Happy Valentine’s Day, I Guess

Happy Valentine’s Day, I Guess

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who buy into this commercial holiday that might have origins in animal cruelty and domestic violence.

I was reluctant to share this Zentangle video of mine after being punished by the government for making enough money for us to stay alive, but screw it. If I make or lose an extra $5 this month, it’s not like it will change anything. 

Anyway, watch this if you or your kid are making a card this year and want ideas:

I, personally, like to enjoy this holiday by eating non-holiday-specific, non-heart-shaped chocolate and buying a Valentine’s Day card for Dan from a self-employed artist. You know, sticking it to big VD. But this year, I got him a breakfast burrito. Because SSDI paid out at midnight, and that’s the best I could do on short notice.

Not that he wasn’t delighted with his SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito. There are jalapenos.

The weather is warmer today, which explains why I hurt so freaking much and couldn’t sleep last night. Any weather change is bad for pain and inflammation while it’s happening. I’ve been told, however, this sunny stuff might hang around (meaning I might actually have enough time to acclimate) until the weekend. Around these parts, that’s practically an eon.

I’m also delighted to be able to tell you that my colon has entirely reversed course since the last time I discussed such unpleasantries. Ain’t IBS grand?

I’m a week away from my oncology appointment, where I am still anticipating a giant shoulder shrug from my doctor regarding the lymph node stuff. Just managing my expectations. Someone else can cross their fingers that there’s an answer until then. I’m just not in the mood.

That’s about it. Enjoy your Wednesday.

It’s Been One Week

It’s Been One Week

It’s been one week since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side and said, “I’m angry”

—my excised lymph node, probably

One week ago today was the biopsy. I don’t have any answers yet.

It’s no secret that patience is not a strength of mine, but in this particular case, I’m cutting myself some slack for my deficiency. No one in this situation would be cool with the waiting part. No. One.

But wait I must.

So what else is floating around in my head besides excessive lymph? I’m so glad you asked. I need to start on our taxes, but I don’t feel like it, so…next!

I still owe the Cancer Center of Illinois roughly $500, and the waterfall of bills for the biopsy will probably arrive next month. Good times.

It’s supposed to reach 70°F today, according to my weather app. But even that’s a mixed bag. On the one hand: ahhhhh. On the other: climate anxiety. And then snow on Monday, but I’m going to try not to think about that.

The other day I listened to an episode of It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay. (A podcast mentioned by a friend on social media.) The episode was about chronic illness, and it resonated with me in ways that soothed the part of me that needs to heal from the medical gaslighting years ago.

To be clear, I don’t have problems with current doctors. It’s just that the damage the old ones did was life-altering in a very lingering way. What I needed to hear was, “I don’t know how to fix this, but I believe you” and what I got instead was “It can’t be that I don’t know everything, so you must be lying.”

Not to mention all the Lincoln Financial Group drama.

Anyway, feeling seen, as the kids say, made my muscle tension ease some. That in turn lessened some of my pain and confirmed my motive for writing about what literally hurts me: I blog this stuff for me and so someone else might find comfort too.

Oh yeah, the regular walker arrived, and I am not good at it. I think being pain-free from the anesthesia at the hospital is what made it easier. I’m always coming back to the damn pain. Wanting to be rid of it (the part I can get rid of) makes it harder to let go of it. Life is so unfair.

That’s not me whining; that’s me stating a goddamned fact.

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Pathology’s Back

Pathology’s Back

The pathology report for my lymph node biopsy came back benign. And although I didn’t want more cancer, I do want to know what the hell is wrong. As things stand, I feel like I underwent another invasively complicated procedure for nothing.

I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t been miserably undiagnosed can really understand this odd mix of relief and dread I’m feeling right now.

There’s one more test to run, I think. But I can’t remember anymore what it was. Autoimmune shit? I don’t know, but I’m confident—just knowing my track record—that won’t find anything either. And I don’t know where that leaves me. Miserable? Without answers?

I need someone to swoop in and just take care of this.

