We Got It All

Now, I have to remove the elephant from my house.

Cancer.

Fear, and the surreal feelings after surgery to remove part of my left lung, have now become a part of what makes me, me. I’ve written about my cancer fears, but I’ve left quite a few posts private, because I didn’t want sympathy or pity. I have enough pity for myself, sorry, but I don’t want to invite anybody to my party—the hats are ugly, the noise makers sound flat–and there’s no cake.

I used to think the story behind the discovery of my cancer was important to tell. I still believe it is, because there are a lot of people who have been breathing second hand smoke, have been exposed to carcinogens at their workplace, smokers, or former smokers. Their lungs need attention. The same attention our boobs and our nether regions receive. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any studies that prove my theory that early detection could change the prognosis of lung cancer, at any stage.

I will keep searching, but I have to break it down, doing a little bit at a time. To read about it, I can no longer hide behind my fear–if that makes any sense to y’all.

My cancer diagnosis is what led me to therapy. For the last three years, I have fought through grief, and so much self-hate, I feel as if I have learned to embrace who I am. However, I have been left holding a bag full of obsessive actions, used to deal with how my mind is processing the fact that I had lung cancer.

I need to write about it. As a friend of mine and I would say to each other….It is time, Mufasa (said with a deep and authoritative voice)–yeah, we poached it from Disney’s, The Lion King.

Any who aren’t interested, I will let you know up front that a post will be about my lung cancer journey. Feel free to scroll right on by.

Another reason I need to write, is that in some sort of twisted way, I feel guilty.

Stage 1a Lung Adenocarcinoma—that’s what the pathology report said. According to my thoracic surgeon, after removing a segment of my lower left lobe, that was the extent of treatment required. The protocol for this stage of lung cancer, with no lymph node involvement, does not include chemotherapy–the fancy medical name would be adjuvant chemotherapy.

Many doctors have told me I’m cured. My therapist has taught me how to control the obsessive thoughts over what I have no control of, and what isn’t a fact at this moment. But, that crappy little place in my mind that is holding the cancer thoughts, isn’t paying attention.

We must stay positive

I had such positive thoughts at my 3-year scan, that I didn’t take my babysitter with me when I went to the oncologist for the results.

My oncologist was a Ms. Chatty Pants, and then blindsided me with my scan results. I had been anxiously awaiting these results because for the last year, I have had some “hazy” opacities on the upper part of my left lung. This could be many different things, but my Twilight Zone Pulmonologist assured me that I would never see cancer again. The “hazy” stuff was not an early sign of cancer recurrence. If the area changed with this scan, we would discuss further tests–one of them being a bronchoscopy.

Anyway, that hazy patch was unchanged. In fact there was very little mention of it. However, a new nodule was discovered on my right lung, and some funky stuff on my spleen and liver. I have to wait until June for further tests. I will be taking my babysitter with me when I receive the results of that test.

I have accepted that I have a couple of months wait, but now I have new thoughts running through my mind.

She listened to my lungs, and heart. Asked me about the medications I was taking and how I was doing mentally. She then looked into my ear.

She billed for the visit to her office, as well as a depression diagnosis, and a diagnosis of an ear infection….as if an oncology appointment isn’t expensive enough. I could tattle on her to our insurance company, but I have a suspicion they won’t be paying for that part of her bill anyway.

So, where does my guilt come from? Heck if I know. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had to experience any more invasive treatments. I still have all my hair, and losing that tiny section of lung, hasn’t had much effect on my breathing.

My mind? It’s a wild place where I keep the cancer thoughts stored. Every little pain or spot I find, I think — OMG! IT MUST BE CANCER!

I have had an ear infection for 2 1/2 months, and this morning, before my ear doctor’s appointment, I had thoughts of having to have my ear removed because it was cancerous. (I told you it was wild in there)

I know I hear what my doctors are telling me, but it takes me a while to process the facts. I play the conversations over and over in my mind, making sure I understand everything I was told.

My oncologist asked if I had a supportive husband. I just remembered that question, yesterday. Why would she ask me that question? Was it because he didn’t make it to that appointment? He was at all the others–the only reason he didn’t go was because his father had just passed away. Will I be needing some more support?

Now I doubt my compliance to wait three months.

Because I have been stashing these thoughts, I’m still not fully engaging in life. The thoughts are holding me back, and I must write about them.

(Maybe it will help you, my dear, to understand why I’m driving you nuts with all my nonsense)

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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25 Responses to We Got It All

  1. mewhoami says:

    I appreciate your honesty and don’t think you should ever be concerned with ‘bothering’ people with them. I for one, am not bothered by your thoughts, your fears or your frustrations. It’s good to get them out and people do need to hear these stories. Thank you April, for your words…all of them.

