Monday, August 29, 2011

The Way I Am

     It’s been 2 months since we found out about my recurrence and we’re still pretty much in the same spot now as we were then. The only “progress”, if that’s what you would call it, would be the 2 visits to have consults with my new surgeon in Pittsburgh, another trip to the burgh’ to meet a urologist and plastic surgeon who will also be a part of my surgery, and a colonoscopy for good measure (through my stoma for those of you who are like “but…how??” Don’t feel bad, I asked too!), which actually brought us full circle since that is where my cancer journey first began back in April 2010. Maybe that seems like more progress to you than it does to me; I’m just so frustrated these days. Frustrated, nervous, anxious, angry, scared - all of the above and every other emotion you could think of….which, when all mixed together, as they are now, equals an emotional mess, which equals me. Up is down, down is up, left is right, and right is left - at least that is how it seems to me lately. I feel such an urgency to get this tumor out of me…that’s the first step back to remission and I would really like that first step sooner rather then later. After all, remember I have super-tumors that grow at an astronomical rate every second it's in my body that doctors around the globe have never even seen before…well, at least in my mind they do. :) Oh, I guess we could definitely add paranoid to that list of emotions I mentioned shortly ago, yep - definitely paranoid. I don’t understand why it seems like such a task to get a surgery date…a date…that’s all I’m asking for…is that too much for a girl to want? We know it will be on a Thursday but just give me a friggen date already! Geesh! I understand that my specialist deals with my type of cancer everyday but, it’s his job and this is my LIFE. To me, every day that passes is a day that could, potentially, be a day that is used fighting this disease. I think that fuels my frustration…I’m ready now for surgery; I’m ready for the pain, for the healing, and ultimately, I’m ready to have this surgery behind me and be moving on to the next step, whatever that may be. I’ve stated in earlier entry on this blog that I’m the type of person who, once placed in a intense position, I will, most likely, convince myself that a baseless, ridiculous, off-the-top outcome will without-a-doubt happen. It’s something I do a lot and I’m not afraid to admit that. It’s silly and usually just fuels my anxiety, but it’s just what I do. What I haven’t told you yet is why I do what I do and why I am the way I am.
     Over the past 7 years, my family has been through hell & back, even before my cancer diagnosis we knew what tragic really meant and what havoc it could reek on your lives. In 2004, my older brother John (24) passed away from smoke & soot inhalation in a house fire. I was 20-years-old at the time and had never experienced a death before, so for it to be my big brother was more than tragic…it was…well, it was something that I can’t really describe in words, but I’ll try. It’s like a sucker-punch to your gut that you can’t get rid of and, much like cancer, you can’t truly understand the feeling until you, unfortunately, may experience it yourself. You feel so alone even though you surrounded by the world & you feel so smothered even though that world is giving you room to breathe. You feel lost and wonder if you'll ever feel "found" again.
     My family grieved, as we still do & will forever do, and eventually began to rebuild our lives minus one. However, 28 months later, in 2006, my brother Jay (32) suddenly & unexpectedly passed away from “Acute bronchopneumonia” after experiencing flu-like symptoms for a few days prior - we had no clue it was anything more. He had promised to go to the doctor the next day but once again, our world was shattered, smashed, shred to pieces and we found ourselves in a familiarly tragic & unfair position. In a little over 2 years, I had lost both of my big brothers. I didn’t understand why and really, to this day, I’m not sure I do now. The only comfort we could find was that my brothers were best friends and even though they were not with us, they were together and that, for me at least, gave me a slight hint of peace. Jay’s death would eventually lead me to meet someone half-way across the country who, to this day, holds a very special place in my heart and still helps me get through some really dark days (Love you Shelley!).
     So maybe now that gives you a little understanding of why my mind is constantly spinning and coming up with the “glass half-empty” mentality. I don't like being like that so I’m working on myself and I have full faith I’m going to kick cancer’s ass…again. It’s not going to be fun, in fact, it’s going to be hell - but, like I just told you…I’ve been to hell & back a few times and still, here I am. On the plus side, I have a little extra help from 2 handsome guardian angels on my shoulder to guide me through this cancer fight.
     Along with being mentally exhausted, the physical aspects of recurrence are definitely making their presence known. The all-too-familiar tailbone pain that I had ignored for so many months before diagnosis has returned full-force, extending up to the middle of my spine. My joints from my fingers to my toes feel every step I take during the day, my knees usually feel like I ran a 5K after climbing our stairs, and finding a comfortable position to sleep in is an obstacle I have yet to conquer (Sorry Chad ILY). Last week I swallowed my pride gave in and got a cane, I know, I know…but don’t worry, it’s super cute! I can’t let something like cancer ruin my fashion, that would be absolutely unfair justice!

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