? i mean, in my 20s & 30s, i rarely thought about dying, thinking it was a long way off. once i hit my late 30s and into the 40s, it’s all i thought about. can you imagine being young and realizing that your life may soon be ending? ugh. it was all i could do to keep from crying again. i started singing songs in my head, thinking of good, happy things, and trying hard not to look at the other patients there and see the worry in their eyes. i’ve never been a good consoler. i realize that’s probably what they want, but i’m not good at that.
finally, the chirpy technician called my name, and i walked in, but she stopped me at the door. she closed the door and i thought oh oh. she doesn’t want me to sit in the room? the doctor isn’t going to talk to me? oh gosh, what’s going on? instead she said the doctor reviewed everything, and i’m fine. i can go home. they’ll see me for my regular annual mammogram in july. i thank her, and she has a big smile for me. “enjoy the rest of the day!” she says, and i tell her, “i will!” then she opens the door for me to walk back out into the waiting room, where i’m met with other patients again. gosh could they hear any of that? were they feeling bitter that i had good news and they didn’t? i couldn’t bear to stay there much longer, and i quickly got changed back into my clothes, and left, taking a pretty, pink rose with me. i text my mom (who actually wanted to come with me to the appointment, for moral support) that doctor said i’m okay, it even shrunk a bit, and she texted back her happiness at hearing that, which, of course, made me cry again. phew! i’ve been granted a reprieve. for now.
but as i said earlier, i only write in this thing for the bad news. so, yes, there is still more to the story.
since that mammogram in july, i’ve been experiencing some irregularity with my monthly membership of womanhood, to put it eloquently. i had been very regular for a while, and then in july, it stopped. i didn’t question it–i was going through an emotionally stressful time, and in the past, whenever i’ve had to deal with something really emotional or stressful, i wouldn’t get it. so when i didn’t get it in july, i wasn’t surprised. i cried so much, and i stressed out so much, that it didn’t surprise me that i didn’t get it in july. but then august came and went, and nothing. september came and went and nothing. for the first few days in october, i did get it, but it looked different–there was something off about it. but i was just so happy to have it again, that i didn’t question it. then november came and went with nothing, again, except for 2 weeks of spotting. then december comes, and on my first day of winter break…i get it. wow, i think. was it because i was so stressed? and now on the first day of break, my body is relaxed enough that i get it? i was surprised. i didn’t think i was that stressed. i certainly didn’t feel that stressed. it was weird. so i get a normal one, and then, 4 days later, i get another one. what?? at around this time, i notice that something is not quite right. i thought it was the depression of the holidays, but there was something weird. i no longer felt hungry. i had to force myself to eat because i know i have to eat something. but after a few bites, i feel so stuffed. and i just didn’t feel…well. something was going on. but i chalked it up to being depressed at the holidays.
well anyway the second one started and it was like a normal one as well, which is weird. i mean, i know i hadn’t had it in a long time so maybe there is a bunch of stuff that needs to be shed, but instead of one long one (which i’ve had in the past when i’ve skipped months), it was like it was 2 separate ones. and then i’ve been spotting ever since. not to mention, i have a slight, dull ache on my right side. geez.
then there’s stupid Facebook with its sponsored posts. one of them was about making sure you don’t ignore these signs of cancer. i’ve seen it for a while, but i’ve put off looking at it because i don’t want to hypochondriac myself into feeling those symptoms. but on monday since i’m thinking well, i’m in the clear for now, i clicked on it. i read it. my heart dropped. out of the 10 signs they had listed, i had 6 of them. the feeling full, a symptom i never had before, was one of them. the bloating, the dull ache, the irregular bleeding, the fatigue, the heartburn/indigestion when i did eat…they were all there. i didn’t have the other 4 only because they related to other cancers (lung, skin, etc.) or because it involved things that i didn’t do. so there went my mind again! on tuesday (yesterday) when i realized i was bleeding again, a bit more than the spotting, i decided to call the doctor and make an appointment. i was apprehensive about going to her as she really doesn’t seem to care…but i figure, well, they are sending her my ultrasound results, so maybe i can find out about that, too. and i made the appointment for wednesday, today, when i already had a sub lined up for this day.
before all of this, i had my day planned. i would put a curry in the crockpot. i would do the laundry. i would work on a video. i would make some learning games. i would spend a nice leisurely day doing work-related stuff while being able to lounge around at home, spend time with my bunny, and play iPhone games. i thought it would be great.
but today was different. i tried not to think about all those things and when i did, i told myself, well, you’re going to be checked. you can get treated for it. it’ll be okay. still, i went to sleep very early tuesday night. i woke up wednesday morning, took my son to the bus stop, put the laundry in the washer, and started my curry, almost in robotic mode. i was trying so hard not to think of morbid things.
i drove to the doctor in silence. no music. i just needed to collect my thoughts. plus, the traffic was bugging me big time. ugh.
doctor sees me pretty quickly (usually i have to wait so long) and when hearing my symptoms, tells me her plan–the first step is a biopsy. yes. another one. if that comes back negative, she says, then she’ll schedule an ultrasound to check for polyps or anything else that can be causing this pain. i wanted to ask her, is it another cyst, like i had last year? i guess that’s what i was hoping. but then i heard in my head her voice (somewhat sassy) saying, well, that wouldn’t be causing the bleeding, now, would it? and she did cut me open last year and had a look inside and said it all looked fine. could it have cropped up again in 10 months? she did do a quick check, but it was like barely a minute. 😦 she also put a speculum in to see which hurt *so*bad*. which would alarm me there, but then again, she’s never put it in correctly where it didn’t hurt, like my other one did. and she didn’t say anything. i hadn’t had a pap smear done in a couple of years–i was due this year for it, but that won’t be until july. and i never had an abnormal one, so she wasn’t worried about that. but yeah. that’s the first step. another biopsy. *sigh*
and this time i can’t help but think it probably is something bad. i mean, i had the feeling-full symptom even before i knew it was a symptom, so it wasn’t like my body was influenced by that. i again texted my mom the news, and she again was worried for me. i get it done monday, but i don’t get the results for another 2 weeks. it’s going to be a loooong 3 weeks waiting to hear from her. *sigh*
and, really, is it okay to wait that long?? i mean, when i had my surgery in april, she looked at all those areas–even showed me pictures of them!–and she said they all looked fine and healthy. could something have really arose that quickly where it’s now big enough for me to feel so bloated and not able to eat? will waiting 3 weeks be too long?? what if it takes over my whole body by then? ugh.
anyway, i was sitting here with my bowl of curry. it smells so lovely, but i could only take 2 bites, and i instantly felt sick. i had to put it aside. is this how it’s going to be from now on?? what kind of life is that? i mean, i guess i’ll lose weight (which i’m surprised i didn’t, judging by how little i’ve eaten in the past month or so), but i don’t know that i would like not being able to enjoy my favorites–stew, curry, steak…i mean, wow. not only curse me with a fatal disease, but take away my favorite food as well? this stinks.
so i’m writing about this now. hopefully this was just a stress thing and i’ll be better and it’s not the dreaded ‘c’ word. or maybe it’s something not so fatal, like menopause or something. which, if you ask me, is just as depressing, but at least it’s not fatal. yet.
but it’s really making me think about life decisions. there’s that big thing coming up in march. do i go through with it? is that fair? i don’t think it is. but maybe i’m looking at this the wrong way. maybe i need to. i don’t know. i just really long for the times when all of this seemed far, far away, and not so imminent. i suppose most people think that as they enter the final stages of their lives. if only… *sigh* that’s what my life is filled with now…if onlys.
that, and the cher song. 🙂