Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lisa's not-so-excellent adventure (complete with happy ending)

Now that it’s all over, and I can say the news is good and I’m OK, let me tell you the saga of my brush with breast cancer.

I had a routine mammogram at the beginning of September. It took a while to get the results, and when I did, it was not an answer, but just a note to say that my old films from Kaiser in Maryland had been requested so they could compare them with my current films.

This did not fill me with a sense of hope.

Time passed, and I communicated both with my primary care physician and a radiologist, but nothing seemed to be happening. During this time, I also being evaluated for thyroid nodules, which was an added stressor.

I heard back from the radiologist in mid-October, saying they were still waiting for my old films. This made me want to hop on a plane and wrest them from Kaiser personally, but I resisted the temptation and complained to my PCP instead.  (Poor guy - he was really patient with me.)

Fast-forward to the end of last week, when I received a letter in the mail from the Breast Center at OHSU, informing me that they’d wanted me to come back in for further imaging on my right breast *since the beginning of October*.  Clearly, some communication had gone awry, since I’d had no message from MyChart, nor anything in the mail.

So in a panic, I tried to call last Friday to schedule and appointment, but couldn’t get through. I called again yesterday and got appointments for a second mammogram and a first ultrasound for this morning.

Then, taking a leaf from Jay’s book, I did not follow my first instinct, which was to curl up in a ball and hide with this news. I emailed a bunch of friends, and got a lot of support and love. That helped a lot with the stress.

Today brought the most painful boob smashing I’ve ever had, but it also brought the news that the thing they saw was just a cyst, small and of no worry.

I came home and burst into tears.

This is my third brush with potential cancer in the past year.  Last fall (a year ago), it was cervical cancer as we were getting ready to go to England for WFC and then ended up going to Maryland to help close out my parents’ affairs there after my father’s stroke. Then this summer, the thing with my thyroid. Now this.

I have one last scan to do - I need to do a colonoscopy, but I talked my doctor into letting me do a poop card, which I’ve been putting off because one medical mystery at a time, please, while I still have that luxury.

I’m exhausted and emotionally very tender at the moment. Every time this comes up, it brings all the memories of Jay’s illness rushing back. I now know at a very basic level the emotional texture that his scanxiety brought, and the feeling of Schrodinger’s tumor.  Here’s hoping I never have to get more intimately acquainted with that anxiety. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

And all of your weight, all you dream, falls on me, it falls on me

Just a quick post to say that my body and heart are all too aware that the 6-month anniversary of Jay's death is coming up quickly.

I'm tender and quick to tears again. Little things and big things trigger me. As always, I'm letting the tears flow when I can, letting them wash away the pain.

I'm dreading the holidays, but I'll deal with those emotions when the time comes.

So for now, more tears, more grieving, and eventually, more healing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lost voices

I've been spending a lot of time this week thinking about how sad it makes me that Jay's voice has been silenced, both in the literal sense of never hearing him speak to me again, and in the metaphorical sense of him never creating new stories. This line of thought has driven me to tears again and again.

Last night, I was enjoying listening to music. I started out shuffling Rush on my iPod, then was seized by a desire to listen to Big Country, who I haven't listened to in  quite a while. And I was enjoying myself quite nicely, until I realized that I was listening to another lost voice. The band's singer committed suicide in 2001 (see my post here for previous thoughts on this).

Sitting on the sofa, I burst into tears.

So here am I, grieving for all the lost voices in the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another rough patch

I'm having a rough week here.

This past weekend was the fan memorial for Jay at Orycon. I didn't participate, other than bringing Jay's tux, chili pepper aloha shirt, and flame sneakers to the con for display at the memorial.

But it was triggery for me, even so. I shudder to think what state I'd be in now if I'd gone.

On top of that, Jay's bench has come back from the engraver, freshly inscribed with his name and dates and his epitaph.

That hit hard.

So I'm back in a rough sea of grief after a patch of relatively smooth sailing.

I know this will pass, and that all there is to do is to get out there and live life.

So off I go, once more.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Safe on the shore I've been sleeping, faced by the thoughts I've been keeping

Five months on

Here we are again, at the turning of the month, another anniversary of Jay's death.

I think this is the first anniversary where I don't know what I'm feeling. Less pain, less overwhelming grief, yes - those things are true. A greater sense of moving forward, of moving away from our life together and into my life - this is true, too.

I'm in an in-between place, neither here nor there, unsure of what comes next. But for the first time, I'm feeling confident about not knowing.

I suppose it's possible I've just dug myself a comfortable rut, but this doesn't feel like that.

Still miss him, every single day.

And yes, this first-of-the-month thing continues to be difficult. Last night, I had the first genuine crying jag I've had in quite a while.

But life goes on.