I’m usually not nervous for my scans, probably because I have never had a clear one for a significant amount of time yet. Today’s scan is a little worrisome. If there are any additional growths – they will be calling off my surgeries. I know I won’t be any worse off than I thought I was in the Fall, but now I have started “hoping” again. What am I dreaming about when I lay in bed at night? Going back to work. I know, I sound like a crazy person, but I can’t tell you how much I miss working. I think it is because I am such a goal oriented person. I had so many things I wanted to accomplish in the workforce. I set goals for myself of where I would be at this point in my life – and it is really hard to give those things up. If I am able to go back in the Fall, it will be like starting at square one. I am hoping that I will be able to pick things back up at a rapid rate, but who really knows? I have no idea the greater effects all of the drugs and stress has had on my brain. If you look up the term “chemo brain” it is real. It is something that gets referred to and joked about all the time amongst the cancer community. I am not sure we can fully blame chemo for all of our issues, I feel like the stress from everything that has gone on plays a major role in our depleting brain functions. Unfortunatly at this point it is kind of out of my control. I just have to hope for the best – as I do with everything – and continue on with my day. Listen to me – I am stressing about the effects stress has on myself. Kind of a contradiction.
Well this was a first that I do not welcome into my life ever again. And here I was thinking that throwing up on chemo was bad. Oh no – food poisoning is like no other. I am pretty positive that is what was wrong with me- although the doctors have no way of proving it. It started at 3:30am and was every half an hour until 4:00pm. Right around 1:00pm I realized I couldn’t take it anymore and was becoming weaker by the minute since I couldn’t even keep water down. Now that I know the hospital system so well, I knew emerg would be my best course of action. I needed an IV of fluids stat. Off we went – on Chris’s birthday too – poor guy.
I always have to be upfront with the nurses and doctors at the hospital right from the start. Let them know I do have stage 4 cancer and I just came off of chemotherapy. I know the drill. My immune system is compromised and no one can risk leaving me out with all of the sick patients for too long. We waited approximately an hour or so and then were shown into our own room.
From here I thought it was going to be easy, hook me up with some saline and then ship me off. Wrong. I always forget how much weight my disease carries. Food poisoning was their best case scenario, and they were starting at the worst – that this whole thing was cancer related. It didn’t even dawn on me once that that is what could be the issue. The doctor wanted to run multiple blood tests and a urine test to rule out any sort of infection. Even my temperature being only two degrees higher than normal had them concerned and they began monitoring that – which was super annoying because I was freezing and was only allowed a thin sheet.
After being at the hospital for 7 hours now, the tests results came back fine – and yet they were still concerned. If I wasn’t scheduled by my regular doctors for a CT scan the following week, they would have ordered one for me that night. It is fantastic that our health system cares so much for patients like myself – I guess I better start taking my disease as serious as they do. I know it is horrible, but I never think that every single time I feel sick it may be cancer related. I mean I guess I should? But who really wants to live like that. The ER doctor gave me the option to stay over night so I could be monitored. By this point I was able to keep fluids down for the past two hours. I opted to go home but promised if I was sick one more time either that night or the next day, I would come right back. Too bad they don’t have a test to prove it was food poisoning, would have been a much shorter trip.
I find it disgusting that there are people in this world who care about themselves more than anybody else. I hear it far too often in my different cancer networks – friends or family members lashing out at the person who has the disease. They selfishly make something out of nothing and get mad at the person because they are not listening to “their feelings”. What these idiots tend to forget is just how sick we are. Now you probably can’t imagine what it is like to be in our shoes, so picture this – If your parent passed away, would you welcome nonsense arguements into your life? Could you even imagine in that initial week a friend sitting you down and saying, “I’m mad at you for this, that and the other and you need to listen to my feelings.” Yep – just as ridiculous as that sounds it happens in the cancer world ALL THE TIME. You may be thinking – but Jamie, you didn’t get diagnosed this week, it has been almost two years. True. But two years for a stage 4 cancer patient is like 2 minutes. I still have cancer living in me. It is still eating away at my organs. I still have a short life expectancy. I still have to endure endless abouts of chemotherapy and surgeries and scans.
I am heading into another hard summer having to undergo and then recover from two major surgeries. The last thing I need in my life right now is any sort of stress or drama. So that is why it should be of no surprise, that when something insignificant comes to my attention, I am quick to respond with “What is the point of this? There are bigger things in life to worry about. Let’s just move past it.” This is when people show their true colours.
“Well these are MY feelings. Why do you not want to listen what I have to say? You are a bad friend.”
Excuse me? Because I do not want to entertain something that was already put to bed long ago I am the one in the wrong? Are you fucking kidding me?
Now, let me be clear – cancer is not a “get out of jail free” card. If someone you know who has cancer does something to upset you, speak to them about it if you really feel strongly about the matter. But before you take that step, really look at the situation. Does this really matter? Out of everything in your life – is this something to really focus on or be upset about?
If you are truly upset then approach it something like this, “I am upset because of ______ . I will be over it tomorrow but in this moment today I am upset. Do not stress this won’t affect our friendship, but I needed to be honest with you.” That is a calm approach and you are letting the person know it is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but you just wanted to bring it to their attention. In that moment I am sure the person will want to talk it out.
What I think is hard is that cancer is not always a quick disease that leads to death. It lingers and builds over time. So it is easy for others to not forget completely, but maybe forget about just how horrible the reality of the situation is. I never forget. I am reminded every day just how shitty this is. I may not talk about it, I may laugh and act positive – but deep inside I am truly sad. My life expectancy changes with every scan. I live 3 months at a time. Do you know what that feels like? I hope you don’t and never do.
Your life matters to me. Your feelings and thoughts matter to me. But for once maybe stop thinking about your own feelings. I’ll trade you. I would much rather be upset over a small bump in the road than have my midsection cut open.
I think it’s really sad that grown men and women still find the need to hold grudges against one another. If you have been in a disagreement with a friend, spouse, co-worker, family member, and both parties have discussed the issue and it has been resolved – then everyone needs to just get over it. It is not about forgiving and forgetting – the feelings are there and it is hard to let those go – it is about not holding it against the person forever. I see and hear far too often the same “bitching” about the same issue with certain people. When I say to them, “Well it has been X amount of time, maybe you should move past it”, they always have an excuse. In my day to day life now I always treat people with the same respect they show me in that moment. As long as you do no personally attack myself or anyone I hold dear, then I will pretty much get over anything. What is the point of wasting my energy on negativity? In the end it does no one any good. The less drama the better is the way I see it.