This or That

The only thing worse than feeling pain and sadness so deeply that it seems like it's going to split you in two is feeling nothing at all.



Whether it's claimed a person from my GI support group at the hospital or someone I only knew from an online distance, it's always at the periphery, milling around, clearing its throat, ensuring that I don't forget.


Making a Second Job Out of Second-Guessing

A clean CT scan.
A clean colonoscopy.

So why can't I stop copping a feel at the lymph node in my neck?


BEWARE: Salty Language Ahead


Didn't want to be a quitter. Didn't want to let down my doctor. Conjured all manner of motivation--particularly my daughter's face--to choke all of the damn liquid down.

With only 6 oz. (of 64 total) to go, I had to go and FUCKING VOMIT.


Currently: Waiting to hear back from the GI doc on call to see if I should even bother showing up tomorrow. I personally think that my prep is good--hopefully the professionals will agree.



The Worst 15 Minutes of the Last Year*

Yesterday I had my six-month follow-up CT scan. I hadn't been thinking much about it before the actual day, mostly because I knew that the only thing worrying would accomplish is steal precious sleep.

I was a little on edge yesterday since I had to fast prior to the scan and I am not one to skip meals. Ever. The first appointment was 9am labs, which went relatively ok, except for the fact that the IV needle that the tech left in wasn't exactly comfy, but then hell, it's pointy metal and it's not supposed to feel good, right?

After pounding three large cups of contrast for the scan (which I tolerated a little more than usual since I was so dehydrated and am not one to deviate from the NO FOOD OR DRINK FOUR HOURS PRIOR TO SCAN directions, even if it is water), they brought me into the room for the scan.

As soon as I laid on the table, I started to panic mildly. This was it. This test would determine the path of my life for the next six months. Clear, and I would get to keep chugging along until the next scan. Not clear, well...I could only assume that meant chemo and surgery.

They hooked the IV up to the needle sticking out of my arm. Once the contrast started to flow, my arm started to BURN with an incredibly SHARP PAIN. "OW, it HURTS!" I cried, kicking one leg in pain. I knew that getting contrast through my port was relatively painless, but I'd had contrast via IV before and it never hurt anything like this.

One of the nurses checked my arm (or something--I was to busy motionlessly writhing in pain to notice) and she said very apologetically that the vein wasn't infiltrated and that the contrast was going to where it was supposed to, so they kept going. The initial pain eventually subsided, but the damage was already done, or rather the dam had broken.

As fat tears rolled out the corners of my eyes, the nurses apologized repeatedly for something which wasn't remotely their fault. I tried to brush it off as no big deal, but they kept on: "I'm so sorry, it's not supposed to hurt like that, I'm so sorry..."

I tried to get myself together in a bathroom, but immediately lost it, heaving sobs at the import of what had just happened. The scan was no longer a question mark on the horizon--it was happening.

I beelined down the the caf for some much needed grub, which made me feel a bit better, then turned right around for my 11:30 acupuncture appt. There, the tiniest needle stick set off the waterworks again. I soon realized yesterday that while I can tolerate stress and tolerate pain, I can't do both at once, with one intensifying the other in a vicious cycle of tears.

I met up with Jody in the onc waiting room and proceeded to do just that for a half hour since either I or the clinic got my appointment time wrong. We were eventually whisked into an exam room, I answered the usual litany of questions, and we waited for the onc.

My onc's right hand man (who is also fantastic, by the way) had me feeling good with his positive demeanor but then delivered the news: the scan results were inconclusively troubling. Apparently, there was a dark spot on the scan that had gotten bigger since my last scan.

Just then, the darkness got a whole lot bigger.

The doc said that it was very unusual for it a recurrence to happen in that area and since it was adjacent to a surgical staple or clip, it could very well be nothing more than irritation from that staple/clip.

None of that helped. I was a total fucking wreck and was on my second kleenex before he even finished his sentence.

The doc then said that he was going to confer with my onc and then try to get either an answer or plan of attack when they both came back.

Jody, universe bless him, was ever his logical, I-will-base-my-response-on-the-information-I-have-been-given self while I, on the other hand, was Missus Disaster Brain.

I was sick. Again. I had ten miles of bad chemo road ahead of me, and possibly surgeries, just to keep things interesting. They wouldn't be able to put me back on FOLFOX on account of my neuropathy, so they would try something new. Something worse. Something that would knock me down, wipe me out. I would lose my hair. Jody would lose sleep. Violet might lose her mother. Oh God fucking NO.

After a fifteen minute eternity, my oncologist walked in, with his right hand man right behind. It was ok. They had an explaination. The dark spot they had been watching, the one adjacent to the clip? Was my ovary. And this was not a bad thing, because ovaries in all pre-menopausal women change with a women's cycle.

Holy shit, they had been looking in my beloved, transposed, thusfar functioning ovary.

And this is why my emotional fuse had been thisshort. Well, partly, anyhow. Because despite all lab results to the contrary, I was still cycling.

My hair is still a wreck. Jody's sleep is spotty at best. But Violet? Not losing her mom any time soon.

*Not counting my bowel issues, natch.


Poster Child for Early Screening

I've got something of import coming up in a few days but I wanted to post a quick note pertaining to a subject very close to my heart.

Well, not so much my heart as it is my butt. Yes, we're going there.

We are now in the month of ides, Guinness, lions and lambs but also awareness. March is coloRECTAL (sing it!) cancer awareness month. You all know my story by now, so I will spare a rerun, but it is my duty (or is that doody?) to deliver the following PSA as a CRC veteran.

Colorectal cancer--and all cancers, really--does not discriminate, nor is it logical. I am proof of the fact that you can be so low risk as to be practically risk-free and still get The Cancer. It is critical that you remain ever vigilant and tuned into the ebbs and flows of your body.

It is up to you to inform your doctor of any irregularities, whether it be unexplained weight loss, weakness, bleeding, changes in bowel habits (translation: they look different, happen more/less frequently, etc).

If things have been amok for a while and are not improving, be the squeaky wheel. You must be your own advocate. And if your doc tries to pass them off as hemmorrhoids, have him/her give me a call. You know I love a good excuse to read someone the riot act.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again:

If your doody is red, get your pooper inspected!

Oh and PS, contrary to what you've heard, the prep is the second worst part of a colonoscopy. The worst worst part is being told you have cancer.