Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cephalorectal extraction

The past week and a half has brought a slew of poking and prodding for K: scans, X-rays, blood work, the placement of a mediport for chemo. I, on the other hand, have focused on one critical procedure: a cephalorectal extraction. For the layperson that means I'm trying to get my head out of my ass.

I've been walking around in a fog for weeks and I simply don't have time to screw around. I have a manuscript for a novel due June 1st. Then there's L's schedule which means starting crock pot meals by noon on baseball days, ensuring he has enough snacks and water, juggling two practices and four games a week. Showing up at the right field at the right time with the right jersey on is no small feat. Not to mention that planning meals around our strained budget means I cook most foods from scratch each and every day. Plus there's general household chores to prevent my home from devolving into a shit hole reeking of sweaty man-parts, dirty socks, unwashed dishes and overflowing trashcans.

I have no time to have my head so far up my ass that I can see my uvula, but that's been my modus operandi lately. Flitting from task to task, finishing nothing and creating more work in the long run. Oh and I've been baking a lot too. I don't get it either. When I'm stressed I bake. I don't even eat what I bake. It's a strange compulsion that I really don't have the time or enough letters following my name to examine. All I know is it's got to stop. Cindy, put down the sifter and back away from the oven!

Yesterday, I took a good long at myself and saw a woman going through the stages of grief. Why? WHY?! It makes no sense. I'm not the one with cancer. What is happening to K isn't happening to me... or is it?

During our weekly wine and whine session, we talked about that very phenomenon. It's true, I'm not the one facing my mortality. I'm not the one who's already endured three surgical procedures just to get ready for the main event. I won't have poisons injected into my blood stream. I won't puke my guts out and I won't lose my hair. But that doesn't mean it isn't ripping my heart out to know that someone I love dearly is going through all this. The same phrase echoes over and over in my head: I don't want this for her.

When I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. If you must get cancer, this is the one to hope for. Traditional medical wisdom states, "No one dies from thyroid cancer" which isn't quite true. About 1900 people will die this year from the disease and I don't want to be disrespectful to the families who will lose or have lost someone to the cancer "no one" dies from. That being said, there's a reason there aren't walks and 5Ks to raise money for thyroid cancer research and it doesn't boast a colored ribbon either. It's very treatable with surgery and radioactive iodine.

Even though I had the SpongeBob of cancers, by the time my team of doctors declared my treatment successful over a year later, I felt as though they had put me through a series of medieval tortures, not to get me well, but just for the hell of it. I also would never again enjoy that sense of immortality my peers seemed so certain of. To this day every lump, every bump, every anomaly on any test scares the bejesus out of me. I think, "Crap. Here we go again." Based on that limited experience, when I think of K's cancer, the multiple surgeries, the tests, the twenty weeks of chemo and all the indignities that come with it, all that comes to mind is: I don't want this for you.

But if wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

Therefore, I will pull my head out of my ass. I have to function not only for my family and K's sake, but for my own. Life hasn't stopped so neither can I. K shows me that every time she does something brave such as making an appointment with a wig shop, barreling headlong into treatment--the sooner the better, or just getting out of bed in the morning.

Cephalorectal extraction complete. It's time to get to work!

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