Today marked Sissy's last chemo treatment of Cycle 4. Only ???? more to go. The doctor didn't do tumor marker numbers, he will do them again in 2 weeks when she starts Cycle 5. However, next week Trina will have all new scans done, which is always nerve wracking. We did get good news today though. Her liver enzymes are still normal and her bone phosphates are normal now too. I have no idea what the bone phosphate is and since I do NOT look up anything relating to her cancer I will stay in the dark. Anytime any of her tests say "normal" though, I take that as good news!!!!
Cancer still really fucking sucks. There are so many blogger friends of mine who are either dealing with it with themselves or immediate family members or close friends. One of the first things I do in the morning, after checking my email, is doing my frivolous People.com entertainment news fix. BANG! The top story was Ethan Zohn's cancer returning. Then later today BANG! Patrick Swayze died. Cancer is like, well, a cancer that seems to wind its way into most people's lives.
For some reason I keep remembering the two times I was told that sissy had cancer. I will never, ever, forget either time even though they happened 16 years apart.
The first time was on 12/14/92. Trina had found a lump in her breast earlier that summer and had been to a few doctors who dismissed it as a cyst. Hey, she was 23, women that young don't have breast cancer. Mom insisted on her going to yet another doctor until she found one who wanted to biopsy it. That was Dr. S. Dr. S said it probably was nothing but he said it still shouldn't be there and he wanted to take it out. The surgery was scheduled for Monday, 12/14. Trina and her ex-husband came home from a Florida vacation the day prior. We all trekked to the hospital at some ungodly hour, it was still dark outside. I was 17 at the time. Anyway, I had a big bag of books and magazines to keep me busy. I knew that mom was scared but it had never, in almost six months of doctors appointments, crossed my mind that it could be cancer. I kept calming mom down and saying it was nothing.
A few hours went by in the waiting room when all of a sudden I got a chill and my heart sank. This was not right. Something was wrong. I knew at that moment things had changed. About 45 minutes later Dr. S came walking towards us with a grim look on his face. He knelt down in front of mom and I and told us that her lump was indeed cancer. I remember wanting to jump onto Dr. S and kill him. If I killed him than the news wouldn't be true. We could rewind this and have it never happen. No one would be the wiser. We later figured out that about 45 minutes before Dr. S came out to talk to us is when he got the pathology report. It was at that time that I got that feeling that Trina had cancer.
As you all know, sissy endured chemo and radiation and was cured. Every year on December 14th, I have taken sissy out to celebrate her "cancer anniversary". We celebrate the fact that she's alive and that cancer didn't take her.
We now have another cancer anniversary.
May 3, 2009.
Trina had been having a pain on her left side, around her stomach area that traveled up to her chest and arm. She had it checked out by her PCP and was told that it was nothing. She was 10 weeks pregnant and her PCP told her it was just hormones related to the pregnancy.
Saturday night, May 2nd, mom and papa had Valentina over night. Around 2 am Mom came into the house with Valentina and said she had to take sissy to the ER. Trina's pain was intense and she needed to have it checked out. I didn't sleep as I was texting and calling mom until around 4:30 am. After that I finally figured if it was something bad then it could wait until later in the day. At the time mom said the doctors were checking for a blood clot but due to the baby they couldn't do CT scans or x-rays.
I woke up around 7 am and had a familiar feeling. I was exhausted and Norm got up with Valentina. I debated getting up with them but the thought popped into my head "this is the last time things will be normal so I need to enjoy this and get some sleep."
At 8:30 am I woke up when I heard Asa come bounding into the living room. Mom walked into our bedroom, shut the door and her face told me everything I needed to know.
"It's the worst possible news."
I turned over and started hyperventilating. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I was shaking and my mind went blank. This couldn't happen again. nonononononononononononononononono. Mom leaned up against the foot board of our bed to keep from collapsing. "It's cancer in her liver." I don't know how long I laid there trying to comprehend the unbelievable. Anger suddenly surged through me and I leaped out of bed and yelled "IT TRIED TO TAKE HER ONCE, I'LL BE DAMNED IF IT TRIES TO TAKE HER AGAIN!" Although having been through this before, I knew all too well that there wasn't, and isn't, a fucking thing I can do.
And that is how I got the worst news of my life, twice. That Friday was the start of "Fuck Off Friday's". For the next month we continued to get bad news on Friday.
After Trina started chemo she was having extreme pain in her neck and bones. Just one month prior all of her bone scans came back clean. Her doctor ordered another bone scan. It was a Friday and I was sitting at the dining room table with Valentina while she ate her dinner. I saw mom open the front door and again I knew what the news was. The blood drained from my body and for a moment I thought I was going to pass out. I had Norm take Valentina into the family room while mom sat at the table and confirmed what I saw all over her face. I managed to make it to the bedroom before I lost it. Mom just held me while I sobbed. I saw my Bible and in a moment of white hot anger and hate I picked it up and threw it as hard as I could. It flew straight through our bathroom and landed in our shower. I wanted to push over all of our dressers, rip out every item of clothing from our closet and break the tv. I needed to physically see the turmoil that was trapped inside of me.
I somehow kept it together.
And now we have been dealing and living with cancer for the past 4 1/2 months. There is no end in sight. There will be no end in sight. And yet we are very fortunate in that we all have each other. We love each other and we have our miracle children. Life could be worse. Much worse. We know that. For the most part we are a happy family. We are blessed beyond measure in every other way. I hate what cancer has done to sissy. I hate what cancer has done to Asa. I hate what cancer has done to our family. I really, truly, fucking hate cancer. That has never changed in 16 years and has only gotten worse in the past four and a half months. It will continue to get worse. My hatred for this disease is intense.
However big my hatred is for cancer, the love in our family is even bigger. Compared to that, well, cancer doesn't have a fucking chance.