Cancer, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
– Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins
Cancer is a full time job. I’ve already had 7 doctor appointments in the last month and I’m not even done. In the previous 12 years combined I’ve been to 2 doctor appointments other than my yearly lady exam so this is a real inconvenience. But as my good friend, Jana, says – “God doesn’t care about our convenience. He cares about our hearts.” Jana’s mother, Wilma, beat breast cancer in 1988/89 but passed away last year after another year long battle with this disease. Wilma was the kind of woman who elicited strong emotions from people. You either loved her or you didn’t. But even if you didn’t, you soon loved her anyway. I like to think of Wilma directing the angels in Heaven and mobilizing them on my behalf.
In the last 2 weeks I have been preparing for chemotherapy. That included surgery last week to install the port through which the chemo will be administered. It is called a “Power Port” which I like. I like to think of it as the place where they will fill me with special powers instead of poison. It is on my left side right under the collar bone. You can see a slight bulge under the skin but it’s not too noticeable. The problem is that was my one good side to sleep on since the tumor is on the right side and now it is sore from the surgery. So now I am forced to sleep on my back which is uncomfortable and annoying. These are some of the things they don’t tell you.
Also last week, I cut my hair to prepare for chemo. I figured it was going to fall out anyway so I may as well cut it off. It was just long enough to donate to Locks of Love so that makes me feel better. Personally, I don’t like short hair on myself. I think I look like Betty Rubble. But I am consoled when I think of somone else, who has perhaps gone through chemo, who gets to enjoy my hair.
Yesterday I had a CT and bone scan. Today I had an echocardiogram. Tomorrow I will have an MRI. Next week I have a follow up appointment for the port surgery. And then I finally start chemo. In between all the doctor appointments there are the countless calls to schedule, reschedule, take care of payments, deal with insurance…aaaahhhhh! And I still have to run my own business and take care of my own patients. To make it more fun, (I’m being a smart ass, what a surprise) I have begun taking 20 mgs of melatonin per day to protect my heart, kidneys, and brain from the chemo and it makes me sooooo tired. I feel slightly hung over all day and I didn’t even get to enjoy the party that usually comes before the hangover. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for this! I need a cancer assistant! Luckily, I do have a lot of help when I ask for it. But I am terrible at asking for it. That, my friends, is at least one of my lessons in all of this. I’m usually the caregiver and I’m not used to needing care or help. It makes me uncomfortable to be honest. But again, God knows what He’s doing building character, strength, humility, patience, and whatever else I don’t even know I need.
The lessons are not all for me. And this cancer is not all about me. I look around at my friends and family and I see how this is affecting them and I can see God at work in them too. It’s amazing to see what is happenning. People I don’t even know are praying for me, sending me messages, and asking how they can help. It’s really beautiful and humbling. If you’re my friend on facebook then you know that at least once a year my status reads “People Are Crazy.” People ARE crazy. But they are also good. They’re just looking for an opportunity to show you.