missed call

what a difference a phone call makes.

it’s been a busy time, even though it’s my vacation. at the end of june i had 4 full days (monday-thursday) of training, while very interesting and helpful, very draining. i was sat at a table filled with other resource teachers and i’d like to think i proved my worth 🙂 while feeling initially intimidated, by wednesday i was volunteering information and pushing my point and talking freely with them. yes, it took me 2 days to open up. that’s normal, if not a bit quick. i guess i wanted to impress.

that thursday night, the last day of the training, i left for a week to atlanta. i went from the training to resting at my mom’s for an hour or so before going to the airport. i tried not to take a nap even though i was exhausted because i wanted to sleep on the plane. it was a long 5-hour flight, with a 2-hour layover in san francisco, and then on to another 5-hour flight to atlanta. i am used to short 30-45 minute flights to the outer islands. 5 hours was killer. my feet swelled up so bad! they were already slightly swollen the past week from all the sitting i had done the previous 4 days at the training, but now they were so swollen it hurt to walk. and, geez, i just could not sleep on the plane. i am such a light sleeper, and the guy sitting next to me was snoring so loudly, and since his head was tilted towards me, i got it right in my ear. he was a tall, big guy, so his thigh pushed into me, and i already take up a lot of space so i was feeling so squished. and then he was snoring. i tried desperately to get a little nap in or something, but i think the most i closed my eyes for was about 15 minutes or so. gosh that was hard. going to atlanta was not that much better. now it was bright outside, and the plane ride was so bumpy. that was hard because i stood a lot during the plane, feeling my feet so swollen, and to help keep me up, i had to pace the aisles for a bit. yet they kept putting on the seatbelt sign because of all the turbulence. gosh it was so hard.

we landed in atlanta at 5pm friday and i had not had a full hour’s sleep yet. meanwhile, one of the people in my traveling party walked so darn fast! she was just going in and out of people standing around and there i was, trudging along slowly in the back with my swollen feet and lugging my two heavy carry-ons (one with all my clothes–i didn’t check anything in–and one with all the tech stuff including my laptop that i would need for the conference). another one kinda felt sorry for me and lagged behind, just a few steps ahead of me, constantly looking over her shoulder to see that i was keeping up, while the rest forged forward. man, did it hit me at that moment how old i’m getting. 10 years ago, i would have been that person in the front, weaving in and out of people! but now i’m slow. partly because i do like to look at things as we’re walking around–if we had taken the time to be more observant, we wouldn’t have had to walk around the airport 3 times trying to find the rental car place–but mostly because gosh. i’m just so darn old! swollen feet, barely able to carry my luggage. gosh! i just felt about 40 years older at that point. it was depressing.

because i had no sleep on the plane, as soon as we found our hotel, i was able to just shower and then hit the hay quickly! the others had a hard, hard time adjusting to the sleep schedule and would be up until 2-3 am but i was out by 8pm. it’s just that the conference center was soooo huge and, again, because we were following miss brisk-walker, we ended up taking the LONG way around and my feet were still swollen, and i was still lugging my bag with my laptop and stuff in it, and i just felt like i was going to collapse at one point. i hate being old.

but we did some cool stuff in atlanta. i got to see whale sharks and beluga whales at the aquarium. and i saw the braves play!!! the team i had watched on tv almost every day (well, from april-october, anyway) since childhood, i was now able to see in the flesh! i was so giddy. i actually took a selfie! me! took a selfie! but it was wonderful. i enjoyed the game, and i would have, even if it wasn’t so exciting towards the end. it was just neat being there. i made my dad so jealous! he kept lamenting on how he has yet to go to turner field. made me feel a bit bad.

oh, and of course, i learned a lot at the conference. i feel like i have to say that or them paying for me to go was a waste. :/

i finally get home a week later, and i swear, i just slept for 3 days straight! haha! i was so wiped out. luckily it was a long 3-day weekend so i didn’t have to wake up early to take the boy to the bus stop for summer school. i could sleep in, and sleep in i did!

