I have a few friends who have had their own cancer battles recently. They are keeping track of odd anniversaries they way I did, except now, I’m trying to forget those anniversaries. Obviously the day I was told I had a tumor in my leg is hard to forget, because it was on my birthday. But the rest, I try to forget and I don’t want to keep track anymore. Let’s just say September is a month I have grown to loathe; it’s not only when I had the surgery to remove my thigh, but when my father died of cancer as well. I understand they want to keep track as a form of achievement, but I guess I just don’t want to be reminded. I get enough reminding.
Since June of 2010 I feel like I have been to a doctor’s office or the Cleveland Clinic main campus at least once every 2 weeks — that’s not even counting the daily visits I had for a summer. I’m sure if I look through my appointments, it would average out to that. I have had complications with my lady parts thanks to the cancer, as well as invasive procedures and more testing of my DNA. Did I tell you that my new exciting cancer syndrome may eventually be named “Proffer Syndrome”? It’s true, because they can’t keep saying “it’s like Lynch Syndrome” for long before the insurance company wonders how they hell they are supposed to bill it. We’ll know it’s official if you go to Wikipedia and there’s either a picture of me, my dad, or a close-up of cells from my samples given. Oh yes, my DNA is in an official database now, too. Maybe they’ll engineer some cancer-proof wolverines or something. I’m due for another preventative procedure on top of surgeries being discussed for down the line, but I decided against it. Frankly, I’m too middle class to afford this ongoing medical maintenance anymore.
Everything was going fine lately; I opted out of using my cane a lot of the time because it’s a real pain in the ass to carry everywhere. Have you ever tried to hold a cocktail glass, a purse, a cane, and try to shake people’s hands? I started swimming, doing the treadmill, I was doing more things in a normal way. My back has been a real problem (like having to leave events early because I need to lie flat somewhere), but aside from that my only mobility issues still being that I won’t ever be able to run, inclines hurt, and doing stairs like a toddler. Seeing a long flight of stairs still gives me a scare — especially if I’m in high heels.
Everything was dandy, until late Friday night. All I did was get up from a chair and then pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! And suddenly I was half standing while everything inside my knee and my re-structured hamstring fell apart. It felt like the opening scene from Prometheus when the alien DNA starts to melt and unravel. As I stood, I realized my knee was not aligned, and as I was sobbing in a fit of panic, it suddenly shifted back into place. My hamstring has been in pain about as bad as it was post-surgery. Thank God for my doctor answering a page to get me vicodin until my x-rays tomorrow. So much for me trying to forget and pretend I don’t have something missing from my leg; and it’s true that almost anytime I try to act like nothing is wrong or be a hero, it will throw something in my face to show me all is not normal.
On the phone today, my surgeon’s nurse said, “knees are a problem, and it only gets worse the older you get. You can’t act like you can do anything normal from now on, and you aren’t even old, so imagine later down the line”. This was exactly why I was sobbing so bad as my husband held me not knowing what to do after the whole episode — what am I going to do when I’m older and he’s not there? The whole thing happened so fast, and really all I needed at that point was something to make me sleep through the pain of the trauma, but what if I hadn’t caught the table and had fallen? Hell, what am I going to do when my surgeon retires? Because he’s the only one who knows specifically what he did to that leg! My surgery was not a normal one by any means, and I was lucky to have the best man in the world to do it. I’m told my case is unusual in that he made it so I can feel my foot!
If this is the kind of thing I am going to deal with at 34, what about when I’m 70? 80? My husband is 14 years older than me, and I can tell you right now that there’s no way I’ll have a retirement stashed enough to be at a robot cabana boy retirement home after he’s gone. He said to me that night, “well, I just won’t die then”, which was actually kind of romantic. He sort of is a vampire (anyone who has met him and then finds out his age can attest to that), so maybe he can pull it off?
Have I mentioned that cancer sucks, lately? Well, it does!