Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Friday the 13th
Most people consider the number 13 to be unlucky; especially if it lands on a Friday. Personally, I've never been very superstitious about the number. If anything, it's a lucky one for me. Justin was born on the 13th of March and it was a pretty amazing day! Since then I've played the number 13 in Roulette and any of the large jackpot lotteries because I don't normally fear the negative power of the 13.
This week has become an exception.
I know my last post had a pretty morbid tone, and I really try not to be such a downer twice in a row, but I can't change the realities of my life just to make a happier story. As I'd mentioned last time, I was having some lower-region pain that was seemingly disappearing. While the aching has all but stopped, a nagging fatigue like I've never felt has come over my body. It's not a typical, "gee, I really need to get more sleep," feeling. It's almost as if my head and chest are being weighed down by rocks and I just need to rest. It's not all the time, but it happens enough that I'm forced to take notice. A few weeks of that went on before the cough started. Most normal people consider a cough in the winter to be pretty benign. Not a "surviver" of Small Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the Cervix. Nope, we consider a cough to be the first sign of lung metastases.
So what do I do?
My last CT scan was at the beginning of September. I would normally be seen every three months for a checkup, which would bring us to December, right? Technically, yes, but my doctor agreed to push it to the first week of January to allow me to enjoy the holidays. Enjoy the holidays. Ha! Hard to enjoy anything with a scan looming around the corner. But, anyway, it may not seem like three months after a clear scan is long enough for cancer to take over your entire body, but from someone who has seen it happen to my friends over and over again, trust me, it is. And now we're pushing it back another month, which makes it all even more scary. Add my new symptoms and a growing list of support group friends who've gotten recurrences, spreading or the evil doctor death sentence lately, and you might understand a fraction of my anxiety.
I decided (actually, my mom lovingly urged me) to call my favorite oncology nurse, Nurse L, and explain my symptoms, which I did. She tried to put my mind at ease, "It's the holiday season, you're running around, you're cooking, you're having a baby! Your mind is in a million places right now. Of COURSE you're tired!" I wasn't convinced, "What about the cough?" She had a logical explanation, "It's winter. Everyone is coughing." That definitely would make sense for normal people, but I just couldn't accept it. "Why don't I talk to Dr. L and see what he thinks," Nurse L said, "I'll call you back."
While I waited I tried to talk myself off the ledge. She's right. I'm not getting enough sleep, so that could explain the lethargy. Also, it's winter and I have asthma. I always cough when the seasons change or when it gets colder. But this is a weird cough. It only happens when I laugh too much.
"Hi, it's Nurse L," she said when I picked up the phone. "Dr. L said he'll move the scan if you think it'll make you feel better." I laughed dryly, "It'll only make me feel better if I'll get good news." In the end, I decided it would be best for my metal state to know what's going on, rather than wait another four weeks to find out. "Can we do it this week?" I asked a bit desperately. "Jimmi and I are going to Minnesota for the big anatomy ultrasound next week and then it's Christmas. I know he's only in the New Jersey office on Fridays, so I'm sure that makes it more difficult." She replied, "You don't have to see him. We can call you with results." I knew that was true, but I wanted him to examine me, "I know. I just figured I could have my internal at the same time and get it all out of the way in one shot." She was very understanding, "I'll start working on it now and call you back as soon as I can."
I hung up the phone, not knowing if I felt better or worse. Of course, if the news is good, I'll be able to completely focus on our trip to see Lyndsay and her Baby A bump next week then totally enjoy Christmas the following week. But, if the news is bad, everything will be ruined. Everything will change. I don't even want to think about the disaster my life would become and what it would do to everyone around me. The scheduling nurse called me back rather quickly, "Hi Suzanne, we were able to fit you in for your CT scan on Friday at ten-twenty. You'll see Dr. L immediately following for your exam and results."
And that's where it stands. This Friday - Friday, the 13th - will either save my sanity for another three months or completely slash it apart like a psycho serial killer in a hockey mask.