On September 3, 2011 I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. I had emergency surgery and the tumor was removed but it has spread to my liver. I wear an ostomy bag now.
In October 2011, I will begin chemo to beat back the tumor in my liver. I am getting stronger each day and trying to stay positive. I am unable to work. I have applied for Medicaid but that will only cover a fraction of my bills.
I am calling out now, not only for your continued good wishes and thoughts but for financial help. If you can help in any way, please help me fight and win my battle. No donation is too big or too small. With the love and support of those around me, I know, together, we can win this.
Please keep the love flowing in your thoughts for me. I can feel it helping to carry me on this journey. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I'm also very pleased to announce that friend and artist DTM has offered all proceeds from his posters and book sales to benefit GO THE CATHERINE.
I'm a huge fan of his work and grateful for this generous offer. Take a look and maybe buy some great art for your walls. It is for a good cause.
Thanks for listening and viewing!

Cambodia posters available at:

CHURNING THE SEA OF MILK books available at:

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday And The Emergency Room

I hate the hospital. I hate the cancer. I hate what is happening in my life. There. I said it. These past few weeks I have felt depressed and discouraged and really on the down low side of things. Lower than low. Beyond low. Maybe it has to do with it being the darkest days of the year, which are behind us now or that my self-pity and wallowing got a bit out of control. Or because I am so frightened. I am so furious, wailing over the unfairness of it. I know life isn't fair and you play the hand you got dealt the best you can and all that fuckery, but this really is unfair. It sucks. I'm only 42. And I allowed these thoughts to get the best of me.
I've retreated from almost all of my friends and became this thing, a shell that just lays around trying to escape reality by reading (a book, sometimes two a day) and puffing the occasional hit on a pipe. Which helps with those delightful little cat naps on the couch. I am going to make an honest effort to reach back to those of you who I've had on ignore. I'll try to start answering the phone when you call. I really do love and appreciate how many folks have me close in their hearts, I just haven't been showing you. I've been having a difficult time reaching for your hands.
Good. That bit is out of the way.
The upper abdominal/back pain started Thursday afternoon. I always wait a day with stuff like this, foolishly hoping the burning, sharp, searing pain would just disappear : poof! out of existence! Come Friday morning, the pain (a solid 9 on the 1-10 pain scale) hadn't gone away (DUH!) and I knew, cause this has happened before, that my doctors would send me to the ER. Which they did.
My Ma brings me to St. Peter's about 11am. I wait for 3 hours in the waiting room, crying and moaning in pain before I am given a bed. In the hallway. In a very, very busy ER. It was nuts in there. Traffic accidents, demented seniors, drunk idiots. Once I was in bed, they started an IV and hydromorphone and Atavan were injected and I was really high and the pain was finally gone.
They order a CT scan. For 7pm that evening. 4 hours from now. Sigh. It's the only way they can peek inside and see what might be causing the pain. Finally, after more drugs, they wheel me down to radiation and perform the scan.
I am wheeled back to the ER hallway. At 10-1030pm the doctor comes over with the results.
They are not good.
'Your scan turned up nothing but the existing things you already have going on. But it did show some new lesions on your liver and what may be a spot on your lung. We're going to keep you, at least overnight so we can manage your pain."
I am sobbing at this point. The doctor says he's really sorry. I cry. I bawl. I hyper-ventilate. Inconsolable and still manage to run my mouth.
"It's spread. The cancer has spread. I want to go home. I don't want to stay here. I don't want to die and I'm dying. I'm dying. I want to go home. I'm afraid. I want this to stop. I don't want to live anymore. I hate my life. I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore. I want to die. I hate it. I hate it. I ha-ha-ha-hate it."
Yeah. Lost my shit big time. A very nice nurse gave me more drugs. I calmed down. Finally, about one in the morning, they wheeled me up to my room. I knew my next pain dose was around 230am so I stayed awake, knowing the pain meds would help me sleep. Which they did, at 3am. I fell into a wonderful, comfortable sleep until a nurse enters my room at 4am.
Wakes me up.
To do a blood draw.
I was angry. 'It's 4 in the morning, this is totally ridiculous, you just woke me up and I am refusing the blood draw. I'm sleeping. Please leave my room."
She did. I fall back asleep.
An hour later, another nurse enters the room, needing to switch out IV poles or whatever it was she was doing. Waking me up.
I didn't say anything nice to her either.
Did I mention, besides my exhaustively draining emotional meltdown in the ER, I had only had about 6 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours? I don't play well with others when I am tired and scared and distraught.
An hour later, some tool comes in with a tray and starts making lots of noise, waking me up. I say "What the hell are you doing?"
"It's your breakfast."
"Well, I am sleeping, you woke me up and I don't want breakfast. Get it out of here. Please leave my room. Get out."
It's now about 7am and I am enraged. I start to cry. A nurse comes in to ask what is wrong and I tell her I keep being awakened by stupid people and I want to be left alone to sleep.
I slam the door behind her. After making a Do Not Disturb sign I taped to the door.
I go back to bed. My parents come by about 1030am and I start to cry AGAIN! and unload what went on that morning. A good rant, with lots of swear words and mean, hateful comments finished off with my declaration : "I want to go home. I can't get any rest here. I'm exhausted and I'm scared and I'm angry and I don't want to do this anymore. They didn't find the cause of my pain, they didn't order additional tests and I can manage it at home because I have the pills."
I paged a nurse and told her she needed to take my IV out. She said it was needed to give me my pain meds. I said "No, it isn't. I can take them orally. I am leaving."
She took the IV out. I start gathering my things and walking down the hallway to the elevator. Walking by the nurse station, the nurse who took my IV out asks where I am going.
"I am going home. I'm done. Had it. Hate it here. Leaving."
"But I need you to sign this," waving a form. "Nope. I'm done. Just put down I left AMA." (Against Medical Advice)
I waited for the elevator and my Dad took me home. My Ma had left after my out-burst. Can't say I blame her, I can't help it, I swear like a sailor. It offends her.
I'm home now. With pain control, my Mac and a heating pad. It's been a tough couple days.
Glad to be leaving them behind in 2011.
Happy 2012 Everyone!

ps- I have an oncology appointment on Wednesday the 4th where I will get another opinion on yesterday's CT scan. Fingers crossed that the radiologist at St. Peter's made an error reading it.