Friday, March 6, 2009

The Worst 15 Minutes of the Last Year*

Yesterday I had my six-month follow-up CT scan. I hadn't been thinking much about it before the actual day, mostly because I knew that the only thing worrying would accomplish is steal precious sleep.

I was a little on edge yesterday since I had to fast prior to the scan and I am not one to skip meals. Ever. The first appointment was 9am labs, which went relatively ok, except for the fact that the IV needle that the tech left in wasn't exactly comfy, but then hell, it's pointy metal and it's not supposed to feel good, right?

After pounding three large cups of contrast for the scan (which I tolerated a little more than usual since I was so dehydrated and am not one to deviate from the NO FOOD OR DRINK FOUR HOURS PRIOR TO SCAN directions, even if it is water), they brought me into the CT room.

As soon as I laid on the table, I started to panic mildly. This was it. This test would determine the path of my life for the next six months. Clear, and I would get to keep chugging along until the next scan. Not clear, well...I could only assume that meant chemo and surgery.

They hooked the IV up to the needle sticking out of my arm. Once the contrast started to flow, my arm started to BURN with an incredibly SHARP PAIN. "OW, it HURTS!" I cried, kicking one leg wildly. I knew that getting contrast through my port was relatively painless, but I'd had contrast via IV before and it never hurt anything like this.

One of the nurses checked my arm (or something--I was to busy motionlessly writhing in pain to notice) and she said very apologetically that the vein wasn't infiltrated and that the contrast was going to where it was supposed to, so they kept going. The initial pain eventually subsided, but the damage was already done, or rather the dam had broken.

As fat tears rolled out the corners of my eyes, the nurses apologized repeatedly for something which wasn't remotely their fault. I tried to brush it off as no big deal, but they kept on: "I'm so sorry, it's not supposed to hurt like that, I'm so sorry..."

I tried to get myself together in a bathroom, but immediately lost it, heaving sobs at the import of what had just happened. The scan was no longer a question mark on the horizon--it was happening. It had happened.

I beelined down the the caf for some much needed grub, which made me feel a bit better, then turned right around for my 11:30 acupuncture appt. There, the tiniest needle stick set off the waterworks again. I soon realized yesterday that while I can tolerate stress and tolerate pain, I can't do both at once, with one intensifying the other in a vicious cycle of tears.

I met up with Jody in the onc waiting room and proceeded to do just that for a half hour since either I or the clinic got my appointment time wrong. We were eventually whisked into an exam room, I answered the usual litany of questions, and we waited for the onc.

My onc's right hand man (who is also fantastic, by the way) had me feeling good with his positive demeanor but then delivered the news: the scan results were inconclusively troubling. Apparently, there was a dark spot on the scan that had gotten bigger since the last one.

Just then, the darkness got a whole lot bigger.

The doc said that it was very unusual for it a recurrence to happen in that area and since it was adjacent to a surgical staple or clip, it could very well be nothing more than irritation from that staple/clip.

None of that helped. I was a total fucking wreck and was on my second kleenex before he even finished his sentence.

The doc then said that he was going to confer with my onc and then try to get either an answer or plan of attack when they both came back.

Jody, universe bless him, was ever his logical, I-will-base-my-response-on-the-information-I-have-been-given self while I, on the other hand, was Missus Disaster Brain.

I was sick. Again. I had ten miles of bad chemo road ahead of me, and possibly surgeries, just to keep things interesting. They wouldn't be able to put me back on FOLFOX on account of my neuropathy, so they would try something new. Something worse. Something that would knock me down, wipe me out. I would lose my hair. Jody would lose sleep. Violet might lose her mother. Oh God fucking NO.

After a fifteen minute eternity, my oncologist walked in, with his right hand man right behind. It was ok. They had an explaination. The dark spot they had been watching, the one adjacent to the clip? Was my ovary. And this was not a bad thing, because ovaries in all pre-menopausal women change with a woman's cycle.

Holy shit, they had been looking at my beloved, transposed to a new location, thusfar functioning ovary.

And this is why my emotional fuse had been thisshort. Well, partly, anyhow. Because despite all lab results to the contrary, I was still cycling.

My hair is still a wreck. Jody's sleep is spotty at best. But Violet? Not losing her mom any time soon.

*Not counting my bowel issues, natch.


  1. Oh Jesus. You nearly made me cry and I haven't even had my coffee yet. Thank GAWD for that ending. *hugs*

  2. I'm so glad all was clear and the bonus of the confirmation of the functioning cycles! What a nightmare, however, getting to that news!!

    Wishing you a relaxing, sleep-filled weekend!

  3. Bridget - I hadn't checked in on your blog for a long time, but I'm so glad that I did just in time for some great news -- although, geez, you could be suspense writer, I chewed my nails off reading that. I echo Kristy - thank God! Must be an immense relief - WHEW. Lots of love and good vibes as always.

  4. My heart was in my throat for the first part of that post- I'm so glad that everything is A-OK! What a scare.

  5. Sorry to torture you guys (but it was pretty torturous)! I am such a drama queen. ;)