Something I Hope I Don’t Pass On

Filed Under: Life

This past week has been hell.

I know you just read that sentence and you think that I’m exaggerating but ever since coming back from BlogHer, Cara has had HUGE sleep issues. Three hours of screaming and bitching about her room being “too dark” and “too noise” [noisy] and her saying that she does not want to sleep in her “nice bed ANYMORE!!!”.

Add to that the fact that she’s bound and determined to give up her one nap. Hell, I don’t remember the last time she took a nap.

Ollie is still my Sunshine Boy and seems to take his sister’s mood swings and general crabbiness in stride…even when she pushes him down and tells him that she “NO LIKES OLLIE ANYMORE!”.

The only thing that has gotten me through this past week is the memory of me, at 14, lying on my bathroom floor in a cold sweat…dying.

Looking back on it now, I can remember “twinges” of discomfort in the month leading up to that Saturday but nothing that inspired me to tell my mom. Nothing that told me that something was really, really wrong.

I was a typical teenager and I usually slept late but this morning, I woke early [8am] and my stomach felt like someone had punched me and like I was constipated, all at the same time. How’s that for a pleasant way to wake up?

I can remember moving into the bathroom to wash my face and hoping that I would feel better but all the moving into the bathroom brought me was cold sweats. Moving made the pain worse and moving those eight or so feet into my bathroom felt like they were killing me.

By the time I was all the way into my bathroom, my clothes were soaked through and I was cold like I’ve never been…bone chilling cold and nothing I did would make me warm.

At the same time, I was so hot that all I wanted to do was take my clothes off and lay on the cold tile floor. And that’s what I did.

I stripped down. I laid down on the tile. I made the tile hot and wet and I blacked out.

Sometime later [I don’t know how much later since I couldn’t see my clock] I came around and I crawled to my mom’s room to tell her that I was sick. [No shit, right?]

Mom called my uncle [who’s a doctor] and got his wife [well…now ex-wife] who told Mom to get me a suppository and I would be right as rain. Luckily, Mom ignored the woman and Mom took me straight to my uncle’s Urgent Care.

One of the doctor’s in my uncle’s practice examined me and decided that I had Appendicitis and that I needed to get to the hospital right then.

Mom drove me and I felt Every. Single. Bump. In. The. Road.

Each time she hit a pothole, I screamed through the pain. I sweated through the pain. I didn’t cry…I had to be strong for my mom.

After what felt like hours, I was finally admitted and was rushed for emergency surgery since everyone was sure that my appendix had burst.

It hadn’t.

My appendix was a happy, normal shade of pink. Now, my right fallopian tube and ovary…they were another story all together.

When I woke up in recovery, I can remember various people. My dad. My grandpa. The anesthesia guy. I can remember someone telling me that if I had waited until the afternoon that I would have been dead. I can remember a doctor who I had never met before coming in and telling me that they had gotten all of the tumor. Wait. TUMOR?!

I can remember asking someone if I would ever be able to have babies. I don’t remember their response.

What I wasn’t privy to was my mom fighting like a crazy person to get into the OR. She was a surgical tech. at that hospital and she had assured them that she just wanted to hold my hand. Just like they had assured HER that seeing me cut open like a fish wasn’t something that she wanted to see.

In the end, my ole appendix was just fine but the cantaloupe size tumor that had done the mambo with my right tube and ovary wasn’t fine and in fact, it had started to rot in my abdomen and it decided to take my tube and ovary along with it.

Poor Appendix got taken along with the rest because it was at the wrong party at the wrong time.

I had an encapsulated dysgerminoma [go ahead and Google that one cause you’ll get a lot of medical journals] and it was a bitch who was conspiring to make me childless.

For a year after that surgery, I had a CAT scan every month.

I had blood work drawn every week. I saw a gynecological oncologist before I had ever had my first “exam”. I went back to school to learn that my choir teacher had told my entire choir that I had a hysterectomy. I was told that samples of my tumor were sent to St. Jude’s in Memphis to be studied and that I was going to be written up in a medical journal. I was told that if nothing came back in ten years that I was probably good but that the tumor liked to follow the female line and that most likely my biological mother or my biological sister had had the same thing.

My daughter will probably have the same thing and if she doesn’t, then her daughter almost certainly will.

So, when Cara is being an ass about going to bed or when she’s knocking her brother down because she was told “NO” about something, I can’t help but wonder when/if she will experience the same thing that I did.

Granted, it’s not a constant fear. Not something that I cut her slack for – this maybe tumor that she might develop. But, I do worry about it.

I worry about when she should start getting screened for it. We don’t know when my tumor started to grow; we don’t know how virulent it was.

I’ll mention my history to Cara’s pediatrician at Cara’s three year check-up and I’ll watch the pediatrician look at me like I have three heads but I’ll ask her anyway about when we should start the blood tests on Cara.

In the end, I hope that this is only my story and that it ends with me.

I hope that, out of all of the things that I can pass onto Cara, I hope that this isn’t one of them.

And I hope that some day very soon, she’ll go to sleep without screaming.

Image|Solange C