Friday, June 27, 2014

I have Cancer

I am recalling the day I found out I had cancer after over of month of “digesting” the news,  as if it makes even an iota more sense a day,  month or even a year after getting the news than it does in that moment.  I went into the Emergency Room on Fathers day for stomach cramps,  "holy crap and I having contractions and having another baby,  even though I am fairly certain I am not pregnant stomach cramps). 

 They sent me home after getting back beautifully healthy blood work and suggested that I call a family doctor the next day.  I went home and tried to sleep and when I began throwing up,  I went back to the ER.  The second trip they agreed to do a CAT SCAN,  even though they kept telling me they would find nothing because I had no history of anything of concern. Admittedly,  I thought they were subtly hinting that I was being dramatic, so when they came into my room and told me they found a large mass and that they could hardly believe how painful it must be,  I felt smug in a "see,  I am not a big baby,  I have a mass" kind of way.
Then they said I was being admitted,  probably having surgery and asked for a preferred GI practice...and the smugness melted.  UM.
Now admittedly,  my sister worked in the same ER,  I was now sitting in for years AND she was working upstairs on another floor AND I had not called her at all through the 2 ER visits because a piece of me really did think I might just have gas and need prescription Beano.  So, now I had to call her for a GI reference...because what person just has a favorite GI doctor in their book of contacts.
Cancer was not on my radar…AT ALL.  Following surgery, when my surgeon came into our room, I assumed it was the normal morning rounds, except he came in and sat down.  He told me the pathology came back and that it was cancer, I laughed as much as I could with my stomach freshly stitched up replied, “you’re kidding me”.  He calmly said he was not kidding and from that moment on, I only caught snippets as I mentally passed back and forth from the dialogue in my head to the dialogue in the room. 

Oh course, he’s not kidding…doctors can’t walk up to a patient and just say “You have cancer” ,  Can you imagine the Katie Couric interview with the doctor that starts wondering around just randomly telling patients they have cancer

The cancer has grown through the colon and was found in 12 out of 30 of the lymph nodes that we removed.

Look at Ian, He’s not crying…how is he not crying…he always cries,  is he holding it together for me,  how is he doing that…his eyes aren’t even red

Recommending best oncologist he knows…very aggressive…I’m young…aggressive is the way to fight…the tumor was completely removed…the oncologist is a hugger…

Wait, what? So help me if anyone tries to hug me right now…

He is so sorry, not the news he wanted or expected…

are his eyes red,  how are his eyes red,  maybe Ian is crying now too….ok, that hurt…don’t move,  ow…or turn that way,  how is he still not crying?

When he left the room, Ian walked over, he didn’t hug me, he didn’t say it would be ok and he didn’t ask me how I was and I was so thankful for that.  I was just trying to find a comfortable place to sit that did not require me pressing my morphine button (whom I had named Harry).

I don’t remember any emotion until the first nurse came in my room, she was normally bubbly and the least annoying of all the nurses I had and she came in and made that pursed lip sad face and all I wanted to do was leap out of my bed and punch her in the nose as I realized that I was the last to know.  That rolling desk outside of my room that followed the nurses everywhere was my chart.  Every time a nurse walked up to my room, they saw that Patient Jack has stage III colectoral cancer. I hated every nurse I saw for the next hour or two.   I felt like they all expected me to cry and be sad and it wasn’t in me.  I imagined or actually overheard them (admittedly, I was hitting Harry every 8 minutes in hopes of a nap) talking about how I had just been told I have cancer.  I was numb because I felt like I had to be numb for tears would lead to a hug, hugs would make me angry and cause more tears and I was pretty sure those tears would make my staples pop right out or at the very least would take me to a pain level that Harry would have no chance of touching.

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