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I’m not exaggerating here when I say that since June, things have been so tight financially around here its not even funny.  We were scraping by, getting the needs met and sometimes having a little extra for something nice.  Then over the summer, we got underwater when we helped some family out, and we haven’t been able to get our heads back above water ever since.  There’s nothing extra…nothing.  I haven’t been able to get my hair cut since the summer because the money just isn’t there.  Renting a movie and ordering a pizza once a month are pretty much the only extras we’ve been able to do.  My mounting medical costs are not helping matters at all either.  The hospital wants me to pay more money when I go now…no longer just the copay, but fees the “new” insurance plan doesn’t cover either.  The money just isn’t there.

Justin decided to round up our cows today (we only have a few), and is going to take them to the stockyard Monday to sell.  We’re that desperate for cash right now.  We would get $3-400 if we’re lucky for the lot.  Out of the blue, a young man shows up knocking on my door, wanting to buy Justin’s old truck that has been sitting in the yard for a couple years due to something electrical we can’t quite get figured out.  He offered $300 cash.  We wouldn’t be able to get that at the scrap yard.  SOLD.  I’m not sure yet if Justin is going to go ahead and sell the cows, or wait now, but either way…when we least expect it, God will provide.

I have to say, its a little bittersweet.  This is the truck Justin was driving when we met and started dating…I have many fond memories in that truck…my favorite date was to Vicksburg, to the Civil War Cemetery there, and it was such a wonderful day…”I love you” was said for the first time that day.  It may be 16 years old, but it was a good, solid little truck.  I can’t watch it leave…I’m sentimental that way.

God is Great.

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Really trying to stay positive, but every little thing that goes wrong really sends my mind whirling. For instance, I passed out yesterday…first time in a long while. I’ve been having dizzy spells for months. This morning I fell again…didn’t lose consciousness, but it was a close thing…lot of roaring in my ears, felt hot and flushed all over, massive headache out of the blue, dizzy and gray around the edges of my vision. After I got up off the floor, I was real wobbly on my way to my recliner. I hadn’t had a full meal yet, but was in the process of eating when I went to my room to get my glasses. I fell on my way back. So I sit here, trying to figure out why I’m having trouble staying on my feet. I checked my blood sugar…yesterday it was a little high when I fell, but my test strips were over a year out of date, so I’m not sure exactly what it was. Justin brought me some new strips last night, and about 3 hours after eating, it was 211. Not bad. When I fell today, I tested it about 20 minutes later, and it wasn’t bad at all…183 and that was during my meal. Now, over an hour later, its 111. Totally normal.

So of course, my next thought is, could this be the tumor?  When I saw Dr. C a couple weeks ago, he said that it was almost completely blocking my inferior vena cava, if not blocking it completely.  He said it was hard to tell for sure on the imaging, but that the size of it indicated it could be blocking it.  He said the veins around the inferior cava were all enlarged, compensating for blood flow.  When I start passing out, it makes me wonder if those veins can’t handle the load.  It makes me wonder is that tumor growing?  It makes me wonder if it can come loose and start traveling up the vena cava.  My mind will NOT stop.  I keep telling myself its fine, its just stress, etc etc but my stupid mind won’t listen to me.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night…a lot of things going on here in the home that just stresses us all out.  Everyone is reacting to the upcoming surgery a little different…Dr. C really stressed how dangerous the surgery is, and explained that its a surgery they’ve never really done before, so they’re basically going to cut me open and wing it.  I have complete confidence in him, but its a little stressful.  I’m having to take more pain pills to sleep, and that bothers me too.  Everyone thinks I’m so strong and handling this all really well, especially because I haven’t cried about the surgery and the possibility of dying yet.  I’ve cried, but its mainly frustrated crying when I’m in a lot of pain, or can’t do something I feel like I should be able to do, that kind of thing.  But as far as accepting the reality of this new tumor and its location and the difficulties in getting it OUT…I don’t know, I guess I’m just numb to it all.  Its almost like I don’t even care at times.  I keep asking myself “why me?”  Seriously…I know that God won’t give us more than we can bear, but honestly Lord, I think I’ve had more than my share.  Sure, there are people out there who’ve had it much worse, and I try to empathize with them, but I’m so sick of this roller coaster ride I call my life.  When things start to go well again, suddenly there’s a new twist, bend, loop, etc.  I’m tired, so very tired of it all.  I told my friend that I felt like death would be a relief, but I don’t know how sincere I was.  There are times when I truly feel it would be a relief just to drift away and not be in pain anymore, but there are other times that I WANT to be here, no matter the disabilities and curve balls life keeps throwing my way.  I want to see my children grow up and be happy and successful.  I want to grow old with my husband.  I don’t want to miss a thing.

