August 14, 2002|
Farewell to My Tube
Today was a glorious day. After 186 days of bondage I was let free. Rather it was let free. Yank, yank, yank…pull! All it took was forty minutes, two pairs of scissors, three vials of Novocain and strong-armed Nurse Practioner named Joon.
You see for 186 days I have had a triple lumen Broviac catheter lodged in my chest. The white tubing extended internally from the largest vein in my neck to six inches above my nipple. From there it dangled externally to my waist. It was a completely necessary device, especially given the amount of medication and fluids I have received in the past few months. It was a bother, though. You ever tried sleeping with a tube in your chest? Twice, in the middle of the night no less, I tossed and turned, consequently twisting the tube underneath me, tearing the stitches attaching the tube to my skin. Twice. Then there was the one time when I played basketball and bruised it. And I couldn’t even count the number of times I stepped on it accidentally. Through all of those misfortunes, I never felt any pain. It had literally become a part of me. Will I miss it? Sure, but not for very long. Now I can return to playing contact sports. And now I can take off my shirt off without scaring little kids…uh…maybe not. Dang I need to gain weight!
Since June 14, 2001, I have not partaken in the consumption of alcohol. On that fateful night, I had a glass of champagne to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Twenty minutes later my lymph nodes were causing me so much pain that I had to leave. I hopped on a subway, grimacing and wincing in agony the entire ride home. Thankfully I had an emergency stash of pain pills which subsided the discomfort. From thenceforth I vowed not to drink alcohol and have steadily consumed cranberry juice on the rocks in its place. (NOTE: I never was and never will be a “big drinker.” One glass of Merlot is my limit. I nurse that baby all night long.)
So Monday afternoon I did an experiment. I took a drive down to the local liquor store, purchasing a bottle of mid-level quality Merlot which the salesperson recommended. Why go cheap? Celebrate! But why go expensive? If there’s pain you certainly don’t want to drink the rest of the bottle.
I arrived home and busted out the corkscrew. I tried my darndest to open the bottle without breaking the cork. Being out of practice, I split the sucker in half. Could this be an ominous sign?
I sat down at my computer, half glass of wine in hand, preparing to do my e-mails for the day. For three hours I sipped, waited and typed. Nothing. Not even a twinge of pain. Other than the slurred speech and lack of dexterity, my experiment was a success. Seriously though, could this be a foreshadowing of good news from my PET and CT Scans next week? Stayed tuned to find out!
The Birth of Q-Tip Canning
Y’all can just call me Q. As in Q-tip. As in I look like a Q-tip. That’s what I have been hearing lately. Monday I received a lesson on living with curly hair from a local curly hair expert. Her introductory advice- “Embrace the curls.” We then moved on to a half-hour long discussion of product, style and history. “You missed out on the awkward curly hair phase. Junior high school was especially rough. Bad hair cut, curls everywhere, kids being cruel, you missed out. Q-Tip, embrace the curls. You were given a gift. Embrace the curls.”
There is a rumor to dispel in all of this. I did not get a perm. OK, so it looks like a perm. On bad hair days I feel like an aged 80’s rocker minus the Van Halen shirt. It’s out of control afro-ness, but it’s all-natural. No perms for this boy.
D-Day is Everyday
I also learned this week that the creator of www.curehodgkins.com, Matt Terry, passed away on May 26, 2002. Truthfully, I didn’t really know Matt. We had exchanged e-mails a few years ago, linking our web sites. That was the extent of our relationship.
When I read the e-mail from his mother detailing what happened, my heart sunk. It’s hard to verbalize my thoughts and feelings on this subject. I can only picture it and even then it is metaphoric form.
In my mind, I visualize all of the people I know battling cancer. Vividly I see a scene reminiscent of the beaches of Normandy. We are out at war. I look around and see fellow patients. They are not friends, though. They are more. They are fellow soldiers and comrades. There is an unexplainable bond that unites us.
I glance to my side and see those who entered the war the same time I did. Some are still alive and fighting while others are down and injured. A few have fallen, never to arise again. A few have successfully navigated the beach, therefore ending their tour of duty. They are no longer in battle and you rejoice for them. Some later though, unfortunately, are called back into action. Regardless, we band of cancer patients are all fighting and when one goes down for good, you feel like a part of you went down with them. For all those out their fighting, keep on. Someday we shall win. And if you do fall, never to return, know that your life was not lived in vain. We have a special bond that shall not be broken.