Monday, January 16, 2017. Monday. Same old, same old. Got up, did I shower? Nope. Showered yesterday, whoops. Make up, wig, dressed, out the door by 8:15 am? Got to work by 9:15 am. I had a pretty good day work wise however the anxiety was really setting in for mediport surgery tomorrow. The woman on the phone, I think I said this already, said I will be in a twilight, won’t be knocked out but won’t feel anything. But what does that mean exactly? I will be awake while they are putting something in my body? Ok, BRB gotta go cry a little in the bathroom then get myself together. Left work around 3:45 pm. Got home and the tears start a flown’. Kim and I laid in bed and I just let loose. “I can’t believe this is my life, I can’t believe this is my life, this is a joke”….”I am fucking bald, at first yeah it was cool but now, I don’t want to be bald anymore”. Kim, “at least yours is going to grow back! I am stuck like this for another 50 years!”, LOL TRUE. He always knows the right thing to say, or to just let me cry and listen.
I was feeling anxious on Sunday too. We were waiting in a line to get out of the parking garage and he was complaining and before we left I had to drag him out of the house. THEN when I was driving there was someone who was being annoying and Kim wanted me to honk so he kept reaching over and finally I just broke, “STOP IT, YOU’RE COMPLAINING SO MUCH AND YOU’RE ANNOYING ME”. The guilt immediately ran through my body. Kim gets quiet when there’s confrontation, it’s one of our downfalls as a couple, we ain’t all cute and perfect and he ain’t perfect himself even though around now he pretty much is, except for Sunday, he was really annoying the shit out of me. I apologized 10 minutes later, “I am sorry for yelling at you, I am anxious”. I am anxious for so many reasons. I AM WEARING A WIG. That’s anxiety provoking I’d say. Can’t explain it. Just, like, who reallllllllly wants to wear a wig other than Kim Zolciak Biermann, LOL. Just everything.
Anyway, dad and I were catching the train from Morristown into NYC that night, back to Monday night y’all. My dad has a friend (Hi Susan!) who has an apartment on the upper east side fairly close to where we had to be in the morning, convenience is key to life, when possible. It was beautiful. We arrived at the apartment around 8 pm. Olivia, Susan’s daughter, and her bf were making dinner; avocado pesto on spaghetti, pan seared brussels sprouts and baked shrimp. IT WAS KIND OF AMAZING. Not kind of, it was amazing. The avocado really allows the pesto and garlic flavors to adhere to the pasta. Mmmmm, going to recreate for sure. It was about 10 pm at this point and I was ready for beddy. Snuggled up with my chemo blanket, put on some, I don’t even know what I was watching, and went to sleep.
Tuesday, January 17, 2016. Tuesday, port day. Tears just typing this, get the tissues y’all. Woke up around 7 am. Did not have to get up until 8 am. Perks of staying in the city. Got out of bed around 8 am, brushed my teeth, washed my face. We left around 8:30 am. It was a 15 minute walk. I was not allowed to eat or drink before surgery. Dad got an egg and cheese on a roll at a food truck, love those things. He got me a glazed donut for after surgery, mmmm. Walked to the facility, walking in, tears are forming. I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want my dad to have to go through this. I wasn’t allowed to take any ativan before, that didn’t help nobody. We finally got to the office and they asked my name, “Caitlin O’Neill”, date of birth, “8/12/88”, tears. Dad starts rubbing my back, “it’s ok, let it out”.
Side note: just had to stop for about a half hour to collect myself and cry to Kim. Yesterday was just, hard.
They put us in a private room, tears help I guess, lol. We were told to be there around 9 am, got there early. Did not get called in to prep until 9:20 ish. Dad stayed, they said he could come but he didn’t need to see me cry anymore. Walked into a hallway with a bunch of little rooms, everyone prepping for same day surgery. I got into the room with the aide. She asked me to change into a gown, keep underwear on. WHOOPS, wasn’t wearing anyway, hehe. They gave me some that were actually quite comfortable, spandex, boy short type, I quite enjoyed them (lol). The nurse came in to ask me questions; fever in the last 7 days, yes, cough, yes. I never answered yes to any questions like this, life will never be the same. I will always be circling breast cancer on history at the doctors office, weird. I cried on and off during her interview. She eventually put an IV in. I had to take ANOTHER pregnancy test, probably my 5th in the last month. Alllllll negative, hope I get a positive one in my future. They weren’t ready for me for another half hour so I turned on some cooking channel, the country singer was on, making chicken pot pie without the chicken. She got the recipe from her mother who was diagnosed with cancer, rolls eyes, and wanted to eat healthier and lots of vegetables. I get it, but like, you need protein.
