Cancer is kind of why I decided that I need to blog. I need a place to kind of vent my frustrations and rejoice my happiness. I was 19 when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. They gave me 48 hours to live, kicker was I had just had my daughter (like only a couple of hours before) by emergency C-Section 6 weeks early. “And what, you want to move me from here to Boston but I can’t bring my daughter with me?” I battled long and hard with cancer for 3 months in two different Boston Hospitals. The nurses and doctors were amazing and I completely owe my life to Dr. I. He did an experimental treatment of chemo on me that killed my cancer that was encasing my heart and lungs, trying literally to smother me from the inside out.
Besides Dr. I, my saviors were my mom, my dad, my daughter’s father(further more to be called D) and the rest of my family. D stayed by my side when most guys would have freaked and ran for the hills. He wouldn’t leave me alone. My mom was my rock who had no issue with threatening doctors with “you save my little girl or dig a grave big enough for the two of us, cause I’m going with her!” You have to picture that my mom is 5′ nothing and probably weighed all of 120 lbs, if that. But she gets this look in her eye and you simply want to do anything in your power to make sure that she’s happy so that she doesn’t give you that look anymore.
My dad surprised me during this time. My parents split up when I was in middle school and he and I never really saw eye to eye. We were not close at all. But he came through for me when I needed him. He came and stayed the night when they were going to do some scary test with needles (I hate needles more than you could possible know). He got up every hour on the hour all night to empty this fluid drain on my oxygen feed. He took care of me and that was not something I was used to from him. My mom, yes, she always, always let me know where I stood with her and how much she loved me. But until that moment, I had no idea how much my dad loved me.
I’ve been in remission for 18 years now and so much has happened since that fateful summer. I have gone through crazy side effects from the chemo that saved my life. In 2002, I had a blood that decided to take up residence in my lung, which landed me in the hospital for a week. I once again cheated death. But Death, he is a fickle creature, he wasn’t satisfied that I had made it through. A week after I came home from the hospital, Death claimed someone very dear to me and my mom. Her fiance. T was a charismatic, loud, sweet, protective, amazing man. He died while at work, from a blood clot in his lung. I know that he had other health issues going on and by him going this way, he didn’t suffer. But I seriously have survivor’s guilt. There are many days when I think of him still and wonder why death took him but passed me over.
I know, I know, obviously I have more in life that needs to be done. So I continue to live. On the plus side of side effects from chemo, I started going through menopause at the young age of 28. I am long since completed with this form of torture and no longer have to endure any monthly visits from my “friend” or even the “hot flashes” that come with menopause. And my hormones finally evened out so that I don’t have anymore nasty mood swings. Tip – menopause and teenage daughters do not mix. Many a screaming match could have been avoided had I not have been in the throws of a hormonal imbalance.
There’s been one more side effect from the chemo (or it could have been the family history that could have added it) I developed Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). It’s really not as fun as it sounds, ha, ha, ha. I have medications that I take daily, I watch my diet, I watch my salt intake (as little salt as possible). The last thing is really hard to do. I do a fair job at watching my salt intake but it’s hard. So I pretty much have to cook most of my own food. Restaurants are for a treat once in a while because I can’t control how much salt they use in preparing my food.