Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just an Any Old Kind of Day...

...that's what today was, and it was glorious. Jim's dad came up to help with the yard some today and they tilled and clipped and deliberated and got some of the ground ready for my happy little vegetable seedlings. I actually managed to plant my strawberries today, it was such a fabulous day and I was feeling pretty spry. Granted, now I'm feeling pretty tired, but it was worth it. I've been using the pain meds less and less frequently, which is a good sign. I still walk like an old lady, all hunched over and slow, but I can walk now. I keep trying to forget that this was the little surgery and that after the big one, Ima be in some serious trouble. Just behaving myself over the last couple of days has been tough.

I'm officially on leave from work now, and I've been living like a house cat (my goal for my next life, coming back as a kitty. they really have it good), just eating and napping and having Jim see to my every whim and desire. I have to say, it doesn't suck. At all. My new goal may be to become a kept woman, hehe. The only down side to this is that the government doesn't offer any assistance to people who have any kind of short term disability (less than a year) or who aren't expected to die from their issues. Gotta love the government and all those silly rule things... So we're being pretty frugal here. I could've gone back to work for about two days, but the extra stress and drama are so not worth it to me. Besides, I do occasionally work with machinery, and me on meds and machinery do not mix at all well. Me on meds and anything isn't really a good mix, but that can't be helped.

Thank you all again for the good wishes, and the hugs and warmth. I should have some test results this week, hopefully by Friday at the latest, and I will let you all know. Jim has indeed been amazing, and it makes me smile to tell him that other people agree with me. All the care and tenderness and sweetness are just second-nature to him, at least when it comes to me. I couldn't ask for a better partner, truly. He amazes me every day.

And now, dear friends, I think it's time for me to go. I feel another nap coming on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am Never Broken...

... even when there are a couple of holes in me. As Momolla mentioned, we don't have good news from the procedure on Tuesday. Still, we don't have much news at all, so that's not necessarily a terrible thing. Basically, the lining around my lung looks healthy, which is a good sign, but the alien lung baby is also chilling right up on my spine, which is a less good thing. It's still removable, the doctors just want to be completely, totally sure they know exactly what it is before they go in and remove it now, since it could affect my spinal column. Momolla's pretty upset about this, and I think Dadumms was a little worked up, too, but Jim and I are taking this all in stride. Perhaps it's because we've been living the nightmare firsthand for so much longer, who knows? But at this point, I'm not even really all that surprised that the first round of tests from the procedure wasn't definite. None of the other procedures have come back with a definitive answer, it doesn't seem too unreasonable that this one wouldn't, too. The exact nature of Laslow-Mitford has been pretty difficult to pin down from the first.

I'm in a fair amount of pain, since there are a couple of holes in my side and back, but I've got some decent medicine to take the edge off. I'm trying to get up and moving when I can, and to eat and drink as frequetly as possible, since the meds make you nauseous on an empty stomach.
Through all of this, Jim has been amazing. He was there when I woke up from the procedure and he stayed as long as he was allowed (he said at one point, i looked up and asked him "will you stay with me and hold my hand" and it just about broke his heart. i was on reallllly good drugs and have no memory of this.) and fed me ice chips when I surfaced from the drugs and held my hand and basically was there. I can't tell you how comforting his presence was. He has tended me gently and thoughtfully since we came home yesterday. He reminds me to take all my pills, even the gross ones, he lets me lean on him when I need to stand up or sit down or otherwise move. He brings me ice chips and cleans up the puke in the trashcan and helps me get washed (no shower til tomorrow night. ick!) and reaches things for me and is sweet and wonderful and without him to lean on, I would be in deep, deep trouble.

We're waiting about another week for the latest test results, and as soon as I have them, I will share them. I'll try to keep you guys updated as I can. Thanks so much for all the good wishes and the hugs. Hopefully, I'll be more present online this week, as I wean myself of the pain pills. For the moment, I babble and I'm sleepy all the time, so not everything I post may make sense.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Surgery Date...

...Tuesday, the 21st at about six am. I met with my surgeon today, and a couple of other friendly doctor-type folk, and the game plan is to start with a small surgery that can potentially become a big surgery. Basically, even after all this time and all these tests, we still can't be sure whether this is a sarcoma or not. The chances are still really small, but because sarcomas shed cells, there's a pretty high chance of a recurrence if it's not treated properly the first time. So, come Tuesday, I'm going to be put to sleep and my doctor will put a couple of holes in me and jam a camera in my chest to look at the lining around the lung. If the pleura (lung lining) looks clear and healthy, and the chunk they're biopsying (biopsy while you wait, i guess they took me seriously when i mentioned i was heartily pissed about the last one) tests negative, the nice surgeon will go ahead and cut me open and scoop the tumor out. If it is cancer, I get put back together and will go through five or six weeks of radiation treatment five days a week for an hour a day. Fun times! The weird thing is that I won't know what's going on until I wake up. Jim and my parents and his mom will all be waiting outside and will probably know what's going on before I do, which is a little weird. Jim said he'd leave me a big note that said either "big cut" with a happy face, or "small cut" with a sad face for when I wake up. I'm going to get an epidural, and some anesthesia, so I'll need small words when I first wake up.

