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?

Time?

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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.

Lymph Node Biopsy: Third Time’s a Charm Bracelet

Lymph Node Biopsy: Third Time’s a Charm Bracelet

Friday morning they cut out one of my lymph nodes (my third ‘node biopsy but first excisional one) and shipped it off to a lab somewhere for examination. I should have the results of the latest lymph node biopsy within two weeks.

In the meantime, I’m feeling pretty alright. I was prescribed ibuprofen and a few oxycodone—which I wasn’t expecting—for the pain.

The procedure was done under sedation. So the last 36 hours, I’ve been feeling cozy as the anesthesia wears off and my systems come back online. Only a little breakthrough pain between doses. 

Oh, and a lot of farting. My colon’s like, “Yay! We’re functioning again!”

The oxycodone makes me very drowsy, so I’ve been getting great sleep. In fact, last night was probably the best sleep I’ve had in 7 years. (I’m almost exactly 7 years out from my last surgery. You know, the brain one.)

Also, I realized something while peeing so they’d release me from the hospital: I feel more secure on a regular walker. So I just bought a used one of those puppies on Amazon for $22. That’s a freaking bargain! (I earned $18 in commissions this month, so it’s like I got it for $4. Thank you, you lovely people. I told you clicks help!)

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I did have the regular kind of walker after the 2017 craniotomy, but decided I needed the Rollator style with seat and then donated the other. (Dan has graciously not said ‘I told you so.’ Yet.)

The thing about the 4-wheeled walker variety? Good for sitting when you’re fatigued, but you need confidence that they won’t roll away from you. I don’t have a lot of that right now, and so I grip the brakes until my knuckles, wrists, and elbows are white. Which pairs nicely with my anxiety muscle aches. Too nicely. Both styles are great for different reasons, and I need both for different situations.

Anyway, did you know they’ve got these cute new charms for hospital bracelets now? Once a fall risk, always a fall risk I guess.

While going over the standard pre-op questions with the anesthesiologist, he was like “You still have the tumor?”

I was like, “Yeah. It’s a whole thing.”

Basically it’s in a spot no one was comfortable going too gonzo at with a knife. 

But the tumor was a rare enough tumor, they were eager to put a few cells on ice. They sold me on the research idea by also explaining they could treat it more confidently if they knew what specific mutation they were dealing with. So a neurosurgeon did a little scrape-y scrape.

You wouldn’t believe how frequently I have to explain that to non-neurooncologists. The only thing I repeat more is how to pronounce my last name.

But I digress. (That’s how you know it’s really me writing this post.) 

The lymph node was taken from my left groin. A spot not discussed during consults but the very location I dreamed about a few nights ago. Could be a coincidence, but I think I’m just really in tune with my body out of sheer necessity.

Anyway, I’m going to relax while I can. I’ll hit you all up for more clicks when the bills for this shit arrive.

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Operating Room Day is Nigh

Operating Room Day is Nigh

Friday is Operating Room day. And this evening I’m a lovely mix of anxious, scared, and desperate. So I’m just going to stream-of-consciousness my thoughts.

They want me to bathe with Hibiclens the night before and the morning of the excision to avoid infection. Tonight I’m barely moving, so is that even possible?

I have to be at the hospital at 8:00 am Friday. Is that even possible? What if I can’t sleep again?

What do I wear? What clothes will I be able to manage?

Where is the doctor going to harvest the lymph node from?

Are they really doing general anesthesia? The coordinating nurse seemed to think so. Will I get a break from pain?

Speaking of pain, is it really not going to be that bad? Or is the doctor just bullshitting me?

What about the bathroom? Anxiety makes everything worse.

What if no one wants to take care of me after? What if I can’t get in the car?

What if the results don’t show anything?

What if they do?

What should I eat tomorrow? I need to have a couple of bananas there are a lot and they might get too ripe.

I don’t want to eat anything that will hurt me. But I also can’t make anything.

Should I get more weed?

I wish I had a dog for emotional support, but I’m not supposed to let pets sleep in the human bed the night before anyway. Good thing my cats are jerks. Makes that easier.

Please do something useful, frontal cortex.

Why is this bed so uncomfortable? Why does every pillow feel like a rock? Will I ever feel comfortable again? Would I freak out if I wasn’t in pain?

How am I going to pay for this? I’m still mad that RIP Medical Debt asked me how I felt about impending medical bills and when I moved the slider all the way to “overwhelmed” it said, “Sorry, we can’t help you.”

We could have better healthcare and better outcomes if we didn’t do this to people.

I want a glass of chocolate milk. Will that be a problem Friday morning? Or tomorrow when I need to do stuff?

I need to hydrate now, but I am tired of getting up all the time.

No food or drink after midnight tomorrow. Remember that.

I need clean bedding after my shower tomorrow.

It’s going to be 62° F tomorrow. That’s nice, but climate change?

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