life is suffering and i love it
On Friday I went in for a colonoscopy. I’m a bit young for it, but with all my allergies and digestive issues, I felt it was time to get checked out, and my doctors agreed. I had been having some constipation, only to me it felt less like constipation and more like there was something just plain blocking my bowel movements. Unfortunately I was right. There is a big ol malignant tumor in my rectum. They removed 2 polyps in other areas of the intestines, but the tumor appears to be about 3 inches long, and an inch wide. It’s a big one.
After the colonoscopy we went home. I ate a tiny amount of mashed potatoes just to keep myself from passing out. I hadn’t eaten in about 2 days, but I lost had my appetite completely. Mark and I sat in silence until I had him drive me into work. The first person I told was my boss, in person, and my coworkers. But the hardest was calling my mom. If you could imagine the perfect mother, the kind that accepts you and loves you no matter what, and is always there for you if you need something as small as a tissue, this is the lady. To call and tell her I had cancer was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to tell her. I’ve always thought it’s a lot harder to watch someone you love suffer than it is to be the one suffering. I’ve been in the hospital before, at the edge of my life, and I’ve been at the hospital when my grandpa was at the edge of his. I prefer being in the bed over sitting next to it. At least when you’re in it you get drugs and sleep.
My mom came right over. So did my dad (who also has cancer, but another type), my grandparents, my brother, and my friends Tori, Jeep and Stefanie. Though I was sad, I looked at my community and I thought of how great it was to have them. When I think of crying I picture going through all this without my husband and just knowing he will be here comforts me. I have an amazing family, and I have amazing friends. (who promised they will shave their heads if i lose my hair)
Saturday morning came slowly. I’d spend much of the night awake, in bed, wondering if it had spread throughout my body. Was it in my organs? Do I have even a year left? Will my husband be ok if this is the last time he sees me walking around? Who will tell him how wonderful he is? And my poor mother. No one should have to outlive their child. What if what if what if. By the time 6am came I had decided to call my doctor and let him know how my bowel movements were looking. He decided I should go into the ER right away. Ok. Keep my cool. There’s no place I feel safer right now than in the hospital. Mark drove me over and they immediately hooked me up to some morphine. Breakfast of champions! After an hour of tests and more tests, they said I was fine and let me go home. The morphine gave me some much needed sofa napping. With Stefanie’s help we spent the weekend organizing books and getting the library together. Anything to keep my mind off of the unknown.
Monday morning 6:30am, my mom picks me up for my appointment to drink glowy goo and go in the “spinning donut” for my CT scan. My mom videod the whole thing, and watching the play-back, I think I am hilarious. The comments I keep getting from doctors and nurses is how alive my sense of humor is through all of this. What better way is there to cope? I could curl in a ball and cry, and then all opportunities for jokes that I missed would make me even sadder. My favorite joke so far was when my grandma first came over and she was looking at the photos of my tumor and she said to me, “I always knew you were a bit of a butthole.”
After the scans my mom took me shopping all day. Shopping has never felt more therapeutic. I still had no idea what stage my cancer was, I had no idea what the future held for me, but I had a day of shopping with my mom, and I was happy. They told me I’d get my results Wednesday (today as I write this). Throughout the day Monday I had call after call from the doctors office. Three appointments set up in the next week, and a few calls where they just check in and see how I’m doing. Next Tuesday I meet my Oncologist, Next Thursday I consult with a surgeon, and the Monday after that I have an ultrasound of the tumor done.
Yesterday while i was at work I got this message on my phone:
“hi kamina this is teresa from dr. grunkemeyers office. we got your cat scan results back and your CE levels and they both look very good which is awesome news. your cat scan didn’t have any other worrisome findings. just wanted to let you know the good news, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call.”
I can’t tell if she said “CE” or “CL” or what, but whatever the levels were, they look good!
Finally having some good news I was ready to bring the cancer public. The support of my friends has been overwhelming. I’m getting more love and letters than I have time to reply to. I know this kind of thing should be kicking my ass, but I’ve always had a love for tough challenges, or I’m a glutton for punishment. Either way there’s probably something unhealthy or delusional about the way I’m approaching this. I’m okay with that. I’m thriving in this horrible situation. I’m ready for a good story to tell in the future, and new found knowledge to allow me to be there for others when they go through similar situations. The fool in me loves whatever lesson in wisdom I’m about to gain. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m grateful for cancer. I’m not. I’m just… doing what I can to keep cancer from swallowing me whole.
Life is suffering and I love it. Remind me of this when I’m vomiting. I won’t need someone to hold my hair back, but a good “drill sergeant” voice shouting “LIFE IS SUFFERING AND YOU LOVE IT. YOU LOVE IT.” would make me laugh up the vomit. Laughing it up is better, I assume.