And yeah, I have a call in to the doctor about the passing out and falling.  I almost didn’t call, because I don’t want them to think I’m freaking out about every little thing, but the falling bugs me.

How do people who have the worst parts of cancer…the chemo, the radiation, etc, deal with this?  I don’t want to know…and I feel selfish for that thought but its true.  I have to deal with the pain and discomfort and other physical things, but honestly, if I had to deal with chemo or radiation, no one would say I was strong, because I would be in tears all the time.

Ten days…I have ten days to go, and it can’t come soon enough.

15 Days and Counting

I know I haven’t updated the blog…its been too difficult to sit still and focus.  On the one hand, I’ve got so much to get done before surgery…on the other, I don’t WANT to do any of it…as if it will delay the inevitable.

The board of doctors finally decided that they want to do the surgery.  The oncologists were the lone holdouts, because this tumor hasn’t been diagnosed as malignant, and won’t be until its biopsied.  However, a needle biopsy could do more harm than good…IF the tumor is encapsulated (all but one of my tumors have been), a needle puncturing it could release cancer cells into my blood stream, which I don’t have to tell you would be a bad thing.  Even if its not encapsulated, that wouldn’t be good.  Its almost completely blocking the inferior vena cava, so regardless of whether its cancerous or not, it has to come out.  The problem, as Dr. C explained it, is that this is a first for them.  The size and location present problems that they’ve never had to deal with.  He explained that instead of having Plan A and Plan B, they need to go in with Plans A, B, C, D, E, etc.  So much can go wrong on the table.

I asked him what was wrong with me, because I’m not terrified.  I told him I’m more worried about the painful recovery than the possibility of not waking up from the surgery.  He laughed a little, and said that I might be a little numb to it all because for me, its just another surgery, that I’ve been dealing with it so long, been sick for so long, that its hard to put it into perspective.  I suppose he’s right.  Still, I look at everyone freaking out around me, and wonder what the heck is wrong with me because I’m just rather blase’ about it all.  I know from experience that about 30 minutes before the surgery, I will get anxious and nervous, but for right now, I’m more laid back about it.

My surgery is scheduled for November 26th.  I have to be there at 5:00 a.m.  All three of the kids are going to miss school to go…they want to be there until its over, however it may turn out.  I’ve decided that they can be…if they go to school, they’d be pulling them out of class to tell them I was in recovery and ok, or heaven forbid, to tell them I’d died…either way, when they get called out of class to find out, they’d be worrying themselves to death, so I think its best that they be with family, whether it be good news or bad.

It still bothers me that my status as a cancer patient knocks me off the organ transplant option.  Even with a family member willing to donate, they won’t do it because the cancer makes me a bad risk.  The problem is, my cancer isn’t that huge a deal…when its metastasized, its been small tumors that they caught quickly and removed.  Its not a situation where its spread and I’m sick from chemo or radiation.  The only organ impacted has been my liver, and its healthy as can be, and had no recurrence of tumors at all in over six years.  I did have a tumor on my right adrenal gland last year, and it and the gland were removed, but my right kidney itself was fine.  I guess I’m a little biased, but I don’t see that I’m a bad risk for a transplant if the blood loss during this surgery stuns my liver or kidneys to the extent they don’t “come back” after the blood flow is reestablished.

