This week I’ve had to deal with:
- Our 16 year old cat with hyperthyroidism growing a strange lump that the vet thinks is thyroid cancer
- A nest of baby house finches perched on our window frame awning was mysteriously torn apart just two days before they were due to fly
- Me being told that I may have cancer
Now, having to hear the word “cancer” in a medical office just once in a week is bad enough, but hearing it twice makes you want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your eyes.
I woke up with cramps. That’s normal for me when I’m menstruating. I’m 40 years old and still have all my bits. If my parents were smart, they would’ve had me spayed like the cats when I was six months old. It would have saved us all a lot of bother. But no, they kept me and my raging hormones and ovaries intact.
I finally had to get out of bed because the cramps were so bad. I drank a full glass of milk and had two over the counter naproxen. That usually takes care of it, although it takes about an hour for the drugs to kick in.
About a half hour later, I had to use the toilet. The cramps suddenly increased, so I decided to take a warm bath. That ought to help.
Here’s where things get gross, so be warned.
The pain came suddenly and in waves. It tore from my chest all the way down to my toes. It bent my back so that I was incapable of sitting up straight. I had a normal bowel movement, but the inside of my body reacted as if it was trying to pass a series of bones. I guess the bones shed from my spine or ribs. I don’t know. You get into so much pain that you start thinking that anything is possible.
I sweat so badly that I wished I could shave all of the hair off of my head. I couldn’t inhale properly and began to pant. I felt an urge to push and push and push. I passed what seemed like a toilet bowl full of blood and blood clots and then a quarter-sized chunk of tissue.
I’m no Einstein, but even I know that chunks of unidentifiable squishy material should not be popping out of my genitalia.
By this time, I couldn’t speak. I was naked, couldn’t stand up and couldn’t yell for help. My Mom was somewhere in the house and I needed to let her know I was in trouble. The only thing I could do was make a fist and pound on the bathtub.
Not a Pretty Sight
So there I was, naked as the day I was born, sweating buckets, incapable of coherent speech and squatting on the toilet. That’s how Mom found me. And she asked the inevitable Mom question, “Are you all right?”
“Need! Strong! Est! Pain! Kill! Er! You! Got!”
By the time Mom came back, if she had given me a loaded gun I would have unhesitatingly shot myself in the head. Fortunately, she gave me one of the Percosets she uses for her spinal arthritis. Within an hour, the pain had eased to the point where I could crawl into a nightgown and collapse into bed.
NOTE: NEVER share painkillers with family or friends. I was taking a chance, but in my condition it was a risk I was wiling to take.
Now, pain is no stranger to me. I’m the survivor of domestic abuse. I get migraines. I’ve been inside of a Dodge Omni when it was being turned into an accordion by a Mack truck. All of those were nothing compared to the pain I experienced.
The nest day, Mom called our gynecologist because I was still too shattered to speak in complete sentences. Before Mom finished the list of my symptoms, the receptionist was yelling, “Get her in here now!”
In the Doctor’s Office
I’ll skip the exam and cut right to the exam. I was told my pain was due to one of two things:
1) Endometriosis (which sucks)
2) Pre-cancerous signs of the reproductive organs (which REALLY sucks)
Granted, I was too stunned to ask what the difference is between “pre-cancerous” and “cancerous.” Pre-cancerous sounds like “a little bit of cancer.” And even I know that having a little bit of cancer is just like being a little bit pregnant.
I had to bleed into six or seven vials to rule out thyroid problems and to check my Vitamin D levels. I think they’re also giving me a pregnancy check even though the last time I did the Wild Thing was 2004. And, considering that most have body has gone south, the chances of me ever doing the Wild Thing again are smaller than that of me getting buried alive by an avalanche of hedgehogs.
Next month, I get an invasive ultrasound. How invasive is this ultrasound? The wand gets STUCK up my YOU KNOW WHAT and I don’t think you can get any more invasive than that. Just my luck, the wand will be up me and the technician will look at the monitor and say, “What the hell is THAT???” And then I’ll have a disease that no one else is ever had and they’ll name it after me.
Meanwhile, two months ago I booked a trip to Leipzig, Germany to see Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra for mid-September. I’d seen the tour two times previously in Berlin and New York City and this was the tour’s last hurrah. So I thought I’d hurrah over and hurrah with them. Unfortunately, that drained my bank account. Un-hurrah.
There’s no way I’m missing a Peter Gabriel concert. I’m going to insist on postponing any hysterectomy until after I get back. Besides, going to the concert and wondering if my ovaries will implode at any moment will just add to the excitement. Since my life has turned into a Peter Gabriel song, what better soundtrack can I find?
I’m hoping there’s a tumor that looks like Peter Gabriel. Then I could sell the ultrasound image on eBay and help pay the mountain of medical bills I’m going to face. Dying on the operating table I can face – but not these medical bills. If I’m lucky then Peter Gabriel will accidentally eat a stage hand’s LSD brownie, becomes enflamed with the delusion that he can fly and takes a running leap from the stage and lands on top of me in such a fashion that my neck snaps and I become paralyzed and can sue.
So I could pay him to do it again.
In the meantime before Leipzig, life, as I have been graphically reminded, is short. I’m now trying every single flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sold in Clifton Heights. If anyone tries to contact me and doesn’t hear from me, you know where I am.