Monday, February 7, 2011

ER to Sloan

So now I'm in the ER waiting room, they knew from my doc that I was coming and they took me right in. But I did have a couple of minutes and so I called my husband at work. "You have to leave, I'm in the ER. It's lung cancer, they think I'm having a blood clot, just get here". I hate that I told him that way, his drive to the ER must have been horrific. But I was on another planet, so that's how I did it.

The admitting nurse took my vitals, my blood pressure was high. He said, you bp is very high. "Well it was 126/81 before they told me I have lung cancer" and he said "understood". He then told me he was sorry, for which I was appreciative. I then saw a nurse immediately who was really upset for me. And the first question everyone asks you is, are you a smoker? And I said, well no, but it's not like I've never smoked. But I haven't had a cigarette in over 2 years. And she said, well hell then we'd all have it. She then just gave me a hug and sent in this nice PA Adam, who we spent the next few hours really getting to know.

The quest for the nonexistent pulminary embolism is not too important, but it did cause some issues. One, the IV for a PE cat scan is an 18 gauge monster. And not a mamby pampy little plastic IV, it's a big ass needle that stays in your arm. It took them 6 tries to find a vein that could take it. This bloodied the hell out of my arms and set the stage for my chemo pass out. But they finally got it. My arteries were ok, thankfully. But the cat scan guy saw my liver and knew it was there too. He should not have told me, but he did. I was so angry at him that night, but now I'm glad he did. Between him and Dr. C's gravity, I went to Sloan knowing that it could be everywhere. If I went there with the wrong impression, that apt. would have been so much more devastating.

John spent the entire time at the ER on the phone. Everyone was cool with it, they were like get to Sloan, do what you have to do. I was so annoyed, John just kept calling and calling trying to get 411 to give him the correct Sloan number. I just kept screaming in my head, don't you understand, I don't want to do this, I don't want to get the pet scan, I don't want to get the brain MRI. Sloan can see me next month when I might finally accept this is happening. But John defied me in a quest to save my life. This is why it's never good to have a spouse who does everything you say, of course John does nothing I say. Am I glad for that.

If not for John, I would have lost my mind. We got out of the ER late Thurs. night. My dad cried as he got in his car. I just got in mine confused and angry. I had all of Friday for my head to swim. I got no sleep naturally, every time I closed my eyes I saw a door, inside that door was the answer, where else is this cancer. I hated that fucking door.

John got me a pet scan and a brain MRI on Sat. morning. He got the ER to give us all of my reports from my biopsy, cat scan, and PE cat scan. He got the labs to rush to make me slides so I could get them to Sloan ASAP and he got Sloan to see me on Monday. Without these actions I would have lost my mind. Waiting to know the results was by far the worst part. I ate nothing for 4 days, I got no sleep. I just begged the universe, please not in my brain, please not in my brain.

Longest 4 days of my life. To say I took it hour by hour, is an understatement.

The pet scan was an interesting experience. They put in an IV and tell you you'll be radioactive for 24 hours and stay away from small children. Another day without my Sophia. Ugh. Then they take you to a room, John was with me for a few minutes and then this little man came in with a lead box. He flushed my line with some saline and then turned to John and said "I'm sorry sir, but I'm about to open the box, you'll have to leave". He then pulled out this ENORMOUS syringe. Now I'm sure the actual size was pretty small, it didn't seem like there was a lot going in my arm. But it is encased in a giant lead casing. It was so sci fi! I looked at him and said "doesn't that scare you carrying that around with you?" And he assured they take all the best precautions. I was like, you could not pay me enough.

Then they leave you alone in the room for 45 minutes while your insides light up. 45 minutes alone in a room with nothing but your thoughts and fears. They should have pictures of every Deity so you can work your way around begging them for your life. At least someone had the presence of mind to put a box of tissues in there. Then the scan. It's like a cross between an MRI and a cat scan. It's open like a can scan and it moves you around but you can't move the entire 45 min like an MRI. My arms and head were wrapped and I was covered in a warm blanket. I almost fell asleep actually. It was long and SILENT. I can't stress how strange the silence was. If you've ever had an MRI, it's got a banging sound and sometimes it can sound like you are trapped in an Atari game. But it turns out I prefer that to the silence.

Then my brain MRI, only 20 min. I can do that standing on my head. And the tech was so sure I was too healthy to be getting that test. I liked his optimism. But he was wrong. Being inside that machine just led to more begging, please not my brain, please not my brain. And then another dye and bam it's over. The tech asked me if I was dizzy, had hearing disruptions or headaches. As soon as he said headaches I knew. I had two strange ones in Dec. I needed to throw up to feel better. That never happens to me. So there was another clue.

The radiologists then raced to get my reports read and the films copied for Sloan. I will never know all the people who came together to rush my information to help get me to my treatment faster. They worked to save my life without ever knowing me. And I'll never know them, but I owe them so much. And again not without the actions of my husband would any of this have occurred. If it were up to me I'd be in a fetal position somewhere pretending this all wasn't happening.

And then we head to Sloan on Monday Jan 24. Armed with all the information I need for them to tell me, where it is and what the fuck do I do. John's cousin Louis, raced to get the films to us so my family would be with me at my apt while he did the leg work. He waited for the results to be read, he waited for them to be faxed and then he got his hands on the films and hand delivered them to us at Sloan in midtown from Staten Island.

People let me tell you something. You can't get thru something like this without family. But when you have a family like John's and mine, you really can get thru anything.

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