Cancer #3: “I’m so sorry…”

August 5, 2015

The sonogram showed that there are 2 lymph nodes affected and I go in for a CT scan with IV contrast tomorrow. I’m scared but feeling positive. I’m so tired.  I have been tired since the beginning of last year. I sweat profusely, too.  Those are both symptoms.  I can’t believe it. I want to tell my kids, but it’s not fair to do it until I know more. I do not like the waiting.

August 6, 2015

I went to my CT scan at 10 and discovered I wasn’t supposed to be there until 2. The mix-up got me a little down, but I called my friend, Shelley, and she helped me regroup. She did tell me that everything I read was true, and this is not good. I just feel in my gut that this is really cancer. Hoping I’m wrong, though.

My greatest fear is that my kids will not be able to deal with this. They have worked so hard to overcome great and terrible things in their lives. I don’t want to burden them with one more shitty event to get through. The last and greatest person on my mind is Ken. It’s not fair to either of us to have found love and see it short lived. I want to be with him for years and years. I want to be 85 and him be 100. His love has lifted me. I thought love was not out there for me until him. He gives and gives without you even knowing he’s doing it. I have been such a burden to him already with my family issues and my health going up and my health going up and down like a roller coaster. Yet he is always beside me. I just hope I find out something soon.

Aug 11, 2015

Denise, my Primary Care Physician’s nurse, called and told me that the lump was not in the lymph nodes according to the CT scan. What a relief! My doctor wants to wait and watch it for a while. If it changes or anything, they might biopsy.

Aug 13. 2015

I began telling my friends the good news. I had shared what is going on with about five people. They each needed to know I’m okay. I received surprising reactions. Three of them, all nurses, said, “Get a second opinion!”. The others said that this didn’t make sense. All of a sudden, I’m freaking out! More reading on Google Scholar proved that I needed to do something.  Ken and I talked and he agreed. We made a plan to call the doctor and ask a lot more questions. I called Denise and left a message for her to call me back.

Aug 14, 2015

Denise called me today, and I asked what it means to watch this lump. Will I make appointments to come in every few weeks? How will I know if it gets bigger? It feels bigger already. I told her that it doesn’t make sense for the sonogram to show lymphadenopathy and the CT scan to show nothing. What should I do? She assured me that I was welcome anytime to come in, but the report clearly states no lymphadenopathy.

No bueno. I read that sonograms are extremely valuable in cancer detection. This is ridiculously wrong. I just know I need…. something.  I asked her who I could go to for a second opinion.  She said she would get the doctor to call me.

Aug 17, 2015

I called Denise again. She returned my call. We talk. She is sweet, but uninformative AGAIN. She invited me to call every day if I need anything. Calling her is not helping me! What should I do?

Aug. 18, 2015

On the way home from work today, I became proactive! I called the imaging center and asked if I could get my results. They said that would be fine since the doctor had already talked to me about them. I picked up the actual CT report from the imaging center, and sat in my car, alone, and opened it.

Oh My God! It is terrible. My hands are shaking. My heart is pounding. It appears that I have cancer!

I called the doctor, and made an appointment for Thursday at 2:45. The office was closed already, but the scheduler was still there. A week from today is the earliest they could get me in. I also asked for Denise to call me tomorrow. I am so upset. The report states that there are lymph nodes all over the place that are swollen. I’m seriously freaking out over this. I can’t sleep, and I’m angry. The only thing that makes sense is that my doctor must not have received all the pages of the report. It shows there were actually two separate CT scans. The chest CT WAS fine, but the neck one is messed up! There is even the possibility of a lymph node on my right side involved!

Aug 19, 2015

I am at work, and Dr. Norris’s nurse calls at 8:59 am. It is the last day of staff development, and I am on my home campus. Tomorrow and Friday, we get time to prepare our rooms and lessons for the new year. Will this be my last new year, I wonder?

I told the nurse I had picked up the report. I asked her to get her copy of it. I asked her how many pages hers has. The I explained that the report I am holding is three pages long. I read the results of the pages I held. She choked as she said that she only had 1 page. “Wanda, let me talk to Dr. Norris, and I’ll call you back. I promise I will not be long.”

