Saturday, February 23, 2013

The C Word

"You have pneumonia."
Whew, it wasn't  appendicitis.  I was happy. Well, as happy as one can be being told they have pneumonia after their mother died from exactly that.  I took my antibiotics, my note forbidding me to work and headed home to rest as I was told. Pneumonia wasn't going to kill me.  Unfortunately, that simple sentence launched me into a whirlwind of doctors visits in which I saw 8 different specialists, I have since had 6 chest X-rays, 4 contrast CT scans, a PET scan, an MRI (under very heavy medication to keep me from having my first ever panic attack), a surgical gland removal, a bone marrow biopsy, a bout of the flu and now on Monday, a lung biopsy. Whew! That's a lot. I think I remembered it all.
My general doctor then tells me "I don't think you ever had pneumonia." Oh really?!  Doctors, they know ... But they don't know ... You know?
The night of my initial pneumonia diagnosis they stated I had a little spot in my lung. Over my diagnosis research, and all my X-rays and scans, that little lump remained. As did the large lump in my neck which they just kept saying was a swollen salivary gland. "It happens ... It will go down on its own."   Only, it didn't, ever. It only annoyed the crap out of me.
One of my many blood tests stated I had an autoimmune problem. So the docs started trying to name which problem I had. One of the specialists needed a tissue biopsy to confirm one of the conditions so finally, the large lump in my neck was coming out!! Answers were on the horizon!!!
Once home, resting with a pretty cool neck scar, my hubby and I started talking about dealing with said autoimmune issue, etc.. We'd be cleaning up our diet, being careful to stay healthy, yadda yadda.  It never even occurred that we would get different news. When I was having my neck stitches removed, the surgeon said "the biopsy results aren't back yet. There were a lot of plasma cells on it so it had to be sent to another lab for the final report." Ok, no biggie.
Ha. Wrong.
Later that day, ENT surgeon Dr. T. called with the final report.  My mind sort of went fuzzy the moment he started talking. Plasmacytoma, Dr. Z (oncologist) will be calling you later, blah blah. My mind stopped when I heard "Oma". Things that end with "Oma" in the medical community aren't ever a good thing!! But, I'd wait til I actually talked to Dr. Z.
Dr. Z. called and I went into even more of a tailspin. Plasmacytoma, multiple myeloma, bone marrow biopsy, lets do it Monday, its not good to have this at your age, bone marrow transplant, ....AHHHH! This isn't what they went in looking for!
My bone marrow biopsy was scheduled immediately for that Monday. I knew it was going to hurt. Holy CRAP! That sucked. That was horrible. There aren't words. Painkillers eased it but DAMN! And, the residual pain in my back. Not cool. Not to mention I now had a high fever and the doctor on the phone said "flu!". Really?! WTF is going on here?!
Anyway, long story short ... Bone marrow shows rare plasma cells but, not enough to be multiple myeloma. So I just have the plasmacytoma. Well, I don't anymore. But, they need to radiate the shit out of the area it was to make sure it's all gone.
My doctor does keep have to remind me ... It is cancer. Cancer! The new C word. I have cancer. I also have to say it. But, I can also say, I won't have it for long!!!!!
I'm set for my radiation as long as this upcoming biopsy is OK. And, I'm gonna keep thinking that it will all be OK. Because it will.
I will confess, I'm scared shitless of this lung biopsy. Shitless. The last biopsy made me want to be unconscious. I don't want anymore pain. I want to be on the road to recovery!  Yes, radiation has its own pain in the neck collection of side effects that will cause me to miss even MORE work, but, it's pushing me down the road to having a normal life again.
Dr. Z. says I will have to have blood work forever to make sure those little rogue plasma cells don't decide that my bone marrow is a warm and inviting home and decided to be fruitful and multiply.  I have been told it shouldn't come back until I'm way older, and that's what I'm going to go with.
Of course, ... This is all up in the air ... Until after Monday!

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