People look at me, and they don’t see that I’m this sick.  Other than the protruding belly and the liver spots on my face, I look good.  When I wear makeup and cover up the spots, I look REAL good.  I get around fairly well most days, and I don’t sound weak or anything unless I’m having a really bad day.  If it weren’t for Dr. C, they probably wouldn’t have caught this for that reason alone…I don’t “look” sick, so I must be fine.  Dr. C has been with me every step of the way over these past six and a half years though, and knows my history, so he’s stayed on top of things.

I’m not afraid, not yet.  I’m not even really all that concerned.  Maybe its blissful ignorance, but I’ll take it.  I do get stressed out, thinking about the recovery.  I know from experience how painful its going to be, and Dr. C telling me this will be my worst surgery yet doesn’t ease my mind much.  He stressed again at our last appointment that they may have to crack my chest…that until they get in and see where everything is situated, scar tissue is, and the ease of access, they just won’t know.  I”m not a really tall person…I’m only 5’6″, but my height is in my legs.  I have a very short torso…another thing that may make them crack my chest.  Ugh.  I’ve seen Dad and friends recover from heart bypass surgeries…it looked really painful.  I do NOT want to go there.

I’m doing a lot of praying, but I feel hypocritical about it.  Why do we pray so hard when we face something that might kill us?  I pray all the time, sure, but I don’t think its as ernestly as I’ve been praying the past couple weeks.  I don’t really know what to pray for.  “God, please heal me” seems so shallow and self-serving.  Asking Him to see me through this trial also seems selfish.  The truth is, I’ve forgotten how to pray for myself.  I’m very self-conscious and always feel like everything I’m saying is for affect, and not sincere.  Then when I start over, trying to be more sincere, I feel like I’m not fooling anyone.  My mind never stops, it never lets me have any peace, but constantly fills me with self-doubt and loathing.  I’m trying to place it all in God’s hands, but letting go of that control is a very difficult thing to do.

I don’t understand why these things keep happening to me.  I made a lot of mistakes in my younger days, true, but do those mistakes warrant this?  Its been one thing after another, ever since 2006.  It just never stops…I never get any peace.   I don’t know what its like to just relax…my brain is always working overtime, I’m always stressed and worrying about something.

This is one reason I haven’t updated my blog.  I feel like I’m constantly whining or complaining.  I feel like maybe I’m talking about it too much, making myself the center of attention too much.  Boy, those “friends” several years ago really did a number on me…when I worry about whether to update about my health and ask for prayers or not because it might make me look like an attention-seeking drama queen, even though I KNOW that I really do need those prayers…well, it just sucks.  I shouldn’t care anymore, but for some reason, its something that I can’t seem to let go of.  Yet another thing I need to pray about, if only I could find the right words.

So that’s it…this is where I am right now.  Where I’ll be in a couple weeks…I guess we’ll see.

To cut to the chase, my cancer has returned.  I have a large tumor in my vena cava, the large artery that goes into the heart.  They’re going to try to remove it surgically, but because of the size and location, it might not be possible.  My previous surgeries have complicated things…and clamping the vena cava to remove the tumor could cause liver and kidney failure.  The kidney isn’t such a huge deal because I have two of them…they might have to remove one if they can’t get it to come back when they release the clamps.  However the liver is a big deal, because if it fails, I’m no longer a candidate for transplant because of the cancer.  If it fails, basically I won’t wake up.  They’re going to try to go in through my chevron scar on my abdomen, but might end up having to crack my chest.

If they get in there and can’t remove the tumor without killing me, they’ll close me up and I’ll recover from that surgery.  There is a chemo-type drug they can give me that will slow the progression of the tumor, but won’t kill the cancer…it will just give me a little more time.  Regular chemo and radiation therapies won’t work because with this type of Hepatacellular Carcinoma, it doesn’t respond to those treatments.

