Chapter 2: finding the right place

I didn’t know how to love myself, until my husband taught me how. When we were first married I would quiz him on the conditions of his love for me.

“Would you still like me if I were thinner?” 

“Of course.” He says, his tone always even.

“As thin as Kelly?”

“If that makes you happy, then yes.”

“As thin as Sarah?”

He considers it. Sarah is quite thinner than I am. “If that makes you happy. I love you – it doesn’t matter.”

“What if I dyed my hair blond?”

A non-commital shrug.

“Blue?”

“That might be cute.” He laughs at my nonsensical questions. The smile that shows his teeth. It only happens when he’s actually comfortable. I love it.

“What if I go bald?”

“That won’t happen, but I would love you any way.”

When I told him I had cancer I broached the subject again.

“I’m probably going to lose my hair.” Pursing my lips and scrunching my nose a little to stave off my tear ducts.

“I don’t care about that.”

“I do.”

“Well, if you lose your hair it will just make it easier for me to kiss your entire head.” He then demonstrated how difficult it is to kiss a head covered is long brown hair without getting some in your mouth. He’s good at making me laugh. I couldn’t ask for more.

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I’ve been trying to write this post for hours. It’s a tie between information overload, and not enough overload. Is that possible? It feels like when you walk up to your dresser, pull out every pair of pants you own, and still feel like you have nothing to wear. I have a lot of information, but I’m not sure how I feel about all of it. So I’ll touch on three things.

1. The Port

2. The Bone Marrow Biopsy

3. The New Doctor

 

1. The port was put in on Wednesday. I had the procedure done at the Heart & Vascular center at Sentera Potomac Hospital. This is the same place my CT guided biopsy was done. With the biopsy under their belt that had me come in 30 minutes earlier than the normal “early” time. Why?! For the same reason I need the port – my veins suck.

Even with my efforts to over-hydrate and the xanax to calm my nerves it still took a couple tries to get the IV started. Prior to starting the needle party I informed the nurses that for every needle after the first one they would owe me a coke.

When I came out of surgery I had one bottle and two small cans of Coke-cola sitting on the table. One was already poured over ice with a bendy straw.

So it sucks to be in the hospital, but the staff was great and very accommodating.

 

Just resting his eyes. We’re both sleep deprived!

 

Once the IV the placement surgery took 1.5 hours, and they released me 30 minutes later. It was nice to just go home to recuperate. The port will be used for administering any treatments, but can also be used for CT scans and taking blood samples.

 

Mine is on the right side of my chest and involved a small incision near my collar bone, then a larger incision three inches below that. The port is about as wide as a quarter, and half an inch “tall”. Recovery has been… okay. My neck has been aching from the position, the incisions are healing up nicely though. They didn’t do any stitches, just a glue-like substance called “Derm-bond”. This will leave a “cleaner” looking scare that should disappear easily. Besides the neck ache and an ocasional itchy feeling It’s healing nicely.

It doesn’t look near as angry as it did a few days ago! Plus I’m getting used to the feeling of it being in there.

 

Ginny had spent the night at Auntie T’s house, and she hung out there all day. My sweet sweet neighbor brought over dinner – delicious home made Chili and corn bread, which Ginny and I enjoyed the next day for breakfast!

warm and buttery – just the way she likes it.

Just another one of the “first steps” along this path towards curing my cancer.

2. While at the hospital for the port implantation I asked the surgeon if they could do the bone marrow biopsy while I was sedated. She was more than willing and the called the oncologist for an order. The oncologist said that he understood my anxiety, but would prefer to do the biopsy himself – because he wanted to use his own lab. I didn’t like that idea, but I assumed the doctors knew what they were talking about and we went about our merry way with the port.

The next day I arrived at the oncologist’s office. The bone marrow procedure was explained, I laid down, and they started numbing my hip. The oncologist felt the bone and after five minutes of my building anxiety he said he would not perform the procedure because I was “too jumpy” and he didn’t feel comfortable doing the procedure. He hadn’t even numbed the area completely and was pinching me… my bad.

So… now he wanted me to schedule another appointment at the hospital to be sedated for the biopsy. Because I’m made of money.

I politely requested copies of every paper in my file, and then left. I don’t have time to deal with that kind of behavior.

3. Before any of that crazy went down the same sweet neighbors who has been feeding me had been researching other doctors. Ms. A had cancer last year, and has been an incredible support person for me.  They encouraged me to seek out a second opinion, and have helped me come to grips with what this process could possibly be, and have done a lot of the leg work in finding me a specialist. My first oncologist, Dr. “Jumpy”, was a referral from my internist. A first step.

While I was walking around Wegman’s eating a cookie trying to not flip my lid over this whole bone marrow thing Ms. A was calling in favors and getting my an appointment with a lymphoma specialist. This morning we drove out to Farifax for an appointment with a new oncologist before their office was technically open. We got lost, arrived late and flustered, and she was still gracious. We waited in her office surrounded by pictures of her cute kids, and framed papers singing her lauds. She sat down with us and in 30 minutes told me more than I’d learned from the first oncologist in 3 appointments. She had to go take care of another appointment where the patient had kindly arrived on time, but asked us to wait and she would be right back.

Understandable.

She then examined me, and actually touched the largest tumor in my stomach, jiggling it around and allowing me to feel it. My other doctor said he couldn’t feel it, but had seen it on the path reports. She explained where we are in the diagnostic process, let us know she’d ordered more tests that were necesary for the diagnosis (that Dr. “Jumpy” hadn’t ordered.), and answered our questions very thoroughly.

 

We learned a lot at the appointment today. Some of it repeats of what I’ve read online, some of it new and insightful information. It sucks to have cancer – but I’m looking forward to working with this doctor. Not something I would’ve ever thought could happen.

 

Ms. A brought us dinner again tonight, and my sister Becca spent the night last night, and is doing so again so Brandan and I can sleep in tomorrow. Ladies in my neighborhood are busy organizing support systems for me while I go through treatment, and I can feel my stress melting away.

 

I am loved. I am well cared for. I am the luckiest unlucky person out there.

My toddler loves a good selfie!

 

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3 Comments to “Chapter 2: finding the right place”

  1. Well done sweetheart! Love you.

  2. I met your mom in Germany while she was the quilt guru at the Gussy Goose craft shop on Patch Barracks. She was my ‘mainline’ into the quilting world. I saw her FB about your battle and I want you to know that I am thinking about you and will keep you in my nighttime prayers.

  3. I’m so glad that you found a better doctor. It can make a world of difference.

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