Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Case of the Cancer Crybabies


WOWZA BOWZA!  So FIG-Lancaster has asked me to tell my story.  The following is a blog that was featured on FIG.  I am so incredibly honored and humbled to be a part of their community so be sure to stop by and take a look, especially if you are looking for something to do in Lancaster,  they are like Big Brother...they know EVERYTHING!

Today started with me driving to the Lancaster Cancer Center, while practicing an apology speech, aloud, in the car.  It went something like this, “Dear Nurse Wonderful, I am sorry for stalking you like a college teen with daddy issues following Beiber.  I also apologize for being a huffy Beetch on the phone. It was not my finest hour.”

REWIND ~ So I have had a sore shoulder, not a ‘need to hit the OXY sore shoulder,’ in fact, not even a ‘need to hit the childrens’ Tylenol sore.  It has just been sore, annoyingly sore.  It annoyed me all weekend so when Monday came around, I called and whined like a school girl.  They sent me for an ultrasound. 

4 weeks ago when my arm was sore, they did an ultrasound and they found blood clots—cue 2x a day stomach shots.  At this point my blood should be thin and flowing like a river. Dr. Fabulous said this exact thing to me last week at chemo when I mentioned the shoulder. But, somewhere along the line I got into my own head and I simply could not find the way out. 

So, I went for the ultrasound and it was good!   Blood clots in my arm—GONE!! (Insert air clap).  Clots near my port—getting tiny (Mini air clap).  I should have smiled and blown air kisses on my way out but if you recall, I was lost and wondering around deep in my head…completely incapable of finding the yellow brick road back to sanityville.

 So I called Dr. Fabulous again…and again.  Same story, new time of day “my aarrrmmmrm hurts.”  So Nurse Wonderful told me to come to the office in the morning so she could have a look.  I hung up, feeling some weird sense of satisfaction (I really like to be right and get my way approximately 197% of the time) and then I called my sister, the RN…with cancer.  She listened as I whined about nobody being excited about my sore arm and then in her calm sister way explained that I was fine. I was on chemo and I had healing blood clots and I was going to be sore. 

Well, Crap…now I was feeling a bit sheepish for the level of sass I had just handed out to Nurse Wonderful.

Fast forward to me talking to myself, as I practiced my apology on the way to my morning check-up.
When I arrived, I sheepishly slipped in the door and back to the exam room and when I saw Nurse Wonderful round the corner I began spilling out my “I’m sorry’s”, my “I know I’m fine’s”  She stopped me.  She told me to not be sorry.  She looked at me and just said “You are going through a lot right now, it’s unimaginable and if something hurts you come in and we will have a look” and that’s what she did, she had a look (even though we both knew I was fine) and then Dr. Fabulous came in and he had a look.  At this point I felt like the whole building knew I was fine, emotionally needy, but fine.

Before I could even begin apologizing again for wasting his time too, he stopped me and said “what you’re going through is devastating, you don’t have to apologize.”  Then he sat down.  He sat down and explained what my healing veins were trying to do and why they were sore.  He wasn’t exasperated.   

Then, Nurse Wonderful hugged me, unlocking Pandora’s box.

I barely made it out the front door before I was sobbing

I was FINE, better than fine.  There was NO reason to cry.  I should have been throwing out thumbs ups and high fives on the way out but instead I was hurling myself towards the door, to escape before my tears hit the floor.  

 I didn’t cry when I found out I had cancer.  I didn’t cry when I found out I had developed blood clots that would require stomach injections.  I may have whimpered and done a WHHOOOLLLEE lot of pouting, when I found out the injections were here to stay for the duration of therapy, but the tears stayed away.

And now I was fine.  I should have been thrilled and relieved but there was something in the way that Dr. Fabulous and Nurse Amazing looked at me like I was not crazy, like they got it.
There was something in the way they acknowledged that this whole experience is awful and shattering and worth tears that gave me the freedom to be weak and acknowledge that this all sucks (even the parts where I am fine) because having cancer is devastating, no matter how strong you think you are. 

There was something in their simple acknowledged understanding, that finally let me cry. 

I know that spending my days in the fetal position, angling for a cameo in Girl Interrupted II, does me no good, so today I am going to just give myself a break and let myself feel.  Tomorrow, well I’ll handle tomorrow, tomorrow

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