earlier this summer i had to make all the dr appts i usually do during the summer. when making the appts, i told them “the week of the 7th” because i knew i would have been back by then, but all 3 dr appts i called for scheduled me for the 7th. that’s okay, i thought. i’ll just get them all out of the way. each appt was 3 hours apart, with the first at 8 and the last at 2, so i was fine. i went to my first dr appt, where she again didn’t spent that much time examining me. i was thinking to myself she better not miss another cyst or something like she did last year! but she was just so quick in examining me that i swear, i wasn’t even in the room for 10 minutes. my other doctor used to take her time, and was very thorough, but not this one. she zoomed through, declared me clear and healthy, and then left. fine.

i decided, since i was in the area, and had a while before my next appointment, to go to a favorite office-supply warehouse to spend my purchase order for the coming year. so i went and spent a good hour and a half there, filling up my wagon, carefully picking out what i would need, and mentally adding them up. i didn’t get all that i wanted, but i did pretty well, and then loaded up my trunk and decided that maybe i could visit my dad at work to drop off the things i got from atlanta for him. i never see him any more since he moved to the opposite end of the island. i don’t think i’ve seen him since christmas! for his birthday and father’s day, i mailed his cards to him. but i was excited to show him my braves things i got for him and talk about the whole experience, that i tried to see if he was available for lunch. he wasn’t–he was at an all-day training–but told me i could drop off the things i had to his wife. so, into the heart of downtown i went, having to circle the block 3 times before seeing his wife. i gave the things to her and drove off to my next appointment.

i got there a bit early but they took me early and actually had me out of there quite quickly! i had the same technician as i did the last 2 times, and i like her–she’s so energetic and happy, and she makes me feel good about myself. in fact, she called me a “young chica” and proceeded to fit a metal thing around my abdomen to block the x-rays. i was going to protest saying i’m too old but she said you never know! i had my second child at 43! that brought a big smile to my face. i so desperately want more children but as the years went on i just felt like well, there goes my chance. but she gave me hope. i can still have another child, right? if i get right on to it. that was going to be my next goal.

after i was done, i noticed she was kind of quiet. i thanked her, and it was like she snapped out of a trance or something and thanked me, saying “i did a good job.” that struck me as kind of odd–she usually says “okay, looks good, i’ll see you next year!” but now it was just “i did a good job.” that was weird. anyway, i left with a rose, which they give all their patients, and i just smiled as i smelled it every now and then–a beautiful, full, red rose with such a sweet scent.

i went to pick up my son and then we went to have lunch before my last appointment. that was another waste, too. he barely even looked at me, just complaining the whole time about the computer he has to enter all the information in. he asked if i had any questions and i tried to tell him about the problems i’ve been having but he said he could find nothing wrong with me. sigh. he always dismisses my complaints because he says i’m too young–he said most of his patients are in their 70s and 80s, and i’ve been going to him since i was 37, and he would keep saying, you’re too young! you don’t belong here! um, yeah, but i have problems! i think he thinks it’s all in my head. sigh. so, anyway, that was a waste of time. i went home afterwards and felt exhausted. it was a full day! but i had gotten a lot done, so that was great. i planned to take tuesday “off” doing all the work that could be done on the computer at home, and then i’d go into work on wednesday. that was the plan.

on tuesday, i got an email from an rt asking to meet me with so she can talk about next year. she said the next time she was going to be in was thursday. so i thought, okay, no use i go in wednesday and thursday, so i told her i’d meet her thursday, and decided to take wednesday “off” too, to relax. 🙂

after waking up early on wednesday to drop my son off at the bus stop, i came back home, feeling so tired. i worked for a little while on the computer before shutting it off and laying down to rest a bit. i had fallen asleep though and had not woken up until 4 hours later! yikes! it was almost time to go pick up my son again! i got up and went over to my phone and saw that i had a missed call.

