Sometimes you wake up one morning and you find yourself unable to bend your leg. You try to work through the pain and then the pain is gone and you are left with numbness. With the numbness setting in you decide its time to call the doctor. You go into that appointment and they say “its most likely a torn meniscus, you need an MRI.” That MRI leads you to an orthopedic surgeon who is more concerned with a blood clot than your actual symptoms. You get pissed and ask for a second opinion.
The second doctor listens to you, checks you over, and starts talking about multiple sclerosis. Which doesn’t sink in until he utters “MS.” He sends you to a physical medicine doctor who proclaims “I know nothing about multiple sclerosis, my specialty is spines.” Fuck Me, why the hell am I here. You call the orthopedic doctor back and demand a neurologist. You see that neurologist and he orders an MRI of your brain, neck, and spine. Yay you spend 2.5 hours inside a tube while looking like an astronaut.
You go to work and as soon as you get there the neurologist calls and tells you “the MRI came back a little iffy on your neck, we want to do a more detailed MRI on the soft tissue in your neck.” Shit, fuck me, back into the tube you go for another 90 minutes. This time you don’t look like an astronaut and you head to Target afterwards. Ah, Target, Target can solve all of life’s problems. Before you know it your follow-up appointment with the neurologist arrives. Yay, ANSWERS!
Damn, no answers. Instead you get a bit of mystery. The neurologist explains that your lymph nodes in your neck are swollen and this is not normal, because you don’t have an infection. He softly explains that he is going to order a PET/CT Scan and that his nurse will schedule it. Nurse tries to schedule it, tells the doctor the soonest the hospital can get you in is on April 28th. Then you hear “no, no that is not acceptable, you call her insurance, you call CDI, you stay on hold with Methodist. She needs to get in for a scan now.” This is the moment when you think “shit just got real and in your gut you know the doctor isn’t telling you the whole story.
PET/CT gets scheduled for April 24th and you do your best to not google “why does a doctor order a PET/CT scan.” You try really really hard. Wow, look at that its April 24th, yay PET/CT scan day. While filling out a mountain of paper working something on the last page catches your eye: Reason for referral: “Cervical Lymphoma (neck).” Oh shit, fuck me and you suck it up, you hold back those tears only to read: “Procedure: PET/CT Eyes to Thighs, Cancer Initial Staging.” In this moment you say “fuck it” and go get yourself injected with radio pharmaceuticals and contrast die.
An that folks is exactly how I found out that I may have cancer. The big key word is “may” have cancer. Tomorrow at 8:00am I meet with the doctor to go over the PET/CT scan results. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t scared. It is what it is. I cannot will the cards to fall in my favor, they are going to fall where ever they wish. My big girl pants are glued on with duct tape and my knees are worn from all the praying I have done. I have to believe that this is all apart of his master plan. If my scan comes back CLEAN I am going to celebrate and take more time for myself. This was the wake up call I needed, it made me realize I work to damn much and that I rarely take time to make a life outside of work. My job has become my life and that’s not cool. If the scan comes back DIRTY I am going to fight like hell. AJ never gives up and I will give it everything I’ve got. Cancer is going to fear the day it whispered my name.
One thing I keep on reminding myself is that “had it not been for my leg hurting I wouldn’t have gotten that all important MRI of my brain, neck, and spine.” I saw 5 different doctors and made two second opinion requests before I got in front of the doctor that I needed. The one that dared to look past the fact that I passed the neurological exam with flying colors and still ordered the MRI. That MRI led to another and that one led to a PET/CT scan, that scan will change my life tomorrow. That one scan holds my fate and I hope we can CELEBRATE tomorrow. I truly do, because I like smiles more than I like tears.