Sept 9, 2015
I left work again today to meet my surgeon, Dr McNeir. Of course, it did not feel warm, nor fuzzy when I announced I had another appointment. I don’t think asking for some compassion is wrong. My boss is kind of cold.
The surgeon seemed personable and scheduled my lymphectomy on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. I drove to the hospital to pre-register. Finishing around 1:15, I ate lunch outside on the hospital balcony alone. The warmth of the sun felt good on my body. I feel overwhelmed. Too much weighs on my heart. I’m exhausted with all the information and things to do, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. What else do people do? How do they get through this? I don’t know any other way to go than forward. I’ve been tough. I’ve kept a positive outlook. I really do think it will be okay, but I want to sit down on the floor and bawl my eyes out. I wonder if I can find someone who understands. Where would I start to look?
I went back to work at 2:00p.m. and worked until 3:10p.m. I took Peyton, my granddaughter home to her daddy, and met Jesse, a dear friend, for a beer. I love that guy. We talked about other stuff, and it was great. I talked to Tina, my daughter, tonight on the phone. I kind of tested the waters to see if she could handle me feeling a bit broken. She gave me strength as she reached out to comfort me.
I wrote a new email to my school and close friends in an attempt to uplift myself: “Thank you all once again for your kind comments. Ya’ll are very edifying with your positive attitudes. Of course, here at the “Ridge”, we know miracles happen everyday. I appreciate all the love, hugs, smiles, waves of affirmation, and such. Do not ever think that your uplifting words and deeds are insignificant. You just never know how overwhelmed and broken another feels.”
Sept. 14, 2015
Medical bills are coming in by the dozens, and I am a wreck. I do not believe I can handle the stress of keeping up with this mess. Normally, I am a wizard with bills, finances, and everything. I crying now because I cannot afford cancer. What am I going to do? I’ve missed work four days of twelve . It is only going to get worse. Ken and I need to take steps to protect our assets. I’m going to suggest getting a divorce so no judgments can go against him if I cannot pay. I can sign a rental agreement with him for a room in the house.
To top that off, I have a post-op infection in my shoulder. Great! Also, some damn person I don’t know called me tonight. He was from a church I stopped attending six years ago. Someone there heard about my cancer and decided I needed to be a service project. Can’t they just leave me the hell alone! I will curl up with my Kenny and cry.
Sept 15, 2015
I am on the floor in my closet weeping. I have so much to think about. I’m so damn independent that I refuse to talk about my problems with others. I know Ken is just as scared and worried as me, and I don’t want him to know how afraid I am. Money owed, future cancer treatment costs, insurance, lost time at work… It’s all too much right now!
Sept 21, 2015
I’ve had to sit back and take a deep breath. Bills are just going to have to be put aside for reevaluation later. I’ve already put so much on my credit card that the bills that will allow me to wait are going to have to wait. The bills that won’t allow me to wait will just wait, too.
Sept. 23, 2015
I talked to the oncologist’s assistant yesterday. She didn’t get my pathology report, but called to have it faxed over. If it’s good, she said I might start my treatments tomorrow. I’m kind of excited about that, and a super nervous. Not knowing how the infusions will affect me is a new worry. I’m just going to hope my experience is not too bad. I can’t miss work Friday because I’m sick from the medicine they pumped in me on Thursday. The first infusion is six hours. The listed side effects possible include the following:
- Rigors – The sudden attack of severe shivering accompanied by a feeling of coldness (‘the chills’) is called a rigor and is associated often with a marked rise in body temperature. It may be described by patients as an attack of uncontrollable shaking.
- TLS (tumor lysis syndrome)—has occurred in patients using Rituxan to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is caused by cancer cells breaking down and can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment or cause abnormal heart rhythm
- Serious infections—these can happen during and after treatment and can be fatal. During clinical trials, 2% of people taking Rituxan developed serious infections
- Heart problems—Rituxan may cause chest pain and irregular heartbeat. Your doctor or healthcare team may provide treatment or decide to stop treating with Rituxan if you experience these symptoms
- Kidney problems—especially if you are taking it for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Your doctor should do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working
- Stomach and serious bowel problems that can sometimes be fatal—tell your doctor right away if you have any stomach area pain during treatment with Rituxan
- Changes in blood cell counts—during treatment with Rituxan, your doctor or healthcare team should do regular blood tests to monitor your blood cell counts.
Sept. 24, 2015
No treatment. The pathology is not done, yet.
September 28, 2015
Finally! I start treatment day after tomorrow. I’m trying to getting psyched up because I know nothing. For example, will I get the treatment Dr. Esler wanted for me? Is the cancer the kind he suspected? I see him right before the treatment. My shoulder and part of my neck is still numb from my surgery. It is very annoying and I wish the feeling back would come back quickly. They said it could take two years, and I might not get it all back. There are lots of unknowns. I have not experienced anger towards cancer, yet. Right now, it does not feel as if anything has really changed except for a zillion bills and too much work missed.
I have so many friends praying for me and loving me. Work friends always let me know they are thinking of me. They’ve been emailing from other schools as well. All my personal friends text me all the time, or call. It’s terrific to have the support.