19 Lousy Days

First, a sincere and intense thank you to each and every person who commented, texted, emailed, called, carrier pigeon-ed and smoke signaled me following my last blog.  I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant to me.

After spending the better part of the past few weeks crying, rocking in the corner, sucking my thumb, picking at my face like a teenager, wondering if my hair – with whom I have an absurd love/hate relationship – was going to fall out, and feeling like a tether ball that broke free of its rope, I have some news to report.

Last night I got a call from Dr. Z.  He started out with,

“I have never seen this before and I am still shocked”

This was around the time I realized that whatever he was about to say was either going to be totally horrible or unbelievably fabulous…

”It came back benign!” 

The few still-firing brain synapses that I have started to short circuit;  Had I imagined his having told me it was bladder cancer??  Did I know that this was even a possibility??  (He did.  I didn’t.)  I still need to be followed closely as these little fuckers tend to come back and sometimes when they do, they aren’t so benign any more.  Regardless, allow me to shout a big old PHEW.

dodged-a-bullet

With a hearty good riddance to the first 19 days of 2018…let’s all commence to some weekending!

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Cancer & Lymph Nodes & Coffee, Oh My

Remember me?  I used to write a blog fairly regularly.

But just as I was feeling some closure (sort of) and relief (sort of) and chance to catch my breath (sort of) my life (once again) became topsy -turvy, off- kilter, askew, curve-balled and all together spastic.  Here’s a quick summary of the past couple of months.

Mid November:

Felt like poop. Went to doc.  Wound up at the ER. Cardio catherization. No major blockages, lots of little tiny ones.

Diagnosis: Microvascular Disease.

Treatment: Drugs.  For the rest of my damn life.

Early December:

Felt like doody with symptoms of yet another urinary tract infection (third in as many months).  Quick test sort of showed UTI, culture really showed blood.  Lots of it.  That’s not good.  Time for a urologist.

Diagnosis: Unclear

Treatment: See diagnosis

Mid December:

Sweet talked my way into an appointment sooner than the end of January.  Scheduled for a CT scan just before appointment.  Met with doc who, prior to doing a cystoscopy, shared an “incidental finding” on the CT scan – a 9 mm nodule just under the spot where, should I still have it, my right breast would be.  Huge WTF moment.

With the cystoscope (see pic below…looks like fun, huh?) he pokes around and utters  “looks okay”…until the very end: three little fronds.

cystoscope

 Diagnosis: Bladder Cancer

Treatment: Surgical removal (snip snip snip) of the fronds (which look like little trees but are actually cancer) and, given what he has seen thus with his handy dandy camera that went places no camera should ever go, that should be the beginning, middle and end of it.  But, will be followed for the rest of my damn life.

But, wait!  Remember that “incidental finding”?  Well, I didn’t.  I called my oncologist’s office and was given an appointment for the middle of January.  Yeah, no, that is not going to work for me.  Like at all.  I emailed the doc directly (love him) and he got me in the following week.  (I showed my appreciation by bringing him and his assistant each a freshly baked batch of my fabulous granola. If you are nice to me, you might be on the receiving end one day.  It’s pretty much the only thing I bake that is consistently outstanding.)  (I’m not much of a cook.) (But I can write.)

I spent most of the day at DFCI first having an ultrasound followed by a three hour wait for my afternoon appointment.  That was fun.  Oh, wait, no it really wasn’t.

Diagnosis: Stupid lymph node. Phew!

Treatment: Big glass of wine to celebrate.  Oh, and some reimaging in three months..just to be sure.

bigwine

******

As if all this wasn’t enough and during a time some extra support would have been swell, one woman in the group I wrote about here decided I was no longer welcome: ousted, kicked out, stomped on, exiled, removed.  What began as a minor disagreement -for which I repeatedly owned my role – took on a life of its own.  Proof: one morning, having thought a little spat had found its place in history,  I approached the table and put my coffee down so I could remove my coat.  As I did this, she stood, told me (and by told I mean barked) that I was not allowed to sit there.  Incredulous, I asked her if she was serious. (She was.) Um, what? (I might have asked her if she owned the place…) Of equal upset was the radio silence from the other women.  I like to assume that they were all so dumfounded, horrified and disgusted by what was happening that they lost their ability to speak, but I am not sure that is the case.

This, my friends (my actual true ones, that is) is nothing short of bullying.  I have never been subjected to anything like it.  I have certainly never treated anyone else that way.  And, ironically enough: my initial, and apparently unforgivable, infraction was defending a third woman when the bully-lady went after her about something.  Seriously, that was all I did.  (Note: as this continued to escalate I began to think that I must have done something else, I had to have, right?  Nope…)

Not gonna lie: this stung.  And when it stopped stinging: it infuriated me.  And when the anger stopped: I was still angry.

Shortly after this watershed disagreement, I sent a thoughtful email apologizing for my role in what had gone down.  She waited three days and responded only with a “thanks for your note.”  Um, okay.  However, once she was told of my recent maladies she emailed me expressing her “sincere” (aside: if you have to say you are being sincere perhaps you are not really being all that sincere) concern for my health and I, quite mistakenly, assumed we were officially moving on.

My response:

Thank you.

 As much as I love “The Real Housewives” this whole thing was feeling more and more like a story line dragged on way too long for the sake of ratings. 

 I again apologize for the role I played in all of this and hope that we can do a reset to the way things used to be.

 Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and drama free year ahead.

 And hers:

I want you to know that I am sincere in my good wishes for you.

 At this point though, I don’t think that we can do a reset and go back to the way things used to be. 

Translation: You are no longer welcome to sit at a table when I am holding court.

Conclusion: Don’t worry…I won’t.

If I have said it once I have said it a billion times: women have to be kind to one another.  We all come to the table (both figuratively and literally) with our own history, fears, vulnerabilities, dreams, insecurities, hopes, opinions, strengths and weaknesses.  Everyone needs and, more perhaps more importantly, deserves to feel supported and safe.  Women who are not kind to one another confuse me.  People who assume and then abuse their perceived power – yeah, don’t get them either.

I thought a lot about whether or not to post, let alone write, about any of this – the medical or the otherwise. I am not looking for sympathy or even empathy…rather I am taking advantage of my audience to remind everyone that you can be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian, just don’t be an asshole.