A year ago today I was in a hospital bed with several doctors around me. With a mound of papers with tiny little boxes to fill out. I was clearly confused and didn’t want to stay, but they made me. I had to have a bronchoscope put down my nose and throat to rule out cancer. That’s right; I went into the ER to get some medicine for what I thought was bronchitis, but they found a mass in my lungs instead and told me that I had pneumonia and that I needed several tests to find out what was going on with me. As I sit here today I think back to that night and just can’t even begin to explain the emotions that go along with it. The fear that has harbored down into me, the everyday stress of is it coming back, is it gone? As to the day after (because I get a little ahead of myself) It was confirmed I had stage 3A lung cancer, it had spread to my lymph nodes and I needed a good team to take care of me. Here we come Dr. Nancy DiMartino and staff!! Chemo and radiation x’s 32 rounds. It sucked. And even now, I am sick, I have what is known as radiation pneumonitis. It usually happens after radiation, but I kept a nasty cough after I was done and it never went away, turning into the reg kind of pneumonia. Then this nasty thing came along…. Anyhow, moving along… Every 3 months I have CT scans and blood work every 4-6 weeks along with port flushes, so you see I never get a break from cancer. I live and breathe cancer ever single waking day. I am afraid every day, I am nervous every day, I see my scars everyday, whether from my port, or my mastectomy… I cry almost every single time I take a shower because its loud and no one hears me pouring my heart out in there. Although my partner knows me, and gives me that space.
A year ago today I was waiting on The Walking Dead to come on channel AMC and at the hospital they had it, but the nurse kept coming in and out taking my vitals, my phone wouldn’t pick up a signal and the regular telephone in the room was ringing off the hook. I laid in that bed petrified for the next morning, knowing what was seen on the CT and MRI I had the same night…. I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to have to tell my kids. I didn’t want to lose my hair or have to fill out a box on pprwork for the rest of my life that says “If you or someone in your family has cancer check here” Now, I do. And its like a giant slap in the face. A year ago I wasn’t checking that box, it was left alone. And now my heart is ripped out EVERY time I look at it on paper. It just hurts.
And I never got to see that damn episode of The Walking Dead. 😦
Oh, and then there are those who are there and they try and understand it, or; it or they dismiss it like its going to get better, or that you’re healed. (After chemo and rad) You are just miraculously saved. It doesn’t work that way. Its always there, lurking, hiding somewhere. Cancer sucks. In fact I hate it with every fiber of my being. I wish I could move past it, let it just be. So I have it, who cares?? And just go on.. But its not that simple. I get winded easily, I’m tired, I want to sleep and I can’t. I want a cure. That’s all.
But if you told me a year ago that I was going to be told when I left my house that morning I had cancer, I think I would have stayed home. Everything that comes with it is so consuming. I would rather have my life back, the happy one, without appointments constantly and filling in tiny little boxes that say “cancer”. Because for me, I think that had I NOT known, that was my normal life, just a cold, or bronchitis, I could deal with all that, just not this. And I have so many friends with cancer, Its NOT fair. I hate it. For them, for me. But what I don’t want anyone to get twisted is that fact that I won’t give up. Even though I hate it, I WON’T give up. Ever. Its not in me to roll over and play dead or whatever else my brain wants to do when its just spent. Emotionally I am a wreck, but I will keep going. Because a year ago, I thought I was just going in to have my chest looked at and it be a cold or bronchitis, now I know that its not and I have to fight. I have been put through the ringer since my diagnosis, and I keep going, my kids need me. My partner needs me, My mom needs me. I need them, So I have some fighting to do. Just have to wipe the mascara off my face and keep going.