March 31, 2011: Maybe only my family will understand how almost giddy I feel knowing that March is almost at an end. To think that all this chaos started in the last 30 days, from the biopsy surgery on the 3rd to the devastating diagnosis on the 7th to the Big Guns Surgery on the 17th...I am ready for a calendar change. Even if that calendar is already filling up with doctor visits and treatments and consultations, it is still one more day, one more week, one more month to be alive and healing. And happily, that old calendar page has a big red heart wrapped around the 28th, the day our little Knox came to our family. Today has been a day of phone calls from the powers that be, mainly medical people. I waited all day for the Huntsman Cancer Center to call me back for my appointment with Dr. Grossman. No luck. But, don't worry - I've been up to my eyebrows keeping up with the other calls.
- Carol from Dr. Bradley's office calls this morning. She says Dr. Bradley went before the Tumor Board yesterday, and after a review of my case, they recommend radiation treatments in my neck. She tells me she has made an appointment at LDS Hospital with Dr. Sause for Friday, April 8, at 1:30 PM. I ask, "Does this supercede the appointment I have with Dr. Abazonas on April 12?" She says that Dr. Bradley did not tell her to cancel that appointment, so maybe I am supposed to keep both. I hang up, confused and sad because I really wanted to be out of town on April 8, snuggling a new baby and putting my arms around his slowly-healing mommy and daddy. I feel like a puppet on a string, my movements entirely in the hands of my doctors.
- I get a call from IHC's billing department and we go through two minutes of "how do you want to handle these charges?" I hang up, depressed and remembering how Dean's prescription bill tips me over the edge each month. Little did I know.
- I get a call from Dr. Sause's office, confirming my appointment for April 8. The receptionist, Gwen, asks if I'm aware I have two appointments at two different facilities - she asks which facility and appointment would I like to keep? I am muddle-headed with all the information and choices coming at me today, so I choose to keep the appointment at LDS, thinking that it's better to go closer to home. Gwen tells me that I should cancel the other appointment, which I do. But the minute I hang up the phone, I moan aloud, "What am I doing? I have a choice! Why not choose the appointment that doesn't interfere with a date with my kids?" Arghh! I start to cry. Oh, Heavenly Father, I'm not thinking straight - You have to help me make the right choices and say the right things, especially when I'm vulnerable and alone. In mere seconds, the phone rings again. It's Dr. Abazonas's office, asking me if I'm SURE I want to cancel my appointment - that the LDS facility may not accept my insurance and I need to make sure they do before I go ahead. I could have kissed that woman on the other end of the line! I was almost too eager to tell her that I had changed my mind - I wanted to KEEP the appointment with Dr. A, no matter how far away it is from my home, and cancel the newer appointment on April 8. I bury my face in my hands and sob my thanks to a loving Father who is standing right beside me every second and nudging me with each jangle of the phone to make the right choices - or quickly help me change to the right choices! If I've ever doubted His endless tender mercies - and I haven't - today only solidifies how closely He is watching over me.
This morning, for the first time, I was able to really touch my wound. I've been overly cautious during showers, just patting it dry and avoiding it as much as possible. I'm lucky - I can't see the nasty thing, yet the world has to look at it and cringe. So, this morning, I touched it. It feels as rough and fat as a thick hemp rope. The numb spots still feel alien. My ear feels as big as a saucer. There are dents and shallow spots that weren't there before. There are mountainous overlaps of skin that will never lie down flat again. I'll never wear short hair over my ears again. I wonder how long it will be before I want to put an earring in my dead earlobe. I think I've always been a little vain about my looks. No more. I've got the ugly truth peeking out behind my ear and pulsing under my fingertips.
We will get through this rough patch. Tomorrow is another new day...ahh, April...ahh, spring.