Around 10:15 am it was time to go to surgery. A man came and transferred me while I laid in the bed. The trip felt like forever, went throughout may hallways. I went through the hallway I walked in, passed the elevators, through a set of double doors, through another set, jeez maybe through another set. I was rolled into the operating room head first. Looked up and there was a flat screen tv. “Caitlin O’Neill, mediport, 28 years old”. Fuck. I am fucking 28. Tears. “Hi Caitlin, I am Van, I will be your nurse today, making sure you’re safe, are you ok, what is wrong, it is going to be ok this is a simple procedure”….”I just, I don’t want to be here. I am ok, I understand the process, I just don’t want to be here and this sucks”…..”you’re right, it does”. Ah, thanks Van, just straight up, yup, this sucks, I liked it. I hate when people think I am stupid and don’t understand what’s going on. I realize it’s a simple procedure. When I had to get my PET scan I also cried. The guy said,
“it’s very simple”, LIKE I KNOW BRO, I WAS JUST DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER. UGH. Anyway, then the cardiologist introduced himself, then the two nurses aides. Then the doctor. My team was so nice, everyone as MSK is, it’s incredible. Tears lightly flowing on and off straight down the side of my face towards my ears. Finally I was brought over to the operating table. This large round thing moved up towards over my head, it was like a scanner type thing. It was time. Tears, heavy, heavy tears and bellows began. Van and the aid surrounded me, “Caitlin, it’s going to be ok, what’s wrong??”….”I AM 28 YEARS OLD, I SHOULDN’T BE HERE, I DON’T UNDERSTAND, I SHOULDN’T BE HERE”. They comforted be as well as they could. Van said he was going to give me drugs soon to make it better. Three minutes later, drugs, tears stopped. Ah, love that.
It was all a bit of a blur from here on out. They covered the right side of my neck and I was turned to the left. I didn’t see anything. I remember being shot with numbing meds, a lot of pushing into the site and then, “alright, all done Caitlin”. Okay, cool. Mini tears still fell down the side of my face but, it was over. I went to the waiting room to be hooked up to heart monitors and get some IV fluids because this girl was DE-HY-DRAT-ED. Dad came in. The nurse said, “ok, here is some information regarding the port, this is your dad?”….”no, it’s my boyfriend”, I LOLed, so did dad. I make myself laugh too much, Kim agrees. I had a 12 pm appointment to get blood work, it was 12:15 pm by the time we got out of there. Made it to blood work by 12:30 pm, just in time to miss my appointment with Dr. Norton. Didn’t get in to see Dr. Norton until 1:15 pm. He and Karen both said the lump in my left armpit is nothing, just a little pimple, it is very superficial, as I suspected, not a lymph node. Phew. I asked them both how, how do we know this working? Karen said they can usually tell by feeling the lump shrink, but since my breast is so filled with water cysts, we can’t really tell that way. There is one lymph node, but it was so small to begin with they just aren’t sure. They both said we could do a scan about half way. I don’t think I would do that unless there would be a different plan if it wasn’t shrinking it or it spread. If they would say, let’s keep going, see what happens, then what’s the point? I don’t know. He says it will work. I need to just keep saying that to myself. I have feelings, like I think I said before, I feel like it will work. Then surgery, then radiation. Then reconstruction. Then marry Kim. I see it all in my head. When I see it in my head, it happens.
Got out of the appointment around 2 pm. They don’t start mixing your chemo until you leave the doctor. I signed into work for about an hour and a half. Feeling good. Got called in around 4 pm and BOOM, the pain meds must have worn off from the surgery, pain, pain, pain, tears, tears, tears. The nurse asked if they gave me anything more or a prescription. Nope. “First things first, we need to get you some pain meds”. Thank you ma’am. Oxycodone, mmmm, it helped. I was feeling sleepy, dad said “I am going to have to carry you through the train station”, yup maybe. Took my grey chemo blanket, turned to the left and repeated in my head, “this too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass”. Thennnn the steroid went in and I was up. “cheez-it’s please dad”. Then ya know, same old, same old. I was readyyyyyyyyy to go. “ok, time for your lupron shot”, CAN A GIRL GET A BREAK HOLY SHIT. Shot done. I head to the bathroom and over hear the nurse say to dad, “she’s a trooper”….. he replied, “she really, really is”. As are you daddy.
