The weekend is finally here. Can I get a halleluiah? Maybe a quick, heartfelt amen?
It’s been a busy week. Not in a bad way. It just. . . man, it seems like a lot happened.
On Monday I had my chemo port flushed. While sitting in the waiting room I overheard a conversation between two men. Each had liver cancer and they were comparing diagnoses. Let me tell ya, it’s pretty fucking sobering to hear a man with stage four metastatic liver cancer discuss his bucket list (his word, not mine).
I can’t wait to have this port removed. It isn’t the maintenance. The appointment is easy. The hard part is being back on the chemo floor listening to the other patients. I rarely see anyone visibly upset, but that somehow makes it worse. There’s a feeling of resignation in that waiting room. A feeling of stepping in front of an oncoming train, holding up your hand, closing your eyes and hoping for the best.
Next time I have to have the port flushed I think I’ll bring headphones. Maybe someone will be kind enough to tap me on the shoulder when my name is called.
That man, the one with stage four cancer? He wants to visit Alaska.
I hope to God he gets to go.
Tuesday I received a phone call setting up the date for my reconstructive surgery. As of right now, that date is March 4, 2016 unless I get bumped for an active cancer case. (In which case, they totally win that coin toss.)
The scheduler hung up with the promise of another phone call and (sigh) many pre-op appointments to come.
Wednesday I buried myself in work. My job is a refuge full of distracting metrics and excel sheets and power point slides. I am insanely grateful for my job. It keeps me from climbing the walls.
Thursday I got a call setting the pre-op mammogram for February 29th. I can’t have a mammogram on the right side (there’s no ‘mam’ left to ‘gram’) but the plastic surgeon needs one for the left side because he’ll be doing a breast lift.
Mammograms suh-huh-huh-huck. Especially the ones that don’t end well.
More imaging and tests and goddammit I’m just over it.
I’ve managed to work my way down from Xanax to a regimen of sweaty workouts and chamomile tea, but I’m not sure they’re up to handling all this. So I’ll keep the Xanax handy.
I’m praying to whoever or whatever is listening that there’s no sign of cancer in my left breast. There wasn’t at the last mammogram in January, but damn, that seems like an awfully long time ago.
Thursday improved when my coworker’s wife brought their six month old son to the office for a visit. The week was shaping up to either need a puppy or a baby. I got the baby. There is something about holding a squirming six month old that just makes me smile.
Friday ended the week with a follow up at the oncological surgeon. This doctor focuses solely on cutting out the cancer (she leaves the prettying up to the plastics team). She was very pleased with how I’ve healed since radiation.
She even asked me if I was sure I finished radiation. I assured her I did.
There’s still a faintly tan box under my arm and on the back of my shoulder leftover from radiation, but on the surface, that’s all that can be seen from radiation. Apparently no one else gets off that easy.
She added a chest x-ray to my pre-op screening because my ribs right below my right breast are still tender. Radiation has been known to crack ribs. I’m not in constant pain. They’re only tender when I press on them. Otherwise I’m unaware of it. But she ordered an x-ray just in case.
Her caution is appreciated, if a bit nerve wracking.
So it’s just been a week full of stressful conversations, all of which turned out fine, but left me emotionally and mentally exhausted.
I’m so tired. I don’t mean fatigued. Physically, I feel great. Mentally? I’m just tired of cancer.
I think I earned my weekend.
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