the message was short–it was from the place i had my second appointment on monday. she said the doctor wanted me to come back in for more testing, so she needed to schedule me for an ultrasound with a possibility of more x-rays. i called back numerous times but got the answering machine; i finally left a message and they called me back about 20 minutes later to schedule the ultrasound and also possibly x-rays for the next day, thursday. now i’ve been called back before by them and you just absolutely fill up with dread the whole time. what’s wrong? you think. why do they need to do more testing? i went online to see why the doctor would request an ultrasound (i didn’t have to do that last time) and when i saw the search results, my heart sank. tears rolled down my face. the feeling of dread was even stronger this time, and i couldn’t eat. i even asked my son if it was okay if he just ate the leftover hot dogs from lunch, and then i retreated into my bedroom. i emailed the rt and told her i wouldn’t be able to meet with her after all and then i cried myself to sleep, even though it was only about 7pm.

the next morning i bravely got up, got dressed, and drove in to town, dropping my son off at the school before going to my appointment. i tried desperately to think of anything else but my mind kept coming back to it. my son asked me what today’s appointment was for, so i bit my lip and told them they were going to check something they found–just like they did back in february for another problem i had. we just had to pray it was liquid-filled, because then it could just be drained. but if it was solid, that would require surgery, and then more tests to see the next steps. i told him my dr checked me (first appointment) and didn’t find anything wrong, so hopefully it was just that, just a little blip, nothing serious. but then again my hopes weren’t too high because she did miss the other one last year. i just tried hard not to cry, not in front of him. after dropping him off, and then getting to the place an hour early, i did sit there and cried a little. then i took out my phone and tried to play phone games to distract me. it lasted for 20 minutes before i thought i might as well get it over with–40 minutes early for my appointment, but that’s okay. i needed to go and get it over with.

which, was not smart, i guess. it’s not like a doctor’s office where they can just take you whenever you come in. this was a hospital, and the machines were scheduled for specific patients at certain times–if you come early, you still had to wait because the machine wouldn’t be available until your specified time. i flipped through magazines but had a hard time concentrating. i watched others get called in before me while i sat in agony, just wanting to know already. i had been thinking on monday what a hard job they had–if you find something, how do you tell the patient that? especially since i’ve been watching house and i’d be thinking, gosh, how do you tell patients bad news? they tell them, and the patient breaks down crying, and gosh, that’s just so awkward. as each person was called up i began to think are they getting bad news? how are they going to handle it? how will i?

it was finally my turn. the technician who greeted me was not the same as monday’s, but she was just as nice and chatty. she explained what she was going to do and said she was hoping it will show good news, but that even if it’s not, they are there to help me get better. as she put the liquid on me and got her wand ready, she was talking and talking. then she put the wand on me and found the area pretty quickly–and immediately went silent as she clicked keys and dragged the mouse the measure the area and take screenshots of it. her not saying anything really began to worry me. she saw me looking at her and said, “oh, did you want to see?” and turned the screen to me, but didn’t explain what was on the screen. i saw it there–a dark gray oval. i held my breath, waiting for her to tell me what that meant, but she didn’t say a word. after a few more pictures, she took the wand off and draped me with a towel. she said the doctor would be in to check the pictures in about 5 minutes, but no longer. i thanked her, as i do all people who work on me, but she thanked me instead, several times, stuttering over her words. then she picked up my file, and as she left, she said “you have a really beautiful first name.” she said that twice. i told her thanks, and she said thank you back, and left. i thought that was so strange. wouldn’t you tell a person when you first hear their name that it’s a nice name? why wait until after all that? what was she softening me up for?

gosh those 5 minutes waiting for the doctor was torture. tears were building in my eyes, and i would quickly wipe them away and think of other things. i tried to stay positive. the oval was gray. it wasn’t white like the other areas–so it’s not solid. right?

