Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bone scan at table #3, please...

Today was very difficult. I had to take a day off work for 2 more obligatory tests before I start my chemo, the bone scan and full body CT scan. They're to make sure I'm not an oddity that can jump from stage 1 to stage 4 without hitting a lymph node like some kind of potentially lethal hopscotch. So, I went to the hospital to register for the tests. They took my name, handed me a coaster-blinky-thingie (like they do in a restaurant) and told me to wait and that it would light up and make noise when it was my turn. She explained this in entirely too much detail. I thanked her and took a seat. (Like I've never been out to eat...) So, as I wait for the next hour staring at my coaster-thingie, I realize that I'm quite hungry and wish I WAS waiting for a table and a meal, anything but where I am right now. The absolute last thing I want to do is go back into that same hall behind the key-coded door and be tested some more. I've been there too many times before this cancer and even more since. I also realize that this is something that has no end in sight. Now, I will be tested behind that door for years to come on a regular basis. The joy of carving out the cancer has been replaced with this new reality.

Fine. They call my name. Nuclear testing (they actually call it that) here I come. So, they sit me down to wait again and here comes the lady with a 3" cylinder in her hand marked with the radioactive sign. You almost expect it to be smoking like witch's brew on someone's porch at Halloween. Instead once removed from the tube, it's a harmless looking syringe of stuff to push through my vein. It takes 3 hours to get to the bones, so I ran errands with my cotton ball taped to the bend of my arm and 2 new armbands. You gotta love the hospital "jewelry". People out in the world look at you like you escaped or something. So, yada, yada, yada...bone scan complete. It was peaceful, really. Quiet. Nothing like the MRI machine. I actually caught about 15 minutes of sleep I think.

On to Texas Oncology for the CT scan. They are so nice there. (That's actually a true statement even though it's dripping in sarcasm here...) First, they gave me a wonderful "cocktail" to drink (contrast #1). Then, I got to have a signing party for all of the paperwork for my clinical trial. I'll know the week of the 14th if I get the drug or not. The lotto hasn't been held yet apparently. Either way, I am officially a registered lab rat. Then, one more huge syringe (contrast #2) about 20 more minutes in a giant tube and my day is done. I felt a little queasy from the whole thing. Not sure if that's 3 types of contrast + radioactivity or all of the lectures. Probably the latter...

You see, I got another "talk" today about how I'm not going to be able to do what I have to once my treatment starts. It's so disheartening and confusing! Half of the nurses and doctors say I will, the other half sit there and look at you like you've gone mad even thinking that you can go through chemo and work the whole time. Then, both of them escape the conversation with the comment, "Everyone's different!" Really??? I hadn't noticed. This is not a choice I am making, people. Given the "choice" I wouldn't even have cancer. This is called survival. There's nothing glamorous about life as a single parent. In fact, most of it is really really hard, except for NOT having to agree on what's for dinner, which route to take where, etc. You get to make all of those decisions for yourself. Problem is, you have to make all of the hard ones alone as well, and at the end of the day it's just you. You pay the mortgage, bills, and feed your family. Otherwise, it doesn't get done. Besides, if everyone IS different (already established) then let's just wait and see. Knock off the talks. They aren't helping me.

See what they don't understand is that neither one of us is in control here. Not me, not them. I don't know how this is going to go and neither do they. Am I scared? Yeah. It's terrifying. But thankfully, I have a place to take it. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Some of that scripture used to confuse me. Like how is His burden light? And exactly how is His yoke easy? And what's a yoke anyway?? (In case you don't know, it's a heavy wooden harness that was used to attach oxen side by side to pull equipment to work the field.) Luckily, my Life Application Bible explains this so clearly. I love the visual of this.

See, when you're "yoked" to Him, the burden of whatever you are carrying rests on much bigger shoulders than your own. You have Him as your Partner to pull the weight, and that makes your burdens so much better. Otherwise, you would collapse under the pressure. There's no promise in there that it won't be hard, but there's a guarantee that you won't carry the heaviest part because He will. You're not doing it alone anymore. He's right there with you, and there IS rest for your soul. That's what I'm counting on. That's a promise that I am claiming because I AM weary. I AM burdened, and I DO need rest. So, I don't care what they tell me about not being able to "do it". Because I'm not doing it alone. And if He sees fit to help me through it and work every day I plan to, then I will. Either way, I won't crumble under the weight of my responsibilities because He has more pulling power than I do, more than any of us. I simply have to come to Him with my burdens, and then I find will rest.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Questions of a Child

Any mom with cancer will tell you that one of the most difficult things about having it is figuring out how you are going to tell your children. I had several sleepless nights trying to figure out exactly how, when, what to say... There's just no easy way to do it. Always prepared and doing a little research, I ordered several books to help me. Two were for him. One for me. One of the ones I bought for him I put aside immediately. It begins with a little boy who lives in a little white house with his Mommy and Daddy and has a big oak tree in their yard, complete with picket fence. Already, it wasn't our story. Daddy doesn't live at our house, and my oak tree in the front yard is sicker than I am. It probably won't make it through the winter this year. So, I nixed book #1.

Book #2 was beautiful. It's wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated and explained things at a child's level while covering everything I needed to tell him. I've had these books for a couple months, but haven't even attempted to read them to him. I couldn't. I couldn't read the beautiful one without crying and the other one annoyed me on page one. So, I told him about my cancer without them. It wasn't planned, pretty, or something I want to do again. But, either way, I told him just before my surgery.

I made sure to read the one I had purchased for me which covered all of the questions children might ask when they hear this news. Oddly enough, his first question was the title of the book, "Can I still kiss you?". Of course, that question was followed by a lecture about washing my hands more and covering my mouth when people sneeze. (Note to self, teach him to cover his own mouth...later.) Washing my hands more?? He doesn't know that if I did that any more, I'd be treated for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. So, I had to explain that this is a different kind of "sick". It went better than I thought. I decided to just save the book for later. I couldn't possibly read it without crying and making things worse. I thought I'd know it when I needed it. That night was last night...

Something happened last night that I have been trying to avoid since my surgery. I've been very careful to make sure it didn't, but it did anyway. Brayden saw my scars. I guess I had only thought about making sure there was no way for him to see me in the shower or while getting dressed. I never counted on him jerking down the neckline of my scooped-neck PJ's at prayer time to have a look. But then, why wouldn't he? We look at his boo-boo's all of the time. He's proud of them! Why wouldn't I be the same? It happened so fast, I could do nothing about it.

It shocked him. I was terrified, not sure how to react. I saw the fear on his face when he asked, "Why did they cut you that way?" So, I calmly explained that they had to cut me to get the cancer out. "Is it all out?" he asked. I told him we think so. "Will they fix it?" Yes my dear, they're going to fix it. Relief washed over his face. "Then why do you still have your hair?" He needed to put the pieces together. I grabbed book #2. This was the time. We read through it together for the first time and he seemed satisfied. Prayer time with kisses and it was over.

This morning he awoke just like he does everyday. Happy to be here, happy to be loved, and not worried about my cancer. Turns out the fear of telling far outweighed the trauma it caused. He's got a couple new dates on his mind, September 25 and October 3. Not exactly things to look forward to, but they are what they are. And we're going to get through this together.

©2009 80% Sporadic | by TNB