Took the train home, felt good, started this blog, got some great texts from friends and family. Got home around 8:30 pm. DAMN. Kim had noodles and butter waiting for me. Today I had a white bagel with butter, half a glazed donut, cheez-it’s, bite of yogurt I just was not feeling at all, other half of glazed donut, noodles, then ice cream. WHOOOOOOPS. Exhausting, exhausting day. Exhausting. Exhausting. Exhausting. Mentally, wow. Worst so far. We can only go up from here. Oh, and we are going to Basking Ridge from now on, this is good. Will make it less of a trip, more just an appointment. I got a lecture from dad and Hillary regarding only taking oxycodone, she gave me five more, when I was in bad pain. Well ya know what, I was in bad pain tonight, mentally and physically. I also took ativan. I took control and chose to take these because I fucking wanted to. My response to Hillary was, “have you ever woken up, gone to get a port placed while still awake, walked to get blood taken, had an appointment with the doctor, gotten poked, sat around for two hours, gotten chemo, then ANOTHER shot then train home?”. She said I knowwwwwww, and it was over. I know not to fuck with these drugs. Should I have taken both, probably not, but ya know what? Tonight I wanted to sleep with no pain and that’s what I fucking did. (P.S., I didn’t take anymore, switched to tylenol and the pills are already in Kim’s “we don’t take these UNLESS WE HAVE TO draw” which never opens). I don’t mine minimal pain. I actually welcome it. I want to feel what is going on in my body. I don’t want to be numb to it, ok except for the other night. It is important to be in tune with your body, hello, how else would I have found my OWN CANCER.
January 18, 2016. Wednesday. Woke up at 2 am, hot flash. Shirt off, tank on. Back to sleep quick. Woke up around 8 am, Kim still snoozing. Was not in bad pain at all, those meds I am sure helped. It was sore, but not like yesterday. I woke up, went downstairs, made a bagel with cream cheese and raspberry jelly, mmm try it, so good. Took my three decadron and got to work. Did about 2.5 hours of work, spoke to my boss and three of my girls at different buildings. No rest for the weary. My boss said to me yesterday “You are so amazing even when sick! Its incredible. My inspiration”.Yup. Fuck cancer. After a few hours of work, Kim got to work on his PGA stuff. I was floating away into a tearful place. “What’s wrong baby”….”just tired, in some pain, just tired”. Mentally tired. Kim fed me some water, literally, while my hands stayed under the blanket. Asked him for some crackers. Feeling the nausea most today then I ever have before, maybe my mental state didn’t help.
Mom came over around 2 pm with my handicap parking pass, yahoo. I was in the bathroom when she walked in, we saw each other, embraced and started to cry. It is hard for her, I know it is, I can’t imagine. I know when she was going through it it was terrible for me too. I could only go to one chemo treatment with her it was too hard. We sat around chatting and watched the food network. We traded, she gave me some stuff, I gave her some paper towels, we have so many, lol. When mom left Kim and I headed out to Verizon. I got the iPhone 7 plus, I am not sure I love it, it is just too heavy. I have 14 days to decide, we will see. While we were at the phone store, an older woman walked in, “is there anyone else who can help me”…..”I will be done in ten minutes”…..”we are almost done” I said with a smile. Kim went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on those ice cream cookie sandwiches, yum. The guy helping me went in the back. The womanwho walked in said “excuse me, do you do your own coloring” referring to my red hair…. “no, it’s a wig” I said with a smirk, “I have cancer” she rolled her eyes and took a deep breath, “may I ask what kind”….”breast cancer”….”I had DCIS, where are you getting treated”….”at Sloan Kettering in NYC, switching to Basking Ridge from now on. I had chemo and my port placed yesterday”….”oh wow, well you look fantastic, like the picture of health, good luck”. People are so nice. When the guy came back, the woman said, “I am going to go next door, don’t you rush her, take your time” with a smile on her face. Sometimes I don’t want pity, sometimes it warming, this was warming. I told Kim what had happened when he came back, “you told her you had cancer?”….”yeah”, rolled his eye a bit….”she had cancer too”… “oh”…. because everyone fucking does. I don’t feel weird telling people and if they can’t handle it, I am sorry for that. I am an open book, if you can’t handle it, shut me up. Until then, let’s talk about it. I am proud to talk about it. I am proud of my wig and I feel good when I talk about it.
Kim and I went home, picking up chicken fingers and mashed
potatoes on the way home, for me of course. Just filling my cravings, at least I had some protein. It was good. Then an ice cream sandwich. Aye carumba. Listen, I don’t know, I have no excuse, I just don’t care. Let’s see how much I weigh tomorrow, lol.Up to bed around 7:30 pm, was just ready to lay and blog. Now we are here.
I was watching how to be single while writing this. They played this song. I can’t wait to dance to this at our wedding Kim. “I need you babyyyyyy, if it’s quite alright I need you baby, to warm the lonely nights I love you baby, trust in me when I say ok, it’s ok. Oh pretty babyyyyy, don’t let me down I pray, oh pretty baby, now that I found you stay, and let me love you, oh baby let me love you. You’re just too good to be true.”