• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 7 (A Great Friend)

    Sarcasm friend

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Day 7 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    I sat in the waiting room at MD Anderson Cancer Center and stared down at the first page of a lengthy medical history form, totally stumped by the question, “Please describe what brings you in to see us.”

    I nudged my friend Tamela.  She took the day off from work to come with me to this appointment.

    “Do I really have to say ‘I have cancer’? I mean, isn’t that why everyone is here?”

    She looked over my shoulder at the form then looked around the waiting room. At least ten people wearing scarves over bald heads sat reading magazines or talking quietly.  All were obviously somewhere down the line from me in their cancer treatment.

    She caught my eye and we snorted laughter.

    And I knew, without a doubt, Tamela was exactly the right person to have sitting next to me.

    I wrote breast cancer on the line (even though it felt redundant) and turned the form in. A little while later, Tamela and I were ushered in an exam room, the nurse handing me one of those nifty hospital gowns (open to the front!).

    Tamela was one of the first people to tell me to get a second opinion on my diagnosis, and I am so glad I did.  The staff at MD Anderson was very informative with a bedside manner geared toward the patient.

    I didn’t feel like I was part of a cancer treatment assembly line.  I felt like a normal human being who has been diagnosed with a very nasty problem.

    Tamela took notes while I talked to the doctors.  Her note taking made it possible to listen and ask questions, not worry about writing information down.

    Most of this appointment was a review of what the first doctor (not MD Anderson) said.

    • Yes, it’s breast cancer.
    • Yes, it’s in at least one lymph node.
    • Yes, we need more information and tests run.
    • No, I don’t know what surgery will look like yet. There are a number of things that affect the surgical approach. I have to wait for the results of the genetic testing and the PET scan. I also have to see how the tumors respond to chemotherapy (namely, does chemo kill the little fuckers).  Blood was drawn for genetic testing, liver function, and a whole host of other things that I can’t remember right now.
    • No, I don’t know how long chemotherapy will last yet.
    • No, I don’t have a stage yet.  The doctors think I am somewhere between Stage 2 and Stage 3. I have to have one more biopsy and a PET scan to see if the cancer has gone anywhere else in my body. If it has, that is Stage 4.  Pray that I’m not Stage 4.

    (Quick update: MD Anderson is so efficient they called me just a few hours after my appointment to let me know that my liver function and blood count all looked normal.  The nurse I spoke to said, “We didn’t want you to have to wait through the weekend.” This is the kind of attention to detail and consideration I already love about them.)

    In between doctors coming and going, I broke down a few times.  When she couldn’t find any Kleenex, Tamela raided the medical supply cabinet and I wiped my face with a giant Steri-wipe tissue.

    Today’s silver lining: My good friend, Tamela. She was a rock when I needed it most.

    Yeah, I cried, but I wasn’t a total sopping mess at this appointment. Something I attribute 100% to having my friend with me.  She seemed to sense in only the way good friends can when I needed a joke and when I needed a hug.

    I hope someday I will be able to return the favor to Tamela, though I suspect the debt will never be repaid to my satisfaction.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    xoxo,
    Meghan

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6 Responsesso far.

  1. Annette Foster says:

    Silver lining today……you have great friends! Wish I could be there to help.

  2. Jeannie says:

    I feel like I’m a pretty positive person…until it comes down to finding my silver lining. This is very hard for me! I get so caught up into having to go here and having to go there…trying to keep the kids under control and still maintain my sanity…Life IS crazy!!! But today, I’m finding my silver lining in you! You are my inspiration…not only because you are fighting cancer, but because you are taking the time to make us all think about our silver linings. I’m so grateful to have the means of a good car that can get me to where I need to go, a husband that will do most of the driving when we are together, and (overly) happy (and loud) kids! So grateful that even though you are going through this you have a wonderful friend that is right by your side! And you’re going to MD Anderson!!! That is a blessing in itself, too!!! We love you, Meghan and are here for you if you need anything!!! I’m pretty sure my kids would love to have their cousins come stay with them sometime in August! Let us know if that would be something y’all would be okay with!;). Keep your head up!!! God is so good and the power of prayer is amazing!;)

  3. Tammy Fowler says:

    Meghan,
    You have been in my thoughts and prayers ever since I saw your news on Facebook (actually, Pam’s post, which led me to your blog). Anyway, I will definitely be praying for no Stage 4. You are strong and I know you will get through this. So glad you have great support from friends and family and a wonderful facility like MD Anderson. Those are silver linings indeed!

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