Thursday, March 27, 2008

The C-Word

Starting Wednesday, I spent most of my time in the visitor's waiting room. We kind of took it over the whole time we were there because I didn't want to disturb any of my roommates and there wasn't a lot of space for visitors in my room anyway. Also, the doctor's wanted me to be sure to get up and walk around, so it was easier for me to do this from the waiting room. Plus, there was a great view from there. Too bad, I didn't take a photo.

Anyway, when I finally got to my room on Wednesday evening, I found I had a new roommate. Vanessa came in with a complication after a surgery she had a couple weeks before. Her mom Linda was with her. They talked to me a bit through the curtain. Asked how I was doing and all. Linda ended up staying the night, sleeping in a chair next to her daughter's bed.

So, Thursday was the day. I thought I had pretty much prepared myself to hear the results, but I don't know...

I was anxious about it. Woke up at 4am - I wonder what time Dr Vaughn will be here. Another doctor came in to check on me early in the morning, maybe about 6am. He said that they should have my results today, but didn't have any other information.

Dr Vaughn came into my room at about 7am. I had fallen back to sleep and the room was dark. I opened my eyes as Dr Vaughn leaned over my bed and asked me how I was doing. Again, this is how I remember the conversation, which might be completely out of whack.
Dr V: Well, we got the pathology report and there is cancer.
Me: okay.
Dr V: There were 20 lymph nodes and one of them was cancerous.
Me: okay.
Dr V: What that means is I will give you a referral to an Oncologist and they will likely administer chemotherapy. It looks like we got the tumor out completely and I didn't see any other masses. But there is a lot of inflammation and you will need to follow-up to make sure it doesn't spread. You will also want to let your brothers and sisters know that they should go in for a colonoscopy as they may be at risk.
Me: What does that entail, chemotherapy? Will that be during my recovery, after? More time off? Am I going to lose my hair?
Dr V: There are so many types of chemotherapy. You'll need to discuss with your Oncologist the what's and when's. You'll need to do some healing with this surgery before you can start that.
Me: okay.

He walks out and I sit there, with just a dim light above my own bed. Not sure what I am supposed to be thinking. Not sure how I am supposed to be feeling. I have cancer. I don't feel like I have cancer. But I'm pretty sure he just said I have cancer.

Kim, my awesome nurse walks in and asks me how I'm doing. "I got my results back." "And, what were they?" "The tumor was cancerous." And I start to cry. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do or say." She comes over and hugs me and says, "It's okay. Do you want me to call your mom? You should have someone here." "No, I don't want anyone here yet. I'll call my brother." And then Linda comes over and gives me a big hug too. People can be so nice. They don't even know you, and they can care about you right at the time that you need it most.

I call Mondo and tell him I got the results. He asks if I want him to come over. "Um, I don't know. I want someone to tell mom. I want her to hear before she gets here." I can't imagine what her reaction will be. How would I feel if someone told me my child had cancer? No matter how I feel about it, I can't expect that her feelings will be the same. I call Karen and Mario too. And give Karen a list of people to call and give the news to. Mondo will call the others when he gets here. I just want to make sure that people who might stop by to visit, know before they get here.

The rest of my stay is completely uphill. More visitors, more cards, more calls, more emails, more prayers - and yeah, more flowers. I am completely immersed in love. I am not stressed or angry or bitter. I don't think life is unfair. I just am. I am happy to have all of these people to keep me company at this time. I spend alot of time laughing - and it hurts to laugh, but at the same time - it feels so good to be able to laugh.

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