Phoebe's Wordier Follow-Up Post
I’ve been meaning to update everything that was going on when I posted last week, and then I go this morning to look at what I’d written, and I see Ryan’s amazing “The Fear” post and now all the little nuggets that were bouncing around in my head feel like the incoherent grunts of Frankenstein’s monster in comparison.
But I suppose I still feel inclined to give the more in-depth follow-up regardless, as I know people do want to know…
So, yeah. Let me start with my dad, because I know at least one person left a comment wondering if there was any update on his condition. My last post was on Wednesday. By Thursday, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was nervous about talking to him, but I had to call. I was surprised that the hospital managed to put me straight through to his room. And when I heard him on the other end of the line, I was just devastated. He sounded awful and even worse he said several times that he FELT awful. Hearing those words come from someone you love and not being able to do anything to help them is very difficult. (I understand even more, now, how people felt while I was sick.) He still did not seem to remember anything about the accident, but he DID know that someone told him he’d fallen off his bike and hit his head, but he didn’t know who they were or where he was. The worst part by far, though, was at one point during our conversation, he drifted into completely unintelligible babble. All I could pick out was something about “calling Detroit” because of something “about paradise”. It was confusing and frightening for me to hear him saying strange things that make no sense, especially since we are all worried about the brain injury and what the long-term effects will be. He did, however, repeatedly tell me he loves me and called me “baby” which is what he always calls me. That was reassuring. After we talked, I had a tearful breakdown (at work, no less – embarrassing) but managed to struggle through the rest of the day knowing that I had a 3 day weekend to look forward to.
Friday morning was the second mammogram. It was difficult not to worry, despite having been told during Mammogram Round 1 that it is common to get called back in for more imaging. I mean, it’s got to be difficult for anyone, but I’m not going to say that I don’t think it was a little harder for me knowing that I am now in a higher risk category for developing other types of cancer. This time, there were TWO women tugging at my cans and trying to pose me in impossible positions to get the pictures they needed. Keep in mind, at this point, I still only think they just need more images because of the density issue. And then they reveal that they are trying to get the lymph nodes in my armpits in the pictures. This is when I start to sweat. And you can’t wear deodorant to a mammogram, so it’s also when I started to stink. When they finally got what they needed (somehow wrecking a nerve in my shoulder that has made my entire arm hurt all week) it was back to the waiting room for me. A few minutes later, I’m called into the dreadful “Consultation Room”. Assuming this was where they’d be telling me I need a biopsy or something, I officially started to panic. But, no. She just told me the radiologist wanted an ultrasound done. Which I had ALSO been told the previous week might happen. Back to the waiting room where I ended up talking to a young woman who was also back for additional imaging and was super nervous as well. When I told her I had had cervical cancer, another woman in the waiting room piped in that she, too, had had cervical cancer 5 years ago. And there she was. Fine. Healthy. This turned my mood around considerably. And then the ultrasound technician came for me.
She squidged the warm goop into my pits and began rolling away with the little ultrasound gizmo. Said that the radiologist would be in after looking at the results and would likely also do another ultrasound herself. After a few minutes of this, the technician said that she was going to go get the radiologist… whose name was – DR. PARADISE!
You know how they say that people who are ill or dying (not that my dad is dying) or whatever are closer to the other realm or whatever you want to call it? More aware? Well at that moment, I was absolutely sure that my dad was there with me and that the incoherent babble from the day before about “paradise” had absolutely EVERYTHING to do with him keeping me calm and letting me know I was going to be OK!
***NOW, PAY ATTENTION MY TATTOOED LADY FRIENDS***
When Dr. Paradise came in, she told me that everything was FINE. She took one look at me and all my tattoos and explained that sometimes, the microscopic bits of metal that can be ingredients in certain tattoo inks can work their way into the bloodstream when you’re getting tattooed and then get picked up by the lymphatic system. They eventually lodge themselves in your lymph nodes and sort of calcify in there. So THAT is why they were taking all these extra pictures. (Well, that and my lovely young cans are so DENSE.) So yeah. All my inky girlfriends. Keep this in mind if YOU get called back when you go get your first mammogram! It may just save you some anxiety!
After this good news, I proceeded to have a great weekend with mum and knitting dad. We went to the aquarium (It didn’t suck, but wasn’t worth the price of admission. I give it a C+.) on Friday, the zoo on Saturday (which I always love, because I am 5 years old and love zoos. And while a little more crowded than I’d like, gets a A-, if only because I got to see my crazy parents ride a camel!!!), and Stan Hywet Hall, plus a visit to some life-long family friends in Akron. (Everything about Sunday gets an A+. Stan Hywet Hall’s gardens are to DIE for!!!)
Oh. And I did talk to my Dad one more time over the weekend. He sounded much more with it, had terrible things to say about someone we mutually hate (which was hilarious), and seemed to have his appetite back, which was good! While his voice still sounded strained and strange, he was definitely my same old dad in there, and that was VERY reassuring. I also got to talk to my Aunt Pat, who was there visiting him when I called, and she was able to tell me that there were no significant medical updates - not that the doctor has been any help relaying information… it’s ALL ABOUT THE NURSES! She said, and I quote, “We know who keeps the hospital running.” So true. (Can I pause here to say THANK YOU to all my amazing friends and family who are nurses or are in school to become nurses?! You guys are all THE BEST people in the world. I am proud to know each and every one of you!!!)
I think that is a good place to end my little follow-up (which took my entire lunch break to type – not so little, as it turned out…). Thanks to everyone who continues to follow along. The need for support through the cancer journey doesn’t ever end. It’s good to know so many people are still with us.
Love to you all,