Tomorrow is the one year mark. It’s been one year since Brad was diagnosed. They told us he might have a year, and we knew it would be quick.
Brad and I made a lot of decisions that day and the days moving forward. He had been ill for awhile by then. Almost 6 months of not feeling well. Those six months were very hard, but they were nothing compared to what was to come.
There are lots and lots of tears tonight. Tears mostly for the kids, but also for me.
Every time this appointment comes around, there’s so many feelings and so many fears.
Yesterday was my follow up contrast CT scan. It didn’t go so well. Because of the cancer that I had, and the lymph nodes that had to be removed, I cannot have needle sticks or blood pressure taken on the right side of my body. That leaves me with one arm. For injections, for blood draws, for anything that needs to happen with a vein, I am not your girl.
Yesterday for my appointment, I had to have contrast dye during my CT scan which meant I needed to have an injection. That way, when they do my scan, at first they look at my body without contrast, and then they look at my body just after the contrast is injected. The dye is radioactive, and shows up brightly on X-ray images. It helps to show where any potential metabolism (rapid movement)would be indicating there might be cancer. It’s one of the reasons that you might be instructed not to eat before you have a scan. Because your body would still be digesting food and showing movement in that area. Anyway, I needed to have a radioactive dye injected in my arm so that they could take images and check for recurrence of cancer.
When I arrived to my appointment, I let her know that my phlebotomists, nurses and lab techs in the past have never been very successful. I’m a ““hard stick“. She tried once. Then she looked at me and said, “ooooh I’m sorry. You’re right.” Just after my vein blew. Another woman came in from a specialist team to try another tactic. She was successful initially, but when I was laying down for my CT, something didn’t feel right, and sure enough, that vein blew too. CT was finally completed and I was able to go to my six month check at the cancer center today. Where they drew more blood 😩.
There is absolutely nothing that compares to the stress of waiting to hear if you have cancer again. I run through all the scenarios in my mind. Where will the kids go, what will I do, what’s next, how long do I have… I haven’t slept well for a few days, but tonight?
TONIGHT I GET TO SLEEP.
For at least the next six months, I don’t have cancer.
I’ve spent the last couple of months figuring out this new life. I’ve also spent a good amount of time pondering regrets that I have. Mostly about my life with Brad. Maybe I shouldn’t have argued about that stupid thing, or stood my ground on that point, or made that purchase on something so frivolous instead of saving my money for things that matter.
This week, I broke down in a public setting. I did a little bit of yelling, a little bit of crying and a lot of very purposeful words. I. Was. Mad. Probably from the weight of it all. It’s incredibly difficult to know if I’m doing things right or really how bad the video games will end up being in the end.
What I can say with absolute conviction is that this last year and 1/2 has been completely exhausting. That’s about how long ago Brad became ill… when he began to stay home instead of going to Christmas or hockey tournaments. Just a few months before then, I was still healing from my cancer surgeries and reconstruction, so I still didn’t know normal before it all hit us again. Really, there has only been one summer since the summer of 2016 that wasn’t completely filled with cancer treatments or major surgical procedures for me and then Brad. It’s taken up so much of our lives that I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like to have a little silence and pause. It’s very, very hard to get used to.
I’m thankful for kind people in my life. I’m thankful for meeting people like me so I don’t feel so alone. The most painful feeling I’ve ever had is feeling alone. I’m thankful for my friends and neighbors, I’m thankful for the people that helped me through this and forgave me for not wanting to show up (in so many ways). It’s those people that reminded me that I am still loved.
I miss hockey. I miss the busyness of life and how calming that all can be. I miss the hockey moms and the happy lunches/dinners/beers we’d spend having after games and during tourneys.
This year, with the help of some very special people, we have been able to give the kids a rink to skate on (after two attempts with the liner (I totally should have paid attention all of the previous years!!!!!!) it’s finally beautiful ice!). We have a warm and loving house that we have a ton of memories in. We had an AMAZING Christmas with The Best Christmas Ever (more about this later!) and some very dear friends that made it all happen.
This week, some of the people that helped make the rink even a possibility are going to come and celebrate in a socially distanced fashion on a hopefully beautiful Tuesday with some skating and fun. I can’t wait to thank them all. Such giving and loving people!
My scan and check up aways lands in January. This one makes me more nervous than any. I’m further away from my diagnosis and statistically, my odds are still not good. I thought by now I’d worry less about aches and pains, but just this week alone, I’ve had bone cancer (back ache), brain cancer (headache) and surely stage IV already. I hate these feelings.
Tomorrow, I will pass along some happiness. We all deserve a little Minnesota Nice.