Punchy Mommy Believes in Life

How I evicted the worst uninvited overnight guest and took back my life

Category: Tumor

And the beat goes on…

drummer girl

I’ve had it. I’m so done with you. Your expiration date has passed. Your not wanted. You have no place in my life. You’ve done enough damage. It’s time to move one. Just leave me alone!

Moving day was coming and I had been preparing for a hectic few weeks. Unfortunately though, the one thing I did not plan for was cancer. I thought I was done with you. My last CT scan at the Cancer Epicenter of the South showed a small “filling defect” in my SVC that is showing a higher SUV than it was from my last PET scan three months ago. When the tumor shrunk back out of my SVC it left some scar tissue in my vein and now, no one knows what to make of it. Is it just scar tissue? Is it lymphoma? Is it a blood clot? I met with my new oncologist as soon as we struck ground in the east and since then I’ve picked up a cardiologist and thoracic surgeon along the way. Can they really go into my SVC and remove tissue that is stuck to the wall of my vein?

Cancer is such an evil thing. Rare is the case where you’re diagnosed then treated and able to put cancer firmly in your rear view mirror. I was hoping that my meeting with my new oncologist would be uneventful but my newly discovered filling defect had other plans. I didn’t think these weeks would be filled with more doctor’s visits, planning, worrying, consulting, and…agony.

DH and I aren’t alone in feeling the weight of my ball and chain. Sister and Brother2 have had to relive Sister’s diagnosis and treatment through me. It’s been 11 years since she was diagnosed. They thought cancer was a distant memory but I dragged out those memories kicking and screaming the day I was diagnosed. My short hair and young child pulls memories that were once tucked deeply in their subconscious and reopens wounds they thought healed years ago. Mom and Dad can’t seem to get a break either. Their children, oh so needy, despite their age and maturity. Why can’t I control the pain I am causing? 

I don’t know what to think. Should I be frightened that there still may be active cancer in my body?  Should I be happy if they can take this tissue out and biopsy it? Then I will know definitively if it is lymphoma. Should I be frightened that this procedure could be life threatening? Should I be happy that I am finally in a place where I can get the best medical treatment and best doctors in the world? Should I be upset that I have to spend these next few weeks meeting with doctors and possibly spending more time in the hospital? Should I be happy that we finally live close to family that can help us without too much travel? Should I be upset that I have to put my family through more of this?

It’s naive of me to think that I could just move on and not have any other housecleaning issues to deal with. But these last few months have felt normal. I was supporting my recovery in every way I knew how. But now it feels like everything is slipping through my fingers like sand. I don’t want anymore procedures. I don’t want anymore hospitals. I don’t want anymore tests. I want to unpack all of our moving boxes and make our new home feel like it’s ours. I want to play with Little Man and explore our new town. I want to relax with DH and be able to watch a movie without needing to go to bed before Little Man because I’m so emotionally and physically tired. I want to move on.

And so, the beat goes on. I know this is all part of my “get better quick plan.” Despite not wanting to deal with more uncertainty and more procedures, I do want to be better. I promise to keep drumming my recovery beat as I wait for the day where I can say I am ok and I will be ok unequivocally and without hesitation. I know this day is coming. It’s just within my reach.

First breath for the second time

After three days of IV steroids, Solumedrol, and one day of chemo, I woke up and took a deep breath. I felt the air enter my mouth, then my throat and then, as my chest puffed out, I felt it seep down, down, down into my chest. It made it’s way through my lungs and I could feel it enter each and every nook and cranny. It felt like this breath had no ending. I just kept breathing in and the air kept traveling further and further into my body. It felt cool. Like when you open your mouth and take a deep breath after popping a minty piece of gum in your mouth. I didn’t realize my breathing had been affected by the tumor and for the first time, I could breath…deeply. I don’t remember my first breath at birth but if I had to guess, it would have felt like that. And, boy did it feel good.

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