September 6, 2019 - Reality Bites
I had great intentions of writing an update on Thursday. Instead, a lazy day of napping and resting won the battle. I needed it!
Jamie and I had a very eventful week. We were originally heading to ATL on Wednesday afternoon. However, my oncologist wanted to see me Wednesday AM – and whatever she wants, she gets! So, we drove up Tuesday night.
Wednesday was filled with doctor visits. The purposes overlapped, but the common goal was to make sure I was healed enough to begin the next step in my fight. My oncologist wanted the infectious disease doctor to clear me from MRSA, so the Port could be inserted. She also wanted my surgeon to clear me (my incisions) for chemotherapy. And, that is what happened.
It looks like the infection is eradicated. Check.
My incision is still not perfect, but it has shown improvement daily. My surgeon was pleased with the progress. He called my oncologist and spoke to her while we were in the examining room. Now, that is service. Check.
That brings us to today. I don’t know why, but I was more nervous, more apprehensive, and more anxious about this procedure than all the previous surgeries combined. And, in the scheme of things, the port insertion was simple. The risk associated with putting me to sleep with anesthesia did not exist. This was a relatively quick procedure with twilight sedation. As I was laying on the operating table, my mind was racing. The nurses were buzzing around getting me ready. They were cleaning the site, giving me oxygen, and were preparing to give me the sedation. I could say tears sprang to my eyes, and they did, but it was a little more than that. I had to focus on suppressing a downright sobbing session. It took everything I had to not burst into a loud cry. I’m sure if anyone had a camera, they would have captured an epic “ugly” cry.
The nurses mistook my tears for fear of the procedure. I did not correct them. At that moment, in the operating room, cancer became real, or rather the FIGHT against cancer became real. The entire purpose of this procedure was to enable me to FIGHT any cancer left in my body. The fight was about to get ugly. Am I ready? Thoughts of Mason and Jamie flashed through my mind. I must be ready. I am ready. When I told Jamie, he was a little incredulous. He asked a very fair question. “Did cancer not feel real with the double mastectomy?”
It is hard to put into words, but the best way I can explain my feeling is this: I haven’t felt “sick” with cancer. I haven’t “looked” sick with cancer. When I begin chemotherapy, I will. When I am out in public, I will now be seen as a “cancer” patient. I will be seen as sick.
I do have cancer. That is my new reality. I also have family and friends who love and care about me. If there isn’t a better reason to win this battle, I don’t know what is!
Chemo begins on Monday. I will finally meet the Red Devil.