If this isn't a sarcoma, then I'll be in the hospital for about a week (five to seven days. i'm aiming to bust out before that, though. being a patient creeps me out), then my recovery time will be about six to eight weeks (jim keeps reminding me that that's the minimum. i refuse to acknowledge that. eight weeks is forever!). The vacation from work will be nice and I'll get lots of knitting in, but I will be out a paycheck. Being the young, invincible idiot that I am, I didn't elect to pay for disability coverage with my insurance. I'll still have a job to go back to, but no income while I'm not actually working. My dear friend Amy offered to put together a beef'n'beer for me a while back, and it looks like I'll be taking her up on that. It pains me quite a lot to be reduced to begging, but well, it's either that or not pay my rent. I think living out of one's car is generally considered poor form when one is expected to rest and recuperate. I'm going to try to con Momolla and Kate out of some hand-knitted items and whip up some myself. I'm also going to call around to some local places where I grew up and ask for donations towards a silent auction or something. Somehow, selling stuff feels better than just asking for cash, you know? I'm also going to set up an etsy store and sell some easy handmade scarves. They're easy for me to make, they look nice, and I'll be knitting anyway, so I might as well use the product for something, well, productive, right?

If all goes well on Tuesday, I may or may not have internet access for a week. Momolla will update promptly, I'm sure, and I may have Jim log on just to let you guys know I made it through all right. If all doesn't go well, you'll be hearing from me a lot quicker. This is one of those cases where no news is good news, so please don't panic if you don't hear anything right away.

I'd like to take a minute before I sign off to send some thank-yous out. Monique sent me a great little book a couple of weeks ago that made me smile. It's all about how to beat stress by joining those around you in perpetrating it. For instance, it recommends inviting all your ex-lovers for dinner at once. I got a great chuckle out of reading it, and I still go back and page through when I need a laugh.

RoseRed sent me a great package of happy. I actually received it a few weeks ago and was waiting to blog it until I had pictures. But well, that got shot all to hell. The package contained a beautiful pair of socks (some gorgeous, perfect hederas), some chocolate (what exactly is a violet crumble? it sounds good but i'm almost afraid to eat it. and there's some fair trade chocolate, too, called sinless dark. it's delicious!), a skein of gorgeous Noro that's all soft and fuzzy and just begging to be a set of handwarmers and some wool wash that will be perfect for my socks, which were worn the very day after I received them (i was wearing socks momolla made for my birthday, else i'd have put them on then and there).

I know they don't really read my blog, but my Jersey girls banded together and got me my first set of real, growed-up tableware. I have a beautiful set of plates and bowls and such that grace my table. I'm grateful for all the hand-me-downs we've gotten to fill the kithcen out so we weren't eating off of the bare table and out of pots. But it's so nice to have a set of dishes that match and are all shiny and new and amazing. And there are placemats to put beneath them, too, and dishtowels that actually absorb water.

Jim gave me dirt for my birthday. No, really. But I asked him to, because I've been wanting to grow things in our tiny patch of backyard since we moved in, but we just didn't make time last year. Granted, Jim will be planting my seedlings for me this year, but I have vegetables to grow and some great flowers to put out front and a border for the beds so that the yard looks kempt and clean and cared for. Perhaps the neighbors will leave us alone this year.

All the presents have been wonderful. I love surprises and I love the excitement of a wrapped parcel. But I also love all the comments and the warmth and the mental hugs and the caring you've all given me. I'm not glad this happened to me, but I am grateful that I have such an amazing support network to fall back on. If it had to happen, at least it happened when I'm surrounded by love and support and generosity of spirit. Thank you all for listening to me whine and moan and be melodramatic and grumpy and scared. Your encouragement and your fierceness give me strength and hope. I am truly in awe of the love and the support that I've been given, and I am humbled by your kindness and sweetness and humor. And the offers to do some ass whoopin' on my behalf are also much appreciated. If I need to call a hit squad for something, I'm set.

I may or may not be able to squeeze one more entry in over the weekend. I'm aiming to get my house cleaned and the beginning of my garden in order before I'm not allowed to move for a while. I promise that you'll hear from someone, whether it's me or Jim, by Wednesday or Thursday, though, if not sooner. It's so strange that I've been mentally preparing for this and now, finally, it's here and I feel like I'm not ready yet. The good part is that I'm not scared, I'm just straight up mad. This alien lung baby is hurting me, and it is so time for it to go. Gods willing, by the next time or two that I write, it'll have had its ass kicked and I will be sitting on the couch, enjoying some lovely pain meds while Jim does chores for me. I hope your weekend goes well and smoothly and is full of the kind of weather we're having for once.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm the Punchline...

...the joke being, there are no test results. Why? Because there is no test. So, gentle readers, I am giving you another quick update to let you know that I still, two months into this thing, do not know what is going on. I have another early-morning appointment in the city tomorrow, so that I can schedule another, bigger, better biopsy. I swear, I'm not so much a person any more as I am a lab animal. I'd flesh this out a little more, but I'm so damned angry right now that none of it would be fair or right or even readable. But to wait a month for results from a test, only to find out that there is no test? Even my patience has limits. I want to scream and break things and kick small animals and push children off of playground equipment and steal old ladies' purses and pop people's tires. Instead, I'm going to New Jersey to visit a friend who's in the US on leave who I see only a time or two every year. In the morning, I'll talk to my surgeon and be rational, patient, and friendly again. But if, in the mean time, you hear something explode or see a little red-haired person on the news with a headline about arson, well, don't be too surprised.

Well...

...yeah. Wow, it's been almost a month since last I posted. I'm sorry about that, guys. Some of you are probably starting to wonder, I'm sure. It's been an eventful four weeks or so. I fought off a bout of bronchitis, had an allergic reaction to something after a PET scan, and had a birthday. I've been showered in gifts and love. I've filed my taxes, mostly, and have been trying to sleep and to talk to a doctor, any doctor, about my test results. Still no word about what the alien lung baby is, but we're going to find out tomorrow, or by all that is holy, I am going to make somebody somewhere cry. This is the short version, to let you all know I'm not dead or consumed by anything weird. Just kind of crazed with everything going on. I'll post some pictures tomorrow or Thursday (for real this time, I promise) because I have lots of amazing presents to show off.