the doctor came in and was a bit curt. introduced herself and went straight to the machine. she said she wanted to have a look, took the wand and pushed around a bit–she didn’t find it right off like the technician did, so i had a bit of hope that maybe it was a fluke. but then she found it. after looking at it for a few seconds, she silently takes the wand off, and hands me paper towels to wipe myself off. she says it’s solid, and that we would need to do a biopsy. she wanted me to get dressed and then meet the receptionist outside so that she can schedule it. then she left.

i stayed there for a while, wiping up the gel from my skin, and then, like in a trance, went out to get dressed, and meet with the receptionist. she scheduled my biopsy and told me how to prep for it, and then i left. i again took a rose, but instead of a beautiful, full, red one, i took a tattered slightly pink, with darker tinges at the edges, one, that had a couple of brown spots. this time, upon leaving the office, i was in a whole different mood than i was on monday.

the whole way home, i cried. there have been twice before where i cried as i drove home–it’s a wonder that i made the 30-minute drive home safely. the first time, it was when my mom had just come out of her open-heart surgery. we were let in to see her but she was still knocked out from the anesthesia, and just…well, like my uncle told me, no one likes to see their mom like that. it was so hard. i left and sobbed–actually sobbing, choking on my tears–as i drove home. then i got home and my mom called me–now more lucid, to let me know she was okay. just hearing her voice and hearing her sound more upbeat made me feel better. the second time was when my grandma died. i had just finished saying my good-byes to her as she lay, still warm, in her hospice bed. i left the room, daring not make eye-contact with any of my cousins or aunties and uncles in the hallway, went straight to the car, and drove home, crying the whole way. and then, there was yesterday. i cried the whole way home. i got home, texted my mom the “news” which made me cry even harder. i spent a while on the computer, looking up information, seeing other people posting their ultrasounds, which looked eerily like mine, and saying how they were now fighting the disease, which didn’t give me any hope that it might not just be some sort of fibroid or something…no. for all those people who posted, it wasn’t benign. it was cancer.

after a while, i shut the computer and cried myself to sleep again. i woke up in enough time to get my son, and he immediately asked how the appointment went. i could feel the tears building up in my eyes. “is it liquid?” he asked. i shook my head. “no, solid…a tumor,” i said, but it just squeaked out. he didn’t hear me and asked, “huh? what did you say?” but i could’t say it again. i just swallowed my words, wiped my eyes, and drove home.

i distracted myself watching house the rest of the afternoon…which is not really a good idea with all the people who die on that show from cancer…but i love the wilson-house interchanges so i would play phone games during the other parts, and only stop when i heard wilson’s voice, so i could watch that. i managed to cook dinner, but only ate a small portion before feeling sick, even though i had had nothing to eat the whole day. luckily my son actually liked what i made and ate the rest of it so i wouldn’t have had to look at it later. i went to sleep and slept pretty soundly. i woke up this morning and decided i needed to write this out.

my emotions have just been so low. i am constantly crying and feeling so depressed. i keep trying to tell myself, yes, it’s a death sentence, but you know, i could get in a car accident and die, at least i can plan a little now. (yes, i’m morbid.) but it’s just so hard not to think of the end, especially since i just lost one of my favorite colleagues to breast cancer two months ago. this past year, i had another colleague had to remove her breast because of cancer. these two had loving, supportive husbands, which i think allowed them to keep on working despite their diagnosis, but what do i have? i don’t know that i could go back to work without crying every other minute. and then i think of the burden i will be on my son. then i think of him having to grow up without his mother. and it makes me cry, thinking of that. he’s only just going to start middle school. will he be in high school without me there? will he graduate from high school and be lonely–no father, no mother there to cheer him on? will he end up just dropping out? what’s going to happen to him? 😥

i long to go back to monday or tuesday, when i didn’t know. i was excited to go back to work, i was enjoying my summer break, and i could talk to my son. i was eager to learn things, to get involved in stuff, not mind starting a new series to obsess over. but now i’m like, what’s the use? ever since that missed call, things just have just spiraled downwards. i am so afraid of where this will lead.

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