Sunday, October 30, 2011

What are we waiting for?

I have been thinking a lot about waiting. Specifically, waiting rooms. When you sit in a waiting room, watching your fellow human beings wait alongside you, you not only learn about them but about yourself. The middle aged couple that sits side by side, never talking, never touching, just staring straight ahead. Are they waiting for her? Him? Someone already getting treated? The mother and son, so weary neither sits upright. They just slump over the chairs, eyes black with the tired that can only come from days, possibly weeks of, waiting. The young couple, with three children under the age of five, the father leaving the mother alone with the children so he can go get his radiation treatment. Both parents under the age of thirty. One woman, waits by herself. Another man, waits alone. One woman in a wheelchair after her treatment, tells her son on her cellphone how much she loves him and that she is so lucky to have him in her life. She is effusive, emotional and her gratitude is palpable throughout the room.

I sit, in between my worried and helpful parents, and I wonder about all those people. Are they waiting for answers? Waiting for a cure? Waiting for death? The title of Waiting Room could not be more apt, or more uncomfortable. It is the waiting, the in between, that can make an illness near unbearable. People get stuck in waiting rooms whether it is for health reasons, or life reasons. I wonder about myself. I wonder why I have been waiting so long?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tumors and Toes

Stirrup Toes. Tumor Board. Just a couple of funny lines that have turned into inside jokes the last week while going from one doctor visit to the next. Odd, it may seem to some, to be giggling, in a clinical room with people you have just barely met that are now going to be putting their hands, digits, lights, camera and all sorts of action in my nether region. But when you have orange and purple bedazzled toes up high in the stirrups, people notice, then comment and their job is done. Stirrup Toes, break the tension, remind me that I have a cousin that loves me and came over to bedazzle my toes the night before any illusion I ever had to privacy was permanently revoked and gives me something to grin about while an attending asks a resident, an intern and a student "Hey, did you get a look at the tumor? Did you?" All this, as the thin spotlight shines up from in between, my Stirrup Toes.

It is hard to not say tumor without sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger from "Kindergarten Cop." At least for me, and my Mom. So when the radiation specialist said he would be going over my case, as they do every Monday on the Tumor Board, I nearly bust out laughing. Of all things to call it, why Tumor Board? I like alliteration, so how about Tumor Table, Tumor Tribunal, or we have Tumor Talk Time.... could be a new show. "This is Your Life" meets "Mystery Diagnosis."

Announcer - "And today we have a cervical tumor. Adenocarcinoma 1b1. Adeno, how do you feel about your upcoming removal from your host body? Nervous, excited? How long did you live there, before being discovered? Do you consider yourself a squatter or a parasite? Any plans to spread?"

Tumor sits there. Like a tumor.

Monday, October 24, 2011

No Foolin'

Interns. Residents. Medical Students. How many pairs of eyes and hands have been on me this past week? They say you can never be too rich or too far down on the table. Well, let me tell you, my wealth is not found in my wallet.

I suppose by now, I should be able to suffer foolish questions as well as the fools that ask them. But when you are sitting in a tiny room on a table with stirrups, inside a grand and beautiful building that has the word CANCER in big bold letters on the sign out front, don't trifle with me. If it just so happens to be the first day of your rotation as a first year med student, and you end up in MY room, bring your A game. Not with the notepad you swiped from the "Olive Garden" waiter that served you last night so you could write down every third word I say as you mutter "ok, ok, ok, ok, ok...." like Leo Getz from "Lethal Weapon" while I say words you either never heard OR forgot immediately. Either go eat the sandwich you were thinking about the entire time you were supposed to be evaluating me OR go take a nap. I suppose I should feel bad that the door didn't close all the way before I said to my Mother in a not at all cryptic way, "Well, HE was a DUD." But I don't.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ends Well

I like my cardiologist. He is an amiable guy. He gets most of my jokes. Understands that my visits are full of sarcasm and silliness. So, today when we had my yearly check-in and I told him of my recent diagnosis, he was supportive and just the right amount of silly....until I was leaving. He said, "Ok, so if all goes well I'll see you back here in six months." Huh? If all goes well? Is that the standard goodbye now in the cardiology department and no one alerted me? Should we all be saying this, at the end of phone calls and Sunday dinners? "If all goes well in the bathroom, I'll see you for dessert." If all goes well. Yeah, if all goes well in the car ride home. If all goes well on my brother's plane ride to South Korea. If all goes well when you're eating in your home alone. Anytime, could be the last time we talk to someone, see someone. We say "I'll call you right back" or "see you later" but who knows when that is the time when it all goes wrong? If all goes well, you tell those you love that you love them every time you see them, every time you hear them. My heart doesn't need a doctor to tell me it would break if I lost any more of my loved ones. If all goes well huh?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I woke up this morning and the first thought to flash across my mind was " I have cancer." Not some song that has wormed its way into my brain and has been repeating itself for two days as usual, not the last remnants of the dream I was having, not even that I had to pee. No, it was that I have cancer. I have been pressing on my abdomen, closing my eyes and trying to sense it. Those not so friendly cells on my cervix boring down and into me. But I can't. I wait for something to move, pinch maybe and then I will know better that what my sweet and sincere doctor told me is right. But even now, even though I cry, and cry, it seems so impossible, and cruel. Not one more thing.

Then again, why not? Why not my underutilized and good for nothing womanhood? Use it or lose it (and we all know I haven't used it in eleven years.) The culmination of events, or lack there of. I don't know how I am going to deal with this yet, too many ifs, too many scare factors and my imagination and ability to ask questions is great. My brother just stated that I am a strong person. Which, frankly startled me. I don't feel particularly strong, not right now for sure. I have no doubt, that I will be weak, needy, a massive boob, make jokes, make more jokes, cry and cry and cry. I may get negative, down and sad, but I know it all comes from the fear of never being able to trust my body. Damn this thing. I suppose, the one thing I can trust it to do is to betray me. At least, it has been consistent on that front.

I once had a friend that blamed negative events in your life on all of the negative thoughts you ever had, all of the negative energy you put into the world, just rebounds back onto you and that explains, it all. Childhood deformities, tsunamis, rapes, genocide, that is deserved and generated upon each individual through their own negative energy. I am so grateful to not have a person like this in my life anymore, and to have the wonderful, loving, understanding and supportive friends and family that I do have. Also, my Mom is the best Mom that has ever been, in all of existence.

I don't know how many more days the first thought across my mind will be that I have cancer. I also don't know if I'll ever get to Paris. My bunnies love to be fed by hand, my hands. I know that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rules for the hospital room if I were to be unconscious/in a coma.

1. No Fox News.

2. No political talk, at all.

3. No racist talk.

4. No arguing or meanness.

5. No REO Speadwaggon.

6. No Air Supply.


Do tell dirty, dirty jokes.

Do laugh, loudly.

Do sing and hum.

Hold my hand.

The Bun

The Bun
If you don't like rabbits, you can suck it, shove it and then go soak your head.