    • mewhoami says:

      And two months of waiting is ridiculous! Don’t they understand (or care about) the stress that puts people under?

      • April says:

        It’s really difficult to know when to push, or simply being a nuisance. With my first diagnosis, the nodule was nearly 1/2 inch–or in their language, 1 CM. That was big enough to make a fuss about. The nodule was also easier to see due to the size, and the shape of it, and the characteristics were too suspicious to let it go.

        These new finding are millimeters.The largest being 5 mm. That’s smaller than a grain of rice. It would be extremely hard to even perform a needle biopsy. In this instance, I think I have no other option but to wait. I don’t want to have part of my right lung removed to find it’s nothing. I’m not sure what they would do with the spleen, but I sent a letter to my primary torturer…if she thinks I need to see a specialist she will send me….but that would be my oncologists office.

        I can wait, and I will make it, I just have to release the fear.

        And thank you for your kind words, about my words πŸ™‚ Glad we met through WordPress!

        • mewhoami says:

          I understand that. With 5 mm, there’s only so much that they can and are willing to do. As you said, unless necessary, it would be nice to keep your parts intact. πŸ™‚ It’s good that you are staying up on it as much as you are though. Also, I kind of laughed at your mention of reading into your doctor’s words about your husband. I would have done the same thing. ‘What do you mean, is he supportive? Does he need to be?’ Maybe they should train more on what not to say or how to better say it.

          You’re welcome and so am I! πŸ™‚

    • April says:

      Thank you so much!

  2. meANXIETYme says:

    The obsessive health anxiety I understand. It’s an issue I’ve been living with for probably close to 13 years. Every spot, every ache, every pain…my mind goes to the worst. It, too, is something I continue to work on in therapy. It’s getting better, but I still have to talk to myself a lot and use “all the tools in my toolbox” (echoes of my therapist saying that to me…)
    My feeling is, no matter how much you think your story only pertains to you, others can benefit from it in their own way. I’m appreciative of you sharing it, so know that.

    • April says:

      Thanks. I was also hoping for a bit of camaraderie. Either I’m a bit challenged with WordPress, or there simply aren’t many people with lung cancer who are writing blogs. Breast cancer seems to be a topic well written about, but lung cancer is a stigma, just as any mental illness. Thanks for reading!

      • meANXIETYme says:

        I hate the thought that there is a stigma attached to lung cancer. My great-aunt (whom I was close to) had lung cancer and she never smoked a day in her life. It can happen with the person being a smoker, no question. And even if the person WAS a smoker, NO ONE DESERVES CANCER. So I’m doubly glad you are talking about it, because no illness-mental or physical–should be stigmatized.

  3. Gallivanta says:

    Yikes! I had to wait about 48 hours for the results of a breast biopsy, last year, and it did my head in completely. Everything was okay but I was a wreck. And in the waiting room before the biopsy all I could think was one of us in here is not going to get a good result, and why should I wish that good result should come to me and not someone else. Guilt! 😦

  4. I don’t find you being nonsensical at ALL. I don’t know who could possibly be thinking anything different given the same situation. Of course you worry and ponder and fret. I’m glad you’re writing about it though. Hitting ‘publish’ or ‘private’ is up to you of course, but at least you are writing it out. And if that helps then by all means write write write. And we will read read read.

  5. reocochran says:

    You are in my prayers, April. I will be specific to God. May He heal your spot (nodule) on your right lung and the funky stuff you mentioned on your liver and spleen. I believe that you are very brave, don’t think anyone would skip on over your posts. I just have time constraints and miss checking out everyone’s posts… You are in my thoughts, even when I am not here. Take care and hope that you can feel some lessening of your burden. So happy that you have a supportive and loving husband and your babysitter sounds awesome, or you would not be including her on your next visit! Smiles and hugs, Robin

    • April says:

      Oh, please don’t don’t think I’m not happy if someone skips over my posts. I mostly write to get my feelings out. Also, there are so many great blogs to read! I have to stop and make time to read my favorites, and I’m not working! My babysitter is my husband. πŸ˜€ Thank you for thinking of me and including me in your prayers.

  6. suzjones says:

    Oh my goodness – between the two of us and our spiralling thoughts, it’s a wonder we aren’t sharing a padded cell!
    One step at a time my friend. We can do this. Our thoughts are not the sum of us unless we allow them to be. What do they say? Change your thoughts, change your life?
    That can be my next book – want to contribute to it πŸ˜‰

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