It's the other shoe.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a lingering fear. Some might call it silly or irrational, but to me it's based on real world experience. I have a good life. I have had some very bad things happen in it, but I've always dealt with the given situation, moved on and been happy again. I've developed faith in myself. What I've also developed is a little paranoia. When I am happy, REALLY happy, and things are going great a little part of me starts poking a finger at my brain, "Hey…hey…things are going a…little…too...well. Something is gonna screw it up." I can slap the thoughts back, but never quiet them completely.
Let's do a short year in review…
I've had some great projects at work this year that were creative and challenging. They involved design, photography and writing. I won some awards with my fine art paintings as well as sold a few. I was honored to be asked to create a painting to be auctioned for a great cause. Made progress on renovating the rest of the house. It's the holiday season! I find myself just staring at the Christmas tree, decorated mantle, roaring fire, cats and dogs sprawled out on the furniture and floor and now with Ed, my house feels like a home again…full of love and we were married on December 21st! I think this sounds pretty darn good.
"Winter is coming."
I've been watching "Game of Thrones" and THAT is a great line. Foreboding…that vague feeling that something lies just out of reach. You can only see glimpses of it in your peripheral vision. Something…bad. So when my infusions didn't seem to be making me feel quite as good as usual, the finger got more persistent. When the stomach issues got a bit worse than usual, I started asking for tests. I get regular CBC bloodwork with every infusion and all have been normal, but additional bloodwork also turned up nothing. My primary doctor was ready to kick me back to the hematologist, which didn't make sense to me. My symptoms wouldn't really be in his realm of expertise, so I asked for imaging studies. I suspected an ovarian cyst and made a good argument for it. Actually my argument was that since the few symptoms that exist for Ovarian Cancer mimic the normal digestive issues I already have, that it would be best to definitively rule out the possibility of cancer. I wasn't even worried at this point; the rational side of me anyway. I just wanted to confirm that a cyst is all it was. I just wanted to quiet that damn nagging finger. Ultrasound approved.
I was right. I have a large ovarian cyst.
The finger was also right. The cyst wasn't the real problem. The tumor is.
I find this out the day after my birthday. Same day I had the test, but it's also 3:00pm the afternoon before Thanksgiving. The ONLY information I received is that I have a "rather large" uterine tumor. I see the email arrive with "Test Results" as the subject as I am sitting on a kitchen stool in front of the stove perusing the internet for a good green bean recipe to cook. I need more information. I don't do well without detailed information and everyone and everything is closing down until Monday. Ed does his best to quiet my fears, but I'm a worst case scenario kind of planner. I am compelled to gather as much medical information as I can even in the absence of knowing for sure what we are dealing with, but the phrasing "rather large" isn't terribly comforting.
I began alternating between cooking for Thanksgiving and reading about fibroids and their treatment. Baked corn and hormonal therapy. Cornbread dressing and wait-and-see. Mashed potatoes and surgery. Monday finally arrives. I call my doctor's office at the infusion center to get a recommendation for a good gynecologist. The first place I call won't see me until March. MARCH! I'm having distressing symptoms NOW! I have vacation plans I can't cancel in March and was hoping to be treated and recovered by then. I leave a message at the second one on the list and they never call me back. I'm on my own now. I find another clinic in Ft. Worth with a satellite office in Granbury. Two of the doctors had good patient reviews online. One of the two had quite a few. People complained about the office staff, but said this doctor was worth the bother. I called and got an appointment for just a few days out. I also got a copy of the radiologist's report. My tumor is about the size of a small pear and attached to the outside of the uterus pressing against other organs and it was probably the reason most of my work pants and jeans had become uncomfortable to wear. Thank goodness for black yoga pants!
I get the standard medical information forms to fill out. List your surgeries, medications, illnesses, etc. Sigh, I'm going to have to explain my primary immune deficiency to yet another doctor. Most are unfamiliar with it. To my surprise, she has another patient with CVID. No explanation needed. I have a little more confidence now. We are going for surgery. Remove the uterus and keep the ovaries. Stable hormones should help prevent my body from going into an autoimmune tailspin. These types of muscle tissue tumors are 99% benign and removing the entire uterus prevents a recurrence, which is common. The surgery can also be done laparoscopically, so no large abdominal incision and faster healing. It's scheduled for later in January. As long as I can sit at my drawing table and paint during recovery, I'll be okay. I'll go crazy just sitting around and doing nothing for more than a day. New dog, Archie, may be getting a lot of clicker training lessons as well.
It's still surgery and I'm a little scared, but this should be a cakewalk compared to what I've already been through. The timing with my infusion schedule is perfect. I get fresh, raring to go antibodies the day after surgery. I literally leave the surgery center and go straight to the infusion clinic. I'm hoping if I do have moderate pain or nausea from the anaesthesia, I can get some really nice IV meds at the clinic and I'll be monitored by the nursing staff there for most of the day. Very reassuring for me.
The scenario could be a lot worse. This is a relatively minor blip that I can use to my advantage and hopefully get a couple paintings completed. Wish me a fast recovery.
I'm hoping it's more like the other slipper that fell down than a steel-toed shoe.
"Long Creek Winter"
Acrylic on Board
12" x 12"
Available for purchase