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang while my principal introduced the new staff members. Denise said that Dr. Norris is leaving town at ten a.m. She promised to get the other two pages and put it in front of his face before he leaves.

At 10:07 she called again. She asked if I could come right away. She said he cancelled his trip for me. Out in the hall, my face is colorless, and my body trembled. It was my third incoming phone call that morning while at work. My principal walks toward me, does not notice my demeanor, and pauses to ask me some ridiculous question about a coworker who is upset with her. I said, “I’m leaving for an emergency doctor appointment.” I walk away without her asking any questions. It appears to me that she does not care about me. Maybe I am emotional and misjudged her affect.  

I pick up Ken at the house, and we wait in a room for Dr. Norris. He enters the room, looks at us, and says while still standing, “I am so sorry. This does not look good.” Both our eyes flood with tears as we talk with him.

I am signed up for a biopsy on Monday, and they did a Epstein Barr (mono) test today to rule that out. My CBC blood work is good, and that is a plus for me. I am really scared now, but at least we will know something definitive soon. Lump IS a bit bigger. A biopsy is scheduled for Monday, and then I will wait until Thursday for results. The waiting is a killer. Irony?

August 23, 2015

It’s Sunday, and I feel horrible. I cannot have any meds today because of the biopsy tomorrow. My body hurts, and I need my ibuprofen. I stayed in bed until 9:20, then I went back to bed about 12:30 and slept until 3:00. I’m so tired and I don’t want to think. I’m getting so depressed.

We brought the kids to the house this evening to tell them what is going on. They are terrified, but at least they will only wait four days. I have been waiting a month! They know that we will meet together Thursday evening and we will tell them if it really is cancer, or if it is not.

August 24, 2015

This is the first day of school for students. I took a half day off, so I wasn’t required to go to school, but I picked up my granddaughter, Peyton, and took her to school. She attends kindergarten at the school where I work. I did my 7:30 a.m. morning duty, and then helped some little Eaglets find their classroom. I left for the hospital at 8:30. Ken and I arrived at 9:15 and got into the room by 9:50. They had me lie on my side with a towel under my neck to make the biggest lump pop up. It was a bit uncomfortable, but it wasn’t horrible. They found the lump on sonogram and measured it at 3 centimeters. I asked why it was bigger and they said probably a difference in machine. (yeah, right. I’m not that stupid. These machines must be precise.) The doctor came in and began. I was facing the sonogram, so I watched the whole thing. He gave a numbing shot (tiny sting). Then he pinched my flesh (ouch!) and I felt a LOT of pressure. I guess the guide needle had to go through some tough tissue. I could see it on the monitor go into the lymph node. (No pain or anything now) He stuck a little needle inside the guide and I heard a snap. This was done six times, but they said one sample was not good. I could see it each time and hear them talking. I heard something about that there was no fatty hilum. When I asked what a hilum was, they said it was all sonogram talk. I let it go. The two lymph nodes were very round and big. The technicians also looked at the CT scan of the right side with the questionable lump there, and the doctor said, “Oh yeah. That’s a huge lymph node.”

I went back to work an hour early and finished my day wondering what the results would be. Now I wait until Thursday at 2:45 to hear the results. Time to tell the kids that something is going on so they won’t be hit out of the blue with cancer news.

August 26, 2015

Tomorrow is the day of results. I feel more and more reticent to go and hear it. I’ve been reading some more.

My node meets at least 8 of 12 categories for malignancy. I just need to get prepared for tomorrow. I just cannot imagine hearing the words; I do not want to deal with this, but I have to. I mean, who wants cancer? Being a realist I understand that 1 out of 3 people and 4 out of 5 families get cancer. I sure as hell cannot say, “Why me?”

I mean, “Why not me?” A year ago, I asked God to take me and let my granddaughter, Madyson live. I don’t go back on my word. If I have cancer, and I die, that is the agreement I made for Mady. She will live, and that is enough.

I cannot stop thinking about the results tomorrow. twenty-four more hours before we hear the results.

Published by Eclectra

"Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world - even if what is published is not true." Richard Bach, Illusions, p. 60

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