I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning to see the oncologist at Lakeridge. The word “oncologist” doesn’t strike fear into my heart as much as it once did. After all, they’re the superhero doctors that are going to fight this thing with me.
The panic attacks are fading–perhaps it was withdrawal from the Ativan or maybe the Zoloft is kicking in. Either way, Dr. Daria told me to take it if I need it and to double my dose. It’s important to be comfortable, I know this, but it’s hard to be dependent (as in: need) anything.
I was so happy to finally be going off medications after the twins were born. I hate having to be on medications. I just want to be free. Guess that dream is over–
But it could be worse.
I’m moved off maternity leave at work onto active duty but vacation. I have almost four weeks available, and then I have sick leave and short term disability. I can breathe easier–we’re not going to be in dire straits financially for at least a little while.
My sister-in-law Laura starts a GoFundMe for me. So far, it’s raised over $4,000. I don’t know what the medical bills are even going to be yet, even, so I’m floored that people are donating anything.
My brother Chris has been campaigning hard. Whenever I get afraid and Kevin isn’t available, I call or text him. He’s making it a point to call me once or twice a day. He and I were never that close, but I can feel how much he cares for me through the phone. It’s just the two of us, and both this and his surgery really shook him. I want to be close to him, and I’m happy we’re connecting.
My brother-in-law Rob’s union is sponsoring us for Christmas. They’re getting the kids lots of nice gifts. I always save a little out of every paycheck for the holidays, but now we can save that money to go toward treatments or to fill in the gap once I go on disability.
Five out of the six leggings I’ve ordered arrive. I feel like a diva, walking around in my stretchy new cancer-fighting outfits.
My parents arrive, and the stress of always having to be “on call” for the babies melts away.
A group of women who do direct sales have created a Facebook party (I think you have to be in Canada to buy). They’re going to donate some of their proceeds to us, plus they’re doing a raffle.
One of my cousins, one I’m fond of but not that close to, sends me a care package. Then another one arrives from my BFF and fellow writer, Wendy Nikel, with all the right things in it–enough to make me tear up in a good way. I start getting cards. My mom’s friend made me a prayer shawl, and when my parents arrive, Mom gives it to me. It’s so soft and snuggly.
I discover that I’m eligible to apply for the SFWA‘s Emergency Medical Fund. I start on my application, putting together the list of all my possible expenses. At first, I’m afraid it might make me feel sad or upset, but it makes me empowered. “Here is everything that will make me well again.” Plus, you know, spreadsheet.
I snuggle my babies. I play with Morrigan. I hug Kevin and my parents.
Dr. Kaplan, who did my tooth extraction and biopsy, said my gums might not heal properly. He said this before my diagnosis, which made me scratch my head, but now I understand. There’s a tumor right there, so it might act… funny.
But it’s not. It’s closing. In fact, a month after the extraction, it’s almost completely closed, the two pieces of my gum starting to knit together.
That’s a sign. I know it is. My body wants to heal itself. It just needs a little bit of help.
Sometimes I get scared when I feel good, like somehow the panic attacks and crying staved off whatever horrible things might happen to me. This makes no sense, so I do my best to push it from my brain.
A woman sends me a message. She tells me that she’s been reading my blog, that she found me through my books a while back. She had her own cancer journey years ago, but she stopped going in for checkups because she was afraid. Reading about my experiences have given her the courage to go take care of her health.
I am floored.
My tears are genuine, and her story goes on my list of things to be thankful for.
This is why I write.