This past week has seemed particularly long. In spite of my optimism, the “crazy thoughts” have been creeping in. The waiting, combined with some ill-timed PMS, did a number on me the last few days. (You really would think that, at 52, I’d be over that PMS thing, but no…) Anyway, two or three nights with little to no sleep, and me in some sort of nesting fever, trying to get all the housework done in case I have to have some enforced down time, have left me exhausted. I’m trying to get lots of jewelry made for a show coming up the first weekend in August. I’ve ordered displays, a Square reader, and priced and packed all my inventory. I think I’m nearly ready for that. The apartment is still a bit of a mess, and I could stand to spend a day at the laundramat, but that will either get done or it won’t. I’m too tired to think about it right now.
The “crazy thoughts”. Those thoughts that come in the middle of the night (or sometimes in the middle of the afternoon) and say, “What if they put you under anesthesia and you never wake up?” Or, “What if you end up having to have mastectomies?” Or, “How the HELL are you gonna pay for all this?” I know, as a Christian, where those thoughts come from, and I pray against them. And God has been good.
One way in which God has been particularly good is in answering that last question. In Kentucky, there is a program called Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid, and apparently I meet the qualifications for it. I will know more on Thursday, when I go to finalize the paperwork for that, but it appears that this program will cover the cost of all the treatment. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
To help you get some of the nuances of this journey, I need to go back to a little over a year ago; specifically, May of 2012. I’d been in a dead-end job for 12 years, even after having gone back to school to get a graphic design degree. Graduating just in time for a serious downturn in the economy, there seemed to just NOT be any other jobs out there. However, I met a new coworker who told me that this wife wrote and was indie publishing romance novels. I told him that I was an aspiring designer and that my dream job would be designing books. Thus, a business relationship and a sliver of hope was born. In May of 2012, I was let go from my job. Apart from a few friends I had made there over the years, the only thing I miss about the place is the health insurance. I now have none.
I coasted along for a few months, not going to the doctor unless necessary. And the only thing that was really necessary was for me to keep my prescriptions for blood pressure medications up to date. After a couple of times going to a local clinic to get prescriptions, they told me they were no longer able to fill them, and that I would have to find a regular doctor. So I broke down and went to the county Health Department.
Once all the paperwork proving I was poor was done, they started catching me up on all the exams I hadn’t had for years. Gyno and colonoscopy appointments went fine, and showed nothing wrong. Then, they sent me for a routine mammogram. A week after the mammogram, my results arrived in the mail. They needed “more info”, and wanted me to have another round of mammograms. This time they took so many, I asked if I could order the package, and do those come in wallet size? Three and a half hours, between mammograms and ultrasounds. A few days later, I get the word: we need you to come in for biopsies. We have found “areas of concern”. One fine needle aspiration, and 3 ultrasound guided core biopsies. That was last week. They said they would probably have the results early the next week. THE NEXT DAY, the nurse called me to let me know that my left breast is positive for cancer, and they aren’t certain about the right. More tests. I will write more about the actual day of the biopsies in another post. There are some amazing women working at the University of Kentucky Comprehensive Breast Care Center, and I want to tell you about them.
So now the waiting. As Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part. I have scheduling that I need to set up for the other areas of my life, people, and I have to wait to see what I’m gonna be doing for the next few months…
Recently (OK, two days ago), I was told that I have breast cancer. My parents live in a very rural (but lovely) area, and I needed to go tell them about my diagnosis. As I was coming home from that trip, the thought popped into my head, “This has been another episode of Adventures In Hooterville.” After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that the pun was just too delicious, and that it would make a great title for a progress blog.
So there you have it. I hope to make this a space where I can update those who need/want it and hopefully inspire others with my journey. There will be humor, because that’s how I cope. It may be inappropriate at times. Oh, well… There will also likely be tears. Even though I am incredibly optimistic, and know that this is only a short detour on my scenic route through life, the thought of “the cancer”, as one friend calls it, has the ability to make the best of us a bit weepy at times. I am so blessed to have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world, and a great community of friends to walk this road with me. I am already seeing God at work through this, and look forward to more blessings along the way.