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