My oncologist was reluctant to put me on steroids because it might’ve masked what’s wrong, but maybe he will now? Maybe that could help?

Again, I can sense people will be saying things like, “Yay! It’s not lymphoma.” But none of those people will be thinking about how this is my third biopsy on a third lymph node. About all the extra pain I have. About how I barely have enough energy to sit up.

And how I want to punch them all in the nose.

The only thing left (that I can think of) is to go back to my theory that this is viral. But how do I get that answer? People who say they have viral pneumonia or mono or whatever the hell. How do they know that? I’ve never in my life been told anything more specific than that I have a cold. Where are these miracle doctors who test and diagnose viral stuff?

Long-covid has crossed my mind, but it’s not COVID unless I didn’t know I had it. One of my handful of test results would have to have been a false negative since the pandemic. And I’ve been so careful anyway. Masks. Isolation. Vaccines. Evusheld. Because clearly I can’t handle cooties.

Oh fuckity fuck. It just occurred to me this nothingburger of a biopsy is going to cost me a small fortune.

I dunno. Fuck it.

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Biopsy and Other Updates

Biopsy and Other Updates

All I’ve got are some random updates.

I’m LegXercise-ing today, but for a very short time. I have this instinctive tendency to curl up in the fetal position all the time due to anxiety, and now that I have a wound, it really takes willpower to open up physically. Plus it’s just good practice to keep stuff circulating.

I have this thing where I must try limited edition Oreos, and Dan got me these Space Dunk things. When I first heard about them, I was like “yuck.” But you know, I tried them for science (and because life is not terribly exciting right now). I’m a huge fan of the Pop Rocks rattling around in my head.

I finally pooped. Please clap. I had to stop all pain meds, so I’ve traded off one thing for another, but that’s the easiest way I can explain just how awful yesterday was for me.

The first test result has come back on my lymph node biopsy: nothing grew in the petri dish, but I have an excessive amount of red and white blood cells. So basically? No new information yet.

It’s Taco Tuesday. Celebrate accordingly.

Waterproof skin protection is cheaper if you type “tattoo” in the search bar. (They’ll nail you if try to buy it as a medical supply.) Bastards.

Well Poop

Well Poop

Well poop. I’m 72 hours post-op and not really having a good time.

I don’t have stitches, just some kind of skin Bondo, but every time I sneeze it feels like I’m going to split my incision open and turn inside out. I’m scared of the thing now, like the wound might betray me if I pull up my pants wrong or look at it funny.

The darkness behind my eyelids turned orange and started melting after a total of two and a half Oxycodone. I remember this from 2017. It was followed by me feeling like I was vibrating out of the furniture every time I sat up. 

Hello darkness my old friend.

But that’s not the worst of it. Nope. Now even the flatuence has stopped. I haven’t pooped for days. I know people overdose on painkillers—because the doc also prescribed me Narcan (for five pills!)—but I don’t truly understand how. I’m ready to launch these fuckers into the sun.

Last night I was patting my abdomen and yelling “Demons out!”

When I finally do poop? It’s over for you hos.

Yes, I’ve been taking Senokot as directed, but like shingles, my colon doesn’t care*. It doesn’t give a shit, if you will. So I’m at the portion of the program where I’d rather be in pain. It’s not unbearable, the surgical pain, but it’s not fun. 

I’m going to probably be a little bit grouchier than usual. If the constipation doesn’t kill me, Dan might.

The process for choosing a lymph node was supposed to be aided by ultrasound. (I say supposed to because that’s what I was told, but I was heavily sedated and don’t know what actually happened in the operating room.) 

Well, my left jaw and neck nodes are raging now. So were they under the wand or is my left side just mad that I sacrificed one of its own? Can’t say for sure, but the why doesn’t really matter, does it? The discomfort is the thing now.

Oh dear lord, my intestines just let out a low, slow, terrifying creak. Is it? Could it be?


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* If you are fortunate enough not to see pharmaceutical ads where you are, this joke might not make sense. Also, get your shingles vaccines. The shingles are AWFUL. Ask me how I know.

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