I started writing this on February 8, two weeks ago tonight. And this is what I wrote:
I am cranky.
I am short-tempered.
I am overwhelmed.
There are 28 days in February. I have 13 medical appointments of one sort or another. Some are minor: pre-operative blood and urine tests (including mandatory pregnancy test. I’ll wait while you clean up the coffee you just spit onto your computer); pre-operative EKG tests; follow-up physical therapy for my mastectomy-damaged left shoulder and arm.
Some are not so minor, like the comprehensive physical exam I have to get from my GP (whom I love) so that I am certified surgery-safe, as if I haven’t spent the last two years in doctors’ offices and there might be some risk lurking out there somewhere. Three days before my surgery, I have an annual mammogram and ultrasound, which should be routine, but having had enough “routine” appointments that turn out to be anything but, I take nothing for granted.
More than the stress of the appointments themselves, stress that is relatively minimal, is the time. The time they all take. Travel time to get to the office, waiting time, appointment time. It’s not uncommon for an appointment to take three hours: travel, waiting, the appointment itself. The three pre-op appointments take place at three facilities, requiring three separate appointments.
I did laundry last week for the first time since December. I’m behind on my grading. My apartment is a disaster, and a foster kitten that won’t let me near him isn’t helping. Oh, and that kitten apparently is infected with the parasite coccidia, which he considerately passed on to Imp, on whom I’ve now spent $1,000 in the last week trying to figure out what’s ailing her—blood tests and X-rays and half a dozen medications she won’t take—only to learn that a simple stool sample would have done it.
And now I try to figure out how to medicate a kitten that won’t let me touch him. The recommendation? Medication compounded into tuna-tasting liquid, once a day for three days, for both him and Imp. Six doses of the stuff cost $75.
I’m sick of dealing with all of it. And every time I start to give in to that feeling, I remember that I am lucky, so lucky. I know several people with metastatic breast cancer. A friend is about to undergo major surgery for endometrial cancer. I know people with terminal illnesses. It might suck to have cancer twice—and it does—but at least I keep being told that I’m going to be OK.
And then I wonder…when does that luck run out? Is this the beginning of a string of cancers that I’ll deal with for the rest of my life, however long that is? I mean, how many people get TWO cancers and still end up OK? Continue reading