Justin asked him what would happen if we did nothing.  I didn’t ask that because I’d already figured it out and didn’t really want to hear the answer anyway.  Dr. C said that if we did nothing, the tumor would continue to grow, until the vena cava is completely clogged…then I’d start having organ failure, and eventually die.  He couldn’t give us a time frame because they don’t know how fast the tumor is growing.  The tumor could spread to other areas and organs.  The time frame to operate, he feels, is relatively short.

When he asked what I want to do, I told him I want it out.  I understand the risks…basically its a risk I’ve understood for every surgery they’ve knocked me out for…but this time there’s a real possibility I might not wake up.  They have to clamp the vena cava in two places to remove the tumor and that part of the artery, and replace it with man-made tubing or whatever…to be honest my brain was processing so much at that time I forget what he called it.  The only places they can clamp it “safely” are right on the margins of the tumor…and he doesn’t know until he gets in there if he’ll have room to cut if he clamps there.  They can clamp a little lower and a little higher, but that presents even more problems in regards to blood flow.  The liver has three veins…one of mine is missing from when they took 80% of my liver in 2006.  The other two will be cut off during the clamping if they have to clamp lower than they’re hoping, so liver failure is a real risk.  The scar tissue from the multiple surgeries is pretty bad…he described it as a large pack of tissue…and my intestine is looped up and attached to my deformed liver (it works fine, but it looks pretty funny because of the way it regrew).  Both of those things present a problem as far as easy access.  He doesn’t want to crack my chest open if at all possible, but until I’m on the table and they start cutting and poking around, they just won’t know what they’re looking at.

They also might lose one of my kidneys…I couldn’t really tell from his rough drawing which one…but now that I think of it, I think its the left one…meaning I’d lose both adrenal glands too because they removed the right adrenal gland last fall.  Kidney failure is also a possibility from the vena cava being clamped, but they’re not too worried about that if it happens…I suppose because of dialysis and such.  He’s most concerned about my liver and heart.

I’ve never seen Dr. C so serious and reticent about giving information.   He didn’t joke around with me much, and we usually get him to crack up at least once every time we see him.  I know I should be stressing out and freaking out, but I’m not.  Maybe its still too new…shock…but I honestly feel like things are gonna be ok.  Everyone has cried but me…something has got to be wrong with me LOL.  Well, Bekah hasn’t cried, but she doesn’t know the seriousness yet.

Jared and Katie took the news really hard…they both cried before the football game last night.  We told Bekah I had to have another surgery, a really bad one, and she got the “freaked out” look on her face that she gets (its mostly acting), then asked us something about Christmas.  Aspergers sucks sometimes.  We’ll have another, more serious talk with her (if we can) before the surgery.

I need to scrape up the money to get to Arkansas and make peace with Dad.  I want to look him in the eyes to see if he truly is sorry and has learned anything, or if he’s just saying the right words.  If he’s just saying what he thinks I need to hear, I’m done.  It may seem harsh, but I’ve tried with him so hard for the past several years…and right now, I have to focus on my kids, my health, my family.  I want to give him the chance though, just in case I don’t make it out of the surgery.  That’s the type person I am.

I also need to work on letting go of a lot of bitterness I’ve been carrying towards others for the past four years.  What happened when I was carrying Ruby was awful and shouldn’t have happened, but I also have to accept some of the responsibility for it.  I let it happen, and I handled it poorly.  I took a lot more blame than I should have, because I was trying my best to smooth things over and keep the peace…when I realized that wasn’t working and probably would never work with those particular people, I blew up and overreacted…that didn’t help my position very much at all.  The stress just got to me, and I let myself down with the way I did things.  I have to forgive them, and more importantly, I have GOT to find a way to forgive myself.

I’m a Christian, but I’m not where I need to be with the Lord.  I’ve had a really rough past couple of years…my faith has been questioned and I’ve said/done some things I’m not proud of.  I don’t feel worthy to ask God for anything anymore.  I prayed so much when I was carrying Ruby and after she died…I had a really strong faith.  I don’t have that anymore…I know God is still there, but I’m no longer sure how to talk to him.  I did a good bit of praying last night after we all went to bed…but it was very difficult and I felt somewhat silly, trying to explain to God why I wanted His help, but didn’t feel like I deserve to ask for it.

