Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Positive Outcomes

First of all, for each and every one of you who rhapsodized about me the last few days since the interview and article on facebook, Twitter, etc, thank you.  I don't feel especially magnificent or different from anyone else.  If I were in your shoes, and you were in mine, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be rhapsodizing about YOU.  You guys are the bomb.

Yesterday, my last full day with squamous cell carcinoma, I went and visited my old office after a lunch with a friend.  When I walked in, I had a chance meeting with one of the legal assistants, who I was delighted to hug and accept condolences from.  Then, while waiting for my old colleague Stephanie to appear, one of my favorite IT people (hint: they are ALL my favorites) popped into the reception area and found me.  His son also had a seizure disorder that they were treating with medications, therapies and the ketogenic diet.  (Look it up - it has great success with some people, and no effect with others.)  Anyway, he came over and said hello, and then said, "Colleen, we're seizure-free.  Off meds. Regular diet."

I almost started crying.  I told him it was absolutely the best news I could have ever hoped for.  I asked how his son was handling the changes, and he is THRIVING.  If Stephanie hadn't walked out into the reception area with a bucket filled with 2.5 pounds of only banana Runts.  All for me.  THE BEST.  I want some now but they are all the way downstairs...

Anyway, so the surgery was pretty good for the most part.  I mean, as surgeries go.  But the music was very 70s, and not very 70s rock.  So that part was pretty awful for me, but a good distraction.  It took a few hours for me to realize that I was the youngest person there by at least 25 years.  Ahead of schedule.  Precocious!  But the music selection was pandering to them, not me.  It's okay.  I did get to hear some gems I truly love, interspersed with Carly Simon (UGH) and other, um, artists.

As I sat in the chair, having been checked, then numbed, the doctor asked me to describe how I came to notice it, so I told him about the weird thing I noticed in January and then re-noticed in June.  In between?  I said, "well, it's been a complicated year."  Why has it been complicated asked Dr. Stranger (not his real name).  I laughed a little.  He said, "Give me the cliff notes version."  So I said, "Well, in January I had 3 children, and now I have 2."  Total, utter silence.  He put his hand on my shoulder, and then the nurse on my other shoulder.  He said after a moment, "I'm so sorry."  I gave him my new catchphrase, "Pretty weird when being told you have cancer isn't the worst thing that's happened to you."  Then they did nothing for another minute.  Just sat there with me laid out in the chair, their hands on my shoulders.  Finally, the doctor said, "This is the second time this week I have made someone cry in this room!"

I said, "I'm not crying.  Let's get this done."  That was a lie.  I was crying.  But much like the times when Connor was sick, it didn't matter if it made me want to cry.  I had to suck it in and get things done.  Today, the Thing to get done was to get the cancer cut out.  It took three tries, but he got it all.  I wanted to say, "Hope to see you never..." to him only because I didn't want to have to go back for similar surgeries in the future.  He beat me to the punch - I'll see you next week to look at the incisions/wound site.  They had to cut a small football shape into the skin at the bridge of my nose, so then they had to manipulate a lot of skin to cover up the skin area that was lost.  Know what I could do the rest of my life without feeling again?  A needle in the tip of my nose.  That smarts.  OOOOOOOOOO boy!

Anyway, through it all sat Lee, waiting patiently for me in the reception area with his iPad, phone and an amazing attitude.  He drove me there without complaint, home without complaint, and is on a bike ride now.  I would like for the remainder of this month to be low key.  Any assistance with that would be most welcome. If you see me in the next few days and I look pretty rough, take pity.  I can't get the bandages or wound site wet, so it's old fashioned bathing and (gasp) sink hair washing.  It's like Little House on the Prairie here.

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