So, now it's Murphy - 1 and me - 1, if we're keeping score. When it comes to this illness, I guess it's a good thing that there's a score to keep, right?
I share this with you, with the whole wide world, on this blog because 1.) it fits the name of the blog (whoda thought I'd be foreseeing the future when I started it so many years ago?) and 2.) I need to write it out, get it out of my system to keep my shit together about it all. It seems that might not be such a popular thing to do as Robert Kessler has found out by blogging his experiences with stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It's good to see that he's gained a few points up on Murphy, despite what naysayers might say about sharing his experiences with the cancer. Heh.
The image above is of a CT scan. It's not my particular scan, just one I found on the Internet that shows a few of the things that I have going on inside my guts. To give you an anchor, those bright white, oval shaped things around the outside of the scan are ribs. The not as dense white blob on the left is showing fluid, and the blob next to that falling on the right side is a soft tissue mass. Now, I could be wrong, but let's just say that I'm not so that you get an idea of what I was looking at when I saw my scan results on the computer screen on Thursday.
I have the fluid build-up, a large amount of fluid collecting on the front of me so that I look like I'm about 8 months pregnant. The soft tissue growth is growing from the head of the pancreas and wrapping itself in and out of everything in its path. It is now playing around with my small and large intestines. Still, no absolute sign of cancer, though there are now, suddenly, suspect spots on my lungs. So, the next steps in the plan is draining that fluid off and taking a biopsy of one of the lung spots. (No, I wouldn't be surprised if I had lung cancer - I've smoked most of my life and yes, I've started smoking electronic cigarettes as a first step in quitting.)
I don't know what to think or feel at this stage. Nothing is for sure yet. There was quite a delay in seeing the doctor, so by the time Tim and I left the hospital, it was dark. Driving in the dark is not one of my favorite things to do, so I was a bundle of nerves when, almost to my home exit, the car lost power. It gave me a chance to get off the highway on well over on the shoulder, and when other cars passed by, I could see why: The car had overheated and steam was billowing out from under the hood like a tsunami. I had the car towed home Friday and looked at today. So far, it looks like I didn't blow the engine, though I have no idea how extensive the problem is. No big deal, but Murphy won this round. No doubt about it.
It's my fault. I take full responsibility. I forgot to dedicate the day's outing to helping someone that needed it. Go ahead and enjoy, ol' Murphy. If I'm smart, I won't make that mistake again. Heh.
Murphy's Law: If something can go wrong, it will. That's been my luck in both small and big things; inconsequential and monstrously important. For the majority of my life, Murphy and I have been close. It's been the norm, and I was used to it. I adopted a positive attitude anyway. I might as well. I can't dance, but I sure made the music along the way.
But somehow, someway, that all changed in the past year or so. I don't know how or why, but no matter what I do, even if I engage in my usual self-sabotaging behaviors, things have worked out anyway. It's so bizarre to have things work out, and work out better than I could hope for, and even though there's no way that they should work out.
Yellowed pages stained by cigarette smoke, broken spine from laying open face down, curled corners and smudged fingerprints throughout, the book settled into my hand for reading just as I settled in most nights; alone, in bed, curled up to wait for sleep to come.
Reading along, the book made no sense. It wasn't poetry, it wasn't a story; just a few paragraphs per thought, I suppose, and none seemed connected. I supposed that this, what I was reading, was what was called "prose," though I couldn't be sure. Seventeen or 18 pages in, I turned the page:
The opposing page was blank. I turned the page to find another blank page, and on the opposing page was:
In that moment, reading those few pages, everything changed. Everything. The world changed, life changed, I changed. I wasn't confused, frightened, afraid, happy or sad; I was just changed. The veil was dropped, my eyes opened, and from that moment, that profoundly blank moment, I began. I began to live.
It was a moment of waking up, of discovery, of discovering that there was truth and discovering that truth had to be discovered. And that was beautiful. And beauty was everywhere. Beauty was everything. All you needed to do was blow the dust off, dig it out and open your eyes to see it. Beauty was everywhere and everything. Without beauty, there is only
It is amazing the hoops your mind can put you through. I was terrified of the July surgery, scared shitless to be in such a dependent position again. And, that is the key to the whole thing. Last year's in-patient hospital experience was horrible, and I wasn't able to get beyond that. But, this time, there were a lot of people that stepped up to the plate and showed me just how wonderful people actually are.
Countdown: 6 days until surgery, and I am scared shitless.
What's behind this feeling of terror is one of those things I can't really do anything about; or at least not more than I've already done. What "thing" is that? The time-worn, good-'ol worry about money. God, I hate money. Obviously, it hates me too.
I'm concerned about Tim and what he'll have to carry while I am completely down and out again. Me, I'll be in La La Land for most of it, so that's no big deal. But, he'll have to drive back and forth to Little Rock from Searcy, he'll have to grab food on the go, sleep when he can and basically dive into a not-so-healthy way of life for awhile. I worry that after taking care of so much for over a year now that this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. If he runs out of money, he just might break.
I've planned as much as I can, put things in place to help as much as I can, like tkomorphoto. I was thrilled, amazed, honored and flummoxed when it seemed to take off right out of the chute. But then, it came to a screeching halt. I have to learn and hone some marketing skills, get the word out somehow. I am so afraid Tim won't have enough money to make it through my hospitalization that this has to happen. Somehow.
But, what good can I be if I can't even bat down the anxiety over what to pack to bring to the hospital? Sad, but true. The more I can't figure out the simple things, the more I feel like that river is going to start spinning a vortex to suck me right down. It's a terrifying feeling.
So, 6 days left to wait... and worry.
Hiccup, belch, hiccup.
Time to eat. But, I don't want to. To eat means to bring on, within minutes, the stabbing, debilitating pain in my guts that comes from attempting to nourish this ol' body. I time eating with taking a pain pill in hopes to minimize the discomfort; but it takes an hour for the pain pills to kick in.
The beginning of an end? I hope so.
After my last post about my gut issues, I felt that things had maybe stabilized a bit and I was feeling better. I regained some strength and was able to get up and about and start living again. I had to be careful of some things, like being sure I was within a close vicinity of a bathroom at all times and I had to eat when my body demanded it, but things were looking up. Almost. I kept losing weight, and a lot of it.