So that’s basically what’s going on.  Keep our family in prayer, please.

What is WRONG with me?

So I posted a couple weeks ago about watching “Parenthood” (the TV series, not the movie) and about Christina having breast cancer.  This week she’s going for the surgery, and as I watch her reaction and everyone else’s, all I can think is that they’re being…I don’t know…way too worried.  From what the doctor on the show said, this is really early and she has a really good prognosis…and I remember when I had my breast surgery, the only thing I was afraid of was the pain I was going to be in afterwards, and of being put to sleep.   When the liver cancer was discovered in 2006, I was fine right up until a few minutes before surgery, then I got really nervous and anxious…not because of the cancer though.  The cancer doesn’t worry me, it doesn’t bother me.  It never really has.  There are days when it does of course…days that I cry because I don’t know what the future will hold, but those are few and far between.

I must be incredibly self-centered, or delusional…because the things I’ve been through are pretty serious, and yet I blow them off usually.  I’m rolling my eyes watching this cancer arc on one of my favorite TV series, because I don’t understand why anyone would be so concerned and focused on it.  Something is definitely wrong with me.

What we know so far

So I had an appointment with the doctor I’ve seen in After Hours a few times and liked.  My regular family doctor is in Petal, and I just don’t get up there very often, so I really needed to find another GP here in Poplarville.  She treats Bekah, and we all really like her.  I went in for the shoulder pain…after eight or nine weeks, the pain is really getting to me and hindering daily things…can’t move my laptop around (ha), can’t scoop litter boxes without almost throwing up from the pain, can’t lift a laundry basket, can’t pick up a cat, etc etc.  I told her also what I’d found out from New Orleans, and given the shoulder pain, she ordered x-rays of my shoulder.  Then she listened to my chest and ordered a chest x-ray as well.

I need two surgeries.  My right rotator cuff is pretty much shot.  I got a copy of the x-rays to send to Ochsner, and even I could tell the difference between my shoulders.  I think I’m going to ask for an orthopedic consult at Ochsner, with the hopes that I can get both surgeries done at the same time and only have to recover once.  That might be too much to hope for though.

As I suspected, I ruptured my diaphragm for the third time.  I’m fairly certain I know when I did it too…I told Justin at the time that I thought I had, and started having the breathing difficulties not too long after.  I even get out of breath when I’m talking.  She said about a third of my lung space was compromised.  Looking at the x-rays, to me it looks like an organ, not my intestines up in there…in the past, when it was my intestines, there was a lumpy appearance on the x-ray.  This is a roundish shape, no lumps in the outline.  Considering where its at, I almost think its my liver, but I obviously don’t read x-rays for a living so until a doctor tells me what it is, there’s no way for me to know.  Its pretty weird looking at it though.

We have no word on whether the cancer is back or not…I won’t know that until I see Dr. C on the 26th.  They just won’t tell me over the phone what’s wrong…they won’t even tell me what they SUSPECT, so that of course has me freaking out a little.  However, I’m really hoping that this hernia issue is what has them worried.  Hernias, I’ve done.  Heck, cancer I’ve done…but a hernia is so much better than cancer lol.

On a side note, the little boy I’ve been following on facebook, Lane Goodwin, lost his battle with a rare childhood cancer a couple nights ago.  He was only 13 years old.  I can’t even imagine.  It was hard enough losing Ruby and I never got to know her…but to lose one of my children, whom I’ve loved, nurtured, laughed with, cried with…oh man.  Please keep his family in your prayers…he had a younger brother and I believe he’s taking it very hard.  Google Lane…you’ll see what an amazing kid he was…even as he knew he was dying, he was always smiling, and wanted to make a difference for other kids with cancer.  His facebook page just took off, with celebrities and people from around the world supporting him.  He got the word out and touched so many lives.  I hugged my kids extra close since he passed.

