Lessee… what has happened since the last medical update? All the things.

At the follow-up with the oncologist/surgeon, she did not, in fact, tell me I could take off the horrible binders. Well, she said I only need to wear one, but she recommended it indefinitely since chemo will most likely slow the healing process of my incision. However, lately I’ve been having some severe back pains, and I just can’t stand to wear the thing anymore. Admittedly it did make my incision feel more protected, but it seems to have fucked something up, so I’m done. Fuck that thing.

The stage of my cancer is interesting. Because there was a mass on my liver, it could be called Stage IV. But the oncologist and the chemo doctor (who is also an oncologist, of course) agreed that the regimen of chemo they think is best for me is one that’s not likely to be covered by insurance (including Medicaid, I guess) for a Stage IV cancer. So, by the reasoning that the mass on my liver was limited to the surface, they’re calling it a Stage IIIC to make sure there are no problems with the chemo being covered. The oncologist called it “splitting hairs for the sake of insurance.”

I saw the geneticist at the cancer center, and she ordered testing to determine whether there’s a genetic component to my cancer and I should warn my mom and sisters. Apparently, based on my family history, there’s not much to worry about there, but ovarian cancer is rare enough and I’m so young that she recommended testing anyway. Won’t get the results of that for almost three weeks. The same day (this past Thursday), I had an outpatient procedure to install a second port for chemo. (The previous one is IP; this one is IV.) It’s itchy, and it aches some. I can’t tell if it’ll be ready for use in time, or if they’ll have to start with a standard catheter.

Chemotherapy begins tomorrow, and, guys, I’m hella nervous. Oftentimes when I’m sick, I can’t get into the proper headspace for writing, and I fear chemo will make me that sick. It’s going to last four months, and if I can’t write for that long, my depression is going to explode. This is at least in part an illogical fear, since I’ll be doing cycles of two weeks on chemo and one week off; I should be able to write in the off-time if no other. But when has logic ever corrected paranoia? I’m not looking forward to chemo in general (especially meds I have to take at 3 or 4 or 5 in the morning), but that specifically is my fear. Of course I won’t even start getting a real impression of how bad it will be until tomorrow, so for now I’m just pointlessly agitated.

In the meantime, how I’ve been feeling has fluctuated from day to day. Sometimes my abdomen hurts more, sometimes less. Any kind of effort (including walking across Walgreens, I found) is exhausting and often leads to pain. Some of those symptoms that I mentioned as gone before have settled back in. The good news is that I’ve mostly slept pretty well. I haven’t always been up to writing, but enough writing has happened nonetheless to leave me pretty satisfied. And I’ve watched a lot of Netflix.

Speaking of which. My brother refuses to get the covid vaccine. Everyone else in the house is vaccinated, but he doesn’t want a vaccine whose long-term effects/side effects aren’t known — which honestly is the best reason I’ve heard for not getting it (but still not up to snuff). Since my immune system will be depressed by chemo, this means I can’t hang out with brother for the next four months. Which means we can’t be in the same room — can’t watch horror movies and other stuff on Netflix together, and can’t step into each other’s bedroom to talk about shit. I told him I wished he would get the vaccine for my sake, but he refused. I told him we couldn’t hang out anymore, and he didn’t seem to care. I feel betrayed. Maybe I haven’t made it clear to him how much I value being able to hang out with him, and maybe it would influence his decision if I did… but maybe not.

Mom told him that if he has any symptoms, he has to go get tested immediately. And if he gets the virus, he has to live elsewhere — like in a tent in the back yard or something XD Meanwhile — did I mention this already? — mom has been soOoOo much nicer and more supportive since my diagnosis. And she specifically offered to watch stuff with me in the evenings. Of course with mom it’s generally limited to PG-rated items (occasional PG-13 at most), so I have to watch horror movies and other stuff I might have watched with brother on my own. But still. That means a lot to me, especially from mom.

In May (hopefully early, but that depends on processing) I’ma start receiving presumptive SSI payments. The relief I felt at hearing this was enough to wear me out for the rest of that day. The amount is going to cover my monthly bills, allow me to give my parents money to chip away at my debt to them, and possibly leave a little left over for some extraneous things I need/want. I should be in a good financial place with it, and I’m just so freaking happy about that. Besides fears about chemo re:writing and feeling betrayed by my brother, the really unpleasant thoughts I’ve had about this whole business have been about money. I can’t work right now, and I undoubtedly can’t work during chemo, and even before this all started, fibromyalgia prevented me from earning enough money for my bills and needs. But that is solved now, and I’m so so grateful and relieved.

The long and the short of it is that I don’t need gifts, because I should be able to afford things myself. However, if you’re inclined to buy me something anyway, I have some Amazon wishlists (one specifically with chemo headwear). It’s unnecessary. People from my parents’ church have already given me stuff, which is was kind of them but also unnecessary.

OK, I don’t feel well today, for whichever reason or reasons of the lot, so I’ma stop here.

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