On Septmeber 6, 2013 I had my last chemo treatment.
I had been declared ‘cancer free’. We had the BEST party ever. The house was filled wall to wall with friends, family, food and booze. I got drunk and sober all in the same night. It was amazing.
We framed the before and after PET scans and hung them in the living room. Shit. I took them to work and was walking around with them like I had just won the championship belt. We made announcements. I started to plan my life after cancer.
I started looking into college; planning my future. The realization that I was going to have a normal life again. People stopped calling all the time. Every post I made on Facebook did not get 50+ likes. Most importantly, I was coming to terms with everything I had just been through.
But as it got closer to the PET scan, I started to develop a cough and the night sweats. I am NEVER hot. Rad Lad started to hear a wheezing. Still, we were both optimistic. There’s no way cancer can come back that quickly. The chemo was still in my system.
Saturday prior to the scan, I developed a sore throat. Sunday, I was full on coughing/losing my voice sick. Sunday evening I felt awful. Monday I called into work. I called my family doctor who saw me right away. She thought I had the flu. Gave me a Zpack and poked me out the door. By 7pm that night, I had a fever of 102 (My normal body temperature is 97.2). So we went to the ER but the wait was 2 hours. Instead I called my oncologist who told me that my immune system was back to normal levels. Take the day off tomorrow and continue with the PET scan in the morning. Take it easy…
So I get to my PET scan, do the scan.. but at the end the person runs the scan says something he has never said the last four times…”You see your doc this week right? He might call you before then to get you in but you see him this week, right?”. My mind is spinning but certainly, there’s no way it could have possibly come back this early. It’s been a week and a month.. I mean, really? The chemo is still in my system, right??
Friday comes, Radlad and I go to the doc. He comes in and sits down in front of me. (This is NEVER good news). He tells me the PET scan results came back and there are two masses.
I ask him to repeat. You’re shitting me right?
Two new masses in the bottom part of my lung. One of them is 1.5cm and the other is 3cm.
And I cry. And I shake.
It’s been less than a month??? What. The. FUCK.
Two masses. The chemo left my body and cancer decided to give it a whirl again. WTF. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!?!?
So he starts talking treatment options. I ask for a break. I need a moment to process what he’s just told me, And I’m sobbing, not because I am sad.. Instead I am ANGRY.
More chemo… and then bone marrow transplants.. something about Medical City Dallas..
I make him stop. I lost him somewhere around chemo. I’m not processing. I you could have felt my heart break somewhere around two more masses.
So I have a five minute meltdown. In the middle I ask about sushi. (Radlad and I had been planning a celebratory sushi night for that evening which I was scared was now off). Sushi is fine and he recommended a glass of wine or two. And then I begin to process again.
He’s already called ahead. I have an appointment on Monday for biopsy. It turns out the symptoms I was having were super important. He wants to make sure I have the same cancer… that I haven’t over achieved/leveled up to a new cancer. Then I mention the headaches I have been having with the loss of peripheral vision…. And now were are scheduling a MRI; just to make sure I haven’t REALLY leveled up. That’s scheduled for Tuesday.
And then I have an appointment with the bone marrow transplant person as well. They’ve taken the liberty to go ahead and schedule these appointments.
Not scary at all. Fucking terrifying, actually.
So more chemo. Check.
Bone Marrow transplants. Check.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP??
Right now I do not need donors. They will be using my own since it will have less chance of rejection. I will be in the hospital. I will need visitors.
Radlad will need someone to talk/vent to.
And yes, I am going to start up the donation site again. I don’t want to, I really don’t. But I will need the help.
And when it gets time, I will ask for physical help: going to the doctor with me, taking me here or there, hanging out with me.