Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shutting the door on cancer

Sometimes I think to myself that I need to shut Cancer out of my life.  Just close the door, lock that shit up and walk away (preferably with a bomb going off in the background...OH - and in a slow-mo sequence!)  Besides the bomb idea, I really enjoy the thought of it slowly wasting away to nothing in a dark box/closet/cellar/basement/dungeon that I'd never return to.  

I hate thinking this and I hate typing it even more: I worry about it coming to get me ALL the time.  It breaks free from this box/closet/cellar/basement/dungeon and sneaks up gets me.  This is a nightmare of mine.  This worry/nightmare gets much, MUCH worse when I have a health 'scare'.  For example, the first would be the large lymph node that popped up on my neck last year and the most recent scare with the mass/lipoma on my back last month.  These ‘scares’ severely fuck with my mental state and are absolutely overwhelming, in every sense of the word.  It takes me entirely way too long to bounce back to what is now my new “normal”.

As I’ve mentioned before, my body doesn't handle stress well.   Not at all!  Stress is a loud bitch.  Stress screams and wakes up my ulcerative colitis, during it’s well deserved nap time, and 'it' becomes a full blown brat ('IT' meaning: ulcerative colitis - which now may be known simply as U.C.).  Then it takes me weeks for the side effects from U.C. to go away.  My belly hurts - stomach AND intestines alike - my joints ache and we can't forget that I also get ulcers in my mouth.  Right now it hurts to talk and to eat – I just want to cry (again).   I am mentally and physically drained.   But my fingers don't hurt...that's why I am typing...

Due to my stage, statistically I have a 8% chance of dying within 5 years and a 14% chance of dying within 10…  and I’ve been “fine” for almost 2 years.  SO, why the hell am I freaking out?


I read stories daily of other people’s lives – their journeys, their family’s journeys – and then more importantly their deaths.  That’s why I freak out.  Plain and simple - that is exactly why I lose sleep, why I worry...  I understand it is ‘their’ stories, ‘their’ lives, ‘their’ reality – but the unfortunate fact is that we all share a common denominator: Melanoma.  Regardless of stage, Melanoma is the link that connects all of our stories into one, horrible, truth.   

I decided to do something today in hopes of helping (me).  As much as I hated doing it, I cancelled all of the notifications that I receive from this particular Melanoma group I am a part of on Facebook.  I see several postings a day and it’s just too heartbreaking.  I see one posting and then I get sucked in and I will continue to read comments and so forth.  I realized that I am in a constant state of sadness for other people and a constant state of worry for me.  That’s not a way to live – it’s not healthy by any means.   I didn’t have the courage to fully remove myself from the group because I have grown fond of several of the members, but I had to do what needed to be done.  I am too vulnerable at the moment; can’t see that stuff every single day.  Shit just got real!  So, I turned to avoidance like I do with other issues in my life - you know, since that's been working out so amazingly. 

In other news I have been itching to get another tattoo!  Haven't figured it out yet, but since I am impulsive with tattoos, I may never figure out what I truly want.  

See how I just changed the topic?  I'm so slick.   Avoidance and comedy's what's hip!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I wished for fat and that's what I got!

Finally, I received a call from the surgery office yesterday with the results - after calling/messaging them twice - the mass was just a lipoma!  Thank you, baby Jesus!!  You heard my wishes of "please, just let IT be fat - let IT be a lipoma".  Although, now thinking of it, you did conveniently ignore my wishes when I was little of "please, let me be a 36c" - but whatever, we're all good now, I'll call us even.  Wait a second, I see what you did were trying to hook me up, but just accidentally put the fat on the wrong side of my body.  Oh, Universe, you're SO hilarious!!

But seriously, man.  This surgery center sure knew how to keep the suspense rolling like a M. Night Shyamalan movie!   I had the surgery on Thursday, September 25th.  A week goes by with no answer = suspense, level 1.  I messaged them the following Friday around noon or so.  The neat thing with Kaiser's online system is you can send emails with pictures to your doctor(s) and they will respond.  The even neater thing is you can see if they've opened/read your messages.  At 3pm on Friday, I see that my message was opened and read = suspense, level 2.  By Friday at 5pm with no response = suspense, level 2.5.

I go on about my weekend, rarely thinking about it.  O-kay fine, I might have thought about it a LOT!  So, what...  I would have my moments without thinking of it, but then I'd backtrack and wonder why they wouldn't just respond with a quick "no, they aren't in yet" or even "we had to send them off to another department"; the latter would have sent me reeling, but at least it would have been a response.  The dude knew how freaked out I was since I mentioned it to him at least three times.  I obviously didn't make much of an impression...

Monday rolls around and still nothing = suspense, level 4.  I end up having a minor freak out in the bathroom Monday night.  Of course, all of this thinking (*cough* WORRYING) made my belly also freak out.  My belly is such a good friend; it didn't want to leave my mind freaking out all by itself.  I mentioned to my dad that my stomach is making noises that I thought only dinosaurs made.  I hate ulcerative colitis...not as much as I hate Melanoma...but there is absolute, valid hatred there.

My belly is so jacked up that Tuesday I need to call in.  I was up almost all night in pain.  I wrote the guys at the office and told them that I'm not sure if I have "the bug" or whatever because someone had it earlier on in the week.  I'd force some soup in me and then come in after - but, my butt had other plans.  The soup backfired...literally (thanks, ulcerative colitis).  I laid around with no energy (thanks, ulcerative colitis) during the in-between times when I am not in the bathroom (thanks, ulcerative colitis!).  I decide that I am going to call Kaiser and ask them what's up so I don't have to deal with this shit anymore.  As I am on the phone with a nurse in the surgery center, she tells that the results from the surgery are in, but she needs to review them with the doctor.  Suspense...maxed the fuck out, level 5!

Then the call.  I am on the phone with the hubs and I tell him I need to go, Kaiser is calling.  Inhale...  "Hi, this is Amber".  Exhale....

It was a lipoma!!!  A stupid piece of fat...on my back....that decided to grow there and mess with my head for a full month (well, technically over a month after 'the discovery').  I told her thank you.  Thank you for calling me back....and thank you for allowing me to finally get some well needed sleep.  I slept solid from about 8pm until 5:45am.

Now the game plan is getting mentally back on track.  It took me a long time to get to where I was before this stupid ass piece of fat decided to fuck my world up.  So crazy how something so seemingly small can impact you in such a large way.