Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cancer: Day 2


I'm up at 4:30AM.  The neighbor started his truck and I startled awake and rather than lie there in bed letting my mind wander I came downstairs to snuggle up on the couch with some reality show programming.  Lucky for me Tuesday nights are filled to the brim with a terribly delicious DVR lineup.  I couldn't have gotten a cancer diagnosis on a better day of the week.

The shock of it all is starting to wear off and I posted the last blog post on Facebook and suddenly people I haven't spoken with in years are reaching out to me to tell me their stories and to offer encouragement.  This outreach feels wonderfully supportive and terribly frightening at the same time because it means that people will surely be there for me if I need them, but it also means that I might need them.

Cancer is apparently something I can't ignore.

My stomach was upset when I woke up--which is very normal during this pregnancy--so I stumbled downstairs for some milk.  I took an extra large half of Zofran because today's belly ache might not just be because of the baby, and am now feeling much better already.

I feel like crying for several hours.  So far I only cried once, while on the phone with my sister, and it was because I was feeling sorrowful for the fact that I will not be able to breastfeed this new baby for very long.  So far, the loss I am feeling is because I know I will have to be away from Dylan at least overnight in the very near future for the surgery, and then I will be separated from both kids when I go in for treatment because I will be radioactive.  I can't even stomach the thought of leaving my dogs overnight.

I keep feeling like the cancer has already spread throughout my entire body.  Most likely, since the statistics are that 75% of this type of cancer has spread at least to the surrounding lymph nodes, it is already on its way to taking over me.  I am constantly swallowing with some silly hope that I might eat the lump in my throat.

The doctor doing my biopsy said that in his experience only about 1% of lumps that he examines turn out to be cancerous.  He said, "If you end up being in that 1%, you must have terrible luck."  Raises hand.  I was scared during that exam and so I sang in my mind and counted the holes in the ceiling and cracked jokes that this spa was terrible and I will be asking for a refund.  The first song I thought of was Yellow Submarine.  From there it went To Make You Feel My Love, End of the World (As We Know it), These Days, and Baby Mine.  And then as the procedure continued and I kept commenting about how comfortable the bed was--that my Sleep Number must be hospital grade--To Make You Feel My Love kept creeping into my mind.

When the evening shadows
And the stars appear
And there is no - one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel my love

It's 5AM now.  And no one is awake.  It's just me and my cancer sitting here on the couch.  Although almost fifty people have reached out to show their support since last night, I feel so very alone.  Maybe I'd feel less alone if I believed strongly in a god or religion.  Maybe if I practiced yoga or meditating, I'd feel better.  But for right now, all I want is some strong anti-anxiety medication to calm my nerves.  Sean will be awake in twenty minutes or so and I will soak him in until he leaves for work and then I will struggle to get through the rest of my day without crying in front of Dylan.

What should a girl do on the day after she discovers she has cancer?

Grieve?  Go shopping?  Cry?  Nothing seems important or worthy of my time and now listening to Adele's version of my beloved Bob Dylan tune has me in complete sobs.  How have I never heard this before?  It's beautiful.  I'd better get my tears out now before my almost-two year old wakes up because I refuse to cry in front of him today.  We're going to talk about trains instead, and watch Mickey Mouse. 

This cancer seems so dramatic.  I bet I'm overreacting. I hope I'm overreacting.   What if in three weeks or so whenever I lose my thyroid the surgeon comes in and tells me that I'm cured?  What if it's that simple?  What if I die instead?  What if I don't?  Shit, look at Roger Ebert.  He's still alive.  He can't drink root beer, but he's still alive.

So I've decided.  Today I am going to drink root beer in his honor and I'm going to tell this cancer and these tears to fuck off.  I've got better things to do than mourn all day.