And so, gentle readers, I have begun. Tell me what you think of the beginning…
Cultural dictionary definition, “A change in an animal as it grows, particularly a radical change, such as the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.”
Never have I felt like this. The doctor has just left the room. I don’t understand what this means. Has he already given up? Have I somehow repulsed him? My face is hot and wet. I’m crying and I can’t even control it. The tears just keep coming. My husband looks like he’s going to vomit. The doctor opens the door again to this small cubicle. This ice cold, sterile room. He has kleenex. At this exact moment, I knew I’d come to the right place.
“On a scale from one to ten, where would you rate your level of anxiety?” the survey asks. “Ten,” is my answer. The doc furrows his brow when he sees this. But, I heard him say the words. The words. No one wants to hear them. But, I heard him. “No one’s fault”, “sometimes this happens, and we can’t explain it” , “stage 4, metastasized to the liver”, “incurable”. Ah, shit! No, that’s not really strong enough. No word is strong enough. There aren’t enough tears. There aren’t enough words. Nothing describes what I’m feeling. My ears are on fire. I hear a buzzing sound. Does everyone hear this buzzing sound? No. The words were for me. The buzz is only mine.
Chemo right away. Put in a mediport to access a main artery. Who has time to think? I need everything to slow way down. But, the doc says there’s no time to wait. I have to trust him. I have to trust. Who? Oh, ya, he brought me kleenex. I trust him.
I go back to that place where the hard lump was first discovered. I cannot face the breast surgeon who told me the lump was caught early and probably the size of his fingertip. I cannot see his assistant who said I had spots on my liver. “Well, it’s better than liver cancer, right?”, I asked. “Um. Well. Um. Well. It means your stage 4 now, so not really.” I don’t ever want to walk into that office again. Every time I see those people I seem to be more ill.
Instead I see the Special Ops surgeon. Ya, that’s more like it. James Bond style, that’s me. Special. The port will be put in first thing in the morning.
At 5am, John, my husband, and I, report to the surgical pavilion. Pavilion, like for picnics and concerts. Ya, that’s more like it. Except I am fully aware that this is not a celebration. I’m exhausted and anxious. I feel nauseous. When the nurse asks me the date of my last period, I lose it. She looks totally shocked as I lay in my hospital gown, weeping once again. Really? When we are told we have cancer, are we not supposed to cry? Why does everyone seem so surprised that I’m crying? Well, after some local anesthesia and anti-nausea meds, James Bond has inserted my medi-port.
Now, I physically hurt. My liver was biopsied and my chest now has a cyborg button under its skin. I’m exhausted. Really, just throw me under the bus, cuz I’m not wanting to do what comes next. But maybe being squished by a bus would be even worse.