One morning, when I was 14, I was quite rudely awakened by a knife in my stomach.
At least that’s what it felt like.
I don’t know how long I laid on the tiny, black and white tiles in my bathroom with nothing on but my birthday suit and just sweat.
Buckets and buckets of sweat.
If I moved, it hurt. If I didn’t move, it hurt. If I thought about moving, my brain bitch slapped me and made me hurt just as a warning to not move.
Basically I felt like:
Mom drove me to my uncle’s practice (He’s a doctor.) and his partner examined me and decided I had appendicitis.
Off to the hospital we went.
We got there and these little old lady volunteers wearing bright pink, two-sizes too big smock things apparently couldn’t tell by all my grimaces and sweat and stuff that I was obviously about to be dead and they gave Mom all kinds of static about “proper check-in procedures” and what have you.
They were like the Little Old Lady Proper Check-In Procedures Mafia or some crap.
Eventually I was wheeled back to the OR–I don’t remember this part.–and the general surgeon was all ready to cut out my appendix and LUCKILY he dug around in there since his hand hit something big.
Something big that wasn’t supposed to be in mah body.
They called in a new doc and he dug around and snipped out my right tube, ovary and the big thing. An encapsulated dysgerminoma. I’ll cut it short for you here and just say it’s a (usually) malignant germ cell tumor that is very sensitive to chemo and radiation and has an awesome cure rate.
I lucked out in that the doc only gave me a right salpingo-oophorectomy (He took out my right tube and ovary since they were all wrapped up with the necrotic tumor and there wasn’t any saving those dudes.) and thus (though we couldn’t know for sure) preserved my fertility.
I guess the other doc took out my appendix (cause that’s what you do with an appendix) since I don’t have that anymore. Maybe he felt left out?
After that I became well versed in the AFP non-pregnant blood test (I had blood drawn like once a week for a coon’s age.), CT scans with and w/out contrast and the dos and don’ts when it comes to abdominal ultrasounds.
Other than my junior high school choir teacher telling everyone I had a hysterectomy, things actually weren’t that bad when you get right down to it.
Granted, I did look to my 24th birthday with crazy eyes since I had been told if nothing happened within ten years then I was considered cured.
And nothing did happen.
It took us over a year to end up pregnant with Cara. Scar tissue had done a number on Old Lefty and had blocked that fallopian tube something fierce but that’s nothing a little radiographic dye during a hysterosalpingography couldn’t fix.
Painless procedure. OK. I’m lying.
When the radiologist says, “You’re going to feel a pinching sensation,” what she really means is, “I’m going to inject a ton of dye into your blocked fallopian tube and it’s going to feel like baby ducks rubbing up next to you in a comforting manner.”
I’m lying again.
“Pinching” is code for “cramps from hell.” And said Hell Cramps last for a heck of a long time. But don’t worry. The Navy will give you Motrin. Motrin is their wonder drug. In case you were wondering.
So here I am some years (I ain’t telling how many.) later, with two kids and a not so annoying husband and I pretty much forget all that stuff happened.
I mean, I didn’t really have cancer. Sure I had a big-ass tumor removed but it was long, long dead (basically rotting inside of me) and I never had to have chemo or radiation or any of that horrible crap.
I got off easy.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering where all of this came from and you’re in luck! I’m gonna tell you.
Earlier I read a post by this psychiatrist named Elana. Someone had shared her cancer post on Facebook. I don’t know Elana from Adam, though she does seem cool as hell, but her post Love Is… (Holy Shit, I Have Cancer) is awesome and you should read it. I commented that I had a “…tiny inclining as to what [she is] going through right now.”
And I kind of do. But then again, I don’t.
She and I were in two completely different places when we found out. I ended up being able to have kids. She might not. I survived the cancer or tumor or whatever you want to call it and she doesn’t know if she will. She has a professional life already established and I was just a kid.
Now that I’ve written all of this out I realize I might not know Elana (Hope you don’t mind me being all familiar and shit, Elana.) but I hope her body gets its shit straight and kicks some cancer cell ass. Because, you know, I do kind of know where she’s at right now and it blows and the only thing that makes all the bullshit worth it is the other side when things go back to normal.
Here’s to hoping Elana gets her normal back.