Tonight is Senior Night…Jared will be recognized on the field tonight as a senior and a member of the band…Justin and I will be on the field to present his trombone to him.  He’ll be recognized again during the soccer season, but this is the big night where the most fans will be in the stands.  I’m so proud of him…he’s grown into such a handsome young man, with a good work ethic (he’s worked at McDonald’s for over two years now).  He makes good grades and is well-liked by his teachers.  He’s compassionate and patient with younger children, especially those with disabilities.  Sure, he has some issues like most teenagers, but overall he’s a great kid and I’m proud of him.  Its hard to believe this is his last year in school.  After this year, he’ll go off to college, wherever that may be, and my role will change a bit.  I’m praying I’m able to make the transition gracefully.  Katie will be a senior next year…oh man how time flies.

And, tomorrow is Rebekah’s tenth birthday.  Was it really ten years ago that she came into our lives?  She’s almost as tall as I am…smart, witty, full of life.  Her Asperger’s, ADHD and anxiety have presented some challenges for her and for us, but she’s always so optimistic…she’s a real joy to parent and I can’t imagine our lives without her.  She wants a Halloween-themed birthday party, so we sent out invitations and we’re having it at the park Saturday afternoon.  My fear is that none of her classmates will come…last year was the first time anyone but family came to her party, and it was just one little girl, but it thrilled her so much.  This party, she’s so excited about…she’s bouncing off the walls and talking about how much fun everyone will have, and my heart is breaking because I don’t want her to be disappointed again.  We don’t have the money to really make it special for her…so we’re just going to make the best of it and make sure she knows how very much we love her.

So that’s pretty much what’s going on with us right now.  Its going to be a busy weekend, but I wouldn’t trade it for a slow one.  My kids mean the world to me, and these are the times I’ll treasure later on 🙂

The Waiting Game

So, the saga continues.  Most of you know I’ve had a hard time with the replacement nurse in my surgeon’s office.  I went for my much-delayed CT scan and clinic visit on September 20th.  Normally I see Dr. C, but he was called out, so I saw Dr. B instead.  WONDERFUL man…he’s from South America (I forget which country), and even though he has a really thick accent, I could tell he was very interested in me and my health.  He took plenty of time, and asked if I had a GP.  I told him I’d just been going to after-hours on the few occasions I felt that I needed a GP, because my family doctor was located in Petal, over an hour away, and the drive is just too much for me when I’m sick.  He strongly recommended I get a local GP…in fact, he stressed it several times.  My CT results weren’t back yet (it’d only been an hour or so since the scan) so he told us that he’d review them when they came back, and call me later that day (Thursday) or Friday morning.  He seemed concerned that my AFP number was climbing still higher.

I waited all day Friday, and finally called the clinic ten minutes before closing.  I talked to nurse G, the replacement nurse, who hadn’t impressed me the day before but its a difficult job…its a transplant clinic and the cases can be complicated and heartbreaking…so I was prepared to cut her some slack.  I very nicely explained what Dr. B had told us regarding the CT results, and I was wondering if they’d come in yet.  That’s all I said.  She called me back, and proceeded to pretty much chew me out: “HE said that HE told YOU that HE would call YOU on Monday afternoon after they review your case in their conference.”  It really rubbed me the wrong way, but I still tried to be nice.  When she continued, I snapped and told her that WASN’T what he told us, and that my husband heard him tell us as well that he’d call us that afternoon, but most likely Friday morning.  She said again that he would call me Monday afternoon.

Monday came…no phone call.  Tuesday came, no phone call.  Wednesday, Justin called her because I refused to.  I was afraid I’d get fired as a patient if I caught attitude from her again.  She gave him a spiel about me needing an MRI and an EUS (endoscopic ultra sound), and that she’d schedule it.  She called me later that afternoon…I was very polite and she was a little snarky but better behaved than previously…she said she was trying to schedule the MRI but the “new system” had just gone into effect and it wouldn’t let her, so she was going to have to get another nurse to do it, but she’d call me back by Thursday to tell me the appointment.  The following WEDNESDAY, a full week after I’d talked to her, I called and left a voicemail on Nurse M’s phone…M is lovely and I’ve dealt with her since 2006…I’m going to really miss her when she’s gone at the end of this year 😦  Thursday, G calls me and said that she still hadn’t gotten the MRI scheduled, that she had a note with my name on it but couldn’t remember what it was I needed (that’s what the computer is for, you dingy broad), but that she was on it and would let me know by the end of the day, possibly Friday.  The following Wednesday (are you keeping track? Three weeks had passed from my initial appointment at this point…well, ok 20 days, but still) M calls me, pissed off that she’d come back from vacation that day and found my voicemail on her phone from two weeks earlier, looked in the system, and saw that I still hadn’t been scheduled for an MRI.  She got me an appointment while I was on the phone with her for Friday.  Finally, progress.

So Friday I go in bright and early and have the MRI…I was laughing and joking with the techs, saying they’d remember me as soon as they saw the pictures and my unique internal anatomy, etc etc.  Once the MRI was done, they came in to get me out of the machine, and instead of two, there were five, and they all had grim expressions.  We made some jokes about my pictures, and I knew, once again, that something had changed.

Back up…when I had my CT on the 20th, I actually broke down after the test started…the tech came out to check on me because I’m lying there sobbing.  I told her I was fine, just emotional.  Something had changed from my last scan, I just felt it.  So when G starts telling me that I need more testing, and then taking her sweet time getting it scheduled, it messed with my head a bit.  When I had the MRI, I’m inside that machine (I’m claustrophobic by the way but generally ok with MRIs) and as the test started, I started bawling again.  I don’t want more surgery.  I don’t want to have to experience chemo or radiation or months and months of being sicker.  I want my life back, my health back, and I guess I was just crying as a form of mourning what used to be.

So Nurse M calls me shortly after Justin and I got home…like, within a couple hours of the MRI.  She said that Dr. C had reviewed it and wanted to present it to the conference on Monday with the other surgeons, some radiologists, and specialists, to get more information and develop “the plan.”  I said “That doesn’t sound too good” and she agreed, but couldn’t, of course, tell me anything else.  When she’d called Wednesday to schedule the MRI and I asked why they wanted it, she said that the CT just wasn’t as clear a picture as they liked and they wanted the MRI to take a better look.  I told her that sounded to me like they saw a mass and wanted to check it out more thoroughly before freaking me out.  She laughed and said that as many times as I’ve been around this particular block, there was no fooling me.

So Monday, I waited patiently…finally, I called at 3:20 (they close at 4:30). M was shocked that Dr. C hadn’t called me yet, so went to track him down.  She called me back and said that he wasn’t ready to talk to me on the phone because “its complicated.”  He wants to see me in clinic to discuss my case (uh oh) and wants me to have a chest CT before I see him (double uh oh).  I asked why, and she couldn’t tell me…and it dawned on me that I’ve had this burning shoulder/neck pain for weeks now, and its worse when I bend over to scoop litter boxes, pick something up, etc.  My heartburn has been a lot worse too.  So I asked if it might be my diaphragmatic hernia rearing its ugly head again…that over the summer I felt a burning, tearing pain in that area and wondered to Justin at the time if I might have ruptured it again…and the symptoms fit.  She said she didn’t know but it would make sense.  Still…that’s information they can share over the phone, ya know?

So my appointments aren’t until the 26th, and I sit, and I stress, and I worry.  I’ve been trying to eat a sandwich since 11:00 a.m. (its almost noon now) and have only managed to eat a little less than half.  I have no appetite, and its from stress I’m sure.  I’m trying not to freak out, but the lack of information is, in fact, freaking me out.

I guess just send some prayers my way that this is a simple problem, and not as “complicated” as Dr. C is letting on.  I don’t want surgery again, and I especially never want another thoracotomy…that was pain like I’ve never experienced in my life before.  I know when it comes down to it, I’ll do whatever I need to, but dang, I don’t want to.

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