The next time we talk, I won’t be a chemo patient anymore.

The next time we talk, I won’t be a chemo patient anymore.

April 22, 2017. Saturday. April showers (baby, bridal, baby) everywhere! I am 28 so it is that “time” (ya know, normal people getting engaged, having babies, not getting cancer — cue the violins). I don’t have many friends so, there aren’t too many (hehe). I was up early(ish) to get ready to head down to New Egypt for Britt’s (my college roommate’s) bridal shower. I went to TJmaxx the other day to grab a few things to try on for the showers. Picked a cute Cynthia Rowley dress for $15, love me some TJmaxx. Shower, make up, dress, wig. I stopped at Walgreens to pick me up some new eyelashes, I have become a daily eyelash gluer on-er and I kind of love it. I got the eyelashes and glued them on in the car, hehe. A few tips, put the glue on and let sit for a minute, it’s easier to put on when the glue isn’t so wet. Also, use your fingers to put them on rather then tweezers, you have more control. Anyway, went down to New Egypt to a winery for the bridal shower. So cute and pretty. I got to see all my old college friends who I haven’t seen in years (shout out to my Monmouth ladies!).

 The lunch was yummziessss, salad, green beans, potatoes and salmon, yum. I had to leave early because Kim’s sister was having her baby shower. I had ANOTHER baby shower that day but couldn’t make it, come on guyssss. Anyway, left around 2:30 pm to head to Kim’s mom’s house for the baby shower. 

Got there around 3:45 pm, just in time for dessert, DENY, DENY, DENY. Remember, I am in a weight loss challenge with my girlfriends for the Cancerlorette party. Hung out at the baby shower for a few hours then went home to change into some comfy clothes, out of those heels and ready for a chill girls night at Kara’s. Hillary was home for the baby shower. Hillary, Angie and I went to Kara’s for a fabulous cheese plate, champagne and some homemade pizza. Truly, all I ever need in life. We were in the middle of a story and Kim called, I knew he was on his way home from work so I silenced it. Of course, always try to give the girls night all your attention! Five minutes later someone pulls up to the house. I didn’t see the car. We weren’t sure who it was. It was Kimmyyyyy. He wanted to see Hillary and he hasn’t seen Kara’s home renovation yet so that was good. Love seeing his face. Kim left, we chatted a while longer then it was time to go home.

April 23, 2017. Sunday. I think I laid around most of the morning. I was meeting the girls for brunch around 11 am. We were heading to a new place but it ended up being closed so we went to Cheesecake Factory which I wasn’t mad about at all. We sat outside, had some iced coffee and just chilled, it was great. Had two eggs over easy, english muffin with tomato, truly delicious (and healthy). I headed over to Mar’s for a few hours and hung out. I left for home around 5:30 pm and wanted to get a work out in, it was beautiful out. I got home, changed and Kim walked in the door. We didn’t have any plans for dinner that night so we decided to order in. He wanted something from the italian restaurant we love and I wanted something from Pure Pita. We each ordered separately on Seamless, lolz. I went out for a run while Kim went to shower. Did a (slow) mile and felt good. I then decided to walk to pick up my food because it was so close to where I ended my run. It wasn’t ready yet so I walked around the block to gain a few more steps. Got my food and walked home. Kim’s food wasn’t ready yet and I said I would wait……… of course I couldn’t wait, come on. I got grilled chicken with pineapple, tomatoes, onions. It came in a pita but I took it out because, CHALLENGE GUYS. I did get some falafels on the side with spicy yogurt sauce, yumz. Shower, relax, Sunday things.

April 24, 2017. Monday. WEIGH IN TIME. Week 1-162.4. Week 2-160.4, yeahhhh boiiiiiiii. Down 2 pounds. I mean, it’s not real weight. Not until you’ve lost 5 or more pounds is it really fat loss. I can pee and lose 2 pounds. Hey, I will take it though. I was starting in a new building today. I actually started at this building when we first picked it up and I was there during the time period of my diagnosis. Weird that I am back at the end of my treatment. This building reminds me of my first job, smaller building, feels more like a family compared to other, bigger, 9 story buildings I have been in. Feels good. Got to work around 8:30 am and got to organizing.

Worked until 1 pm and then had to race down, no, I drove cautiously, to MSK for my first visit of the week. I went for the genetic counseling. The genetic counselor was really nice, maybe too nice? I am not sure. She called me in and she started right in on my family tree. She was talking and talking, eventually she said to me, “are you ok?”, at that point, yes? I am fine? I think she took my minimal questions and non-dramatic facial expressions as a sign, but no ma’am, I am fine, I am just UBER tired of talking about cancer. Eventually I shed one or two tears, nothing dramatic, just like, wow this is my life, sometimes I forget how unbelievable it is. She did say if I test positive for a gene that puts me at high risk for ovarian cancer, they would not recommend I take out my ovaries until I am 35. That made me feel good. But you know what my first question was? “Would they take them out sooner if I asked them to?”. Is that a sign that I don’t want kids? Maybe? You know what it really is, fear. Fear will run a lot of my thoughts for the rest of my life. Any bump, any “abnormality”, anything, my first thought will be, “I wonder if it’s cancer”. My life will never be the same and that’s a fact.

Then I signed off, take my blood and test it.

It was first night of restaurant week. Kim’s mom, Meg and I went to a place called Chef Fredy’s Table. Mom and I went there probably 3 years ago for restaurant week for lunch where we sat outside. It has changed since then. I got a stuffed mushroom with spinach and smoked mozzarella then filet mignon, mashed potatoes and vegetables and a chocolate mousse for dinner. I brought half the steak home and finished half the dessert, because, self control y’all, it’s harddddd. 

Got home and Kim was hanging on the couch. It was up to bed for me, sleepy. Chemo tomorrow.

April 25, 2017. Tuesday. Second to last chemo day. Up and out by 7:40 am. Melanie was bringing me to chemo today. We were off. Mel dropped me off for blood work and then went to get the usual cinnamon raisin bagel, weight loss challenge or no challenge, I am eating my cinnamon raisin bagel before chemo. Side note: since I went to MSK yesterday after work, I had my lashes on, wig on, everything. I was kind of done up because I was seeing people for the first time on Monday since I started chemo so I wanted to look real fly. This young man took my blood, extremely nice, made me feel good, as many do at MSK. GUESS WHO TOOK MY BLOOD THIS MORNING WHILE I HAD NO MAKE UP ON, NO LASHES, NO WIG. Omg this poor soul. I literally started laughing and said “omg, you took my blood yesterday and it’s so funny because you probably don’t even recognize me” he said “oh yea!”, literally he probably didn’t recognize me. LOL tho.

On the way to chemo, for some reason I checked my MSK app. There was a message from the doctor’s office that they wanted to move my pelvic ultrasound up to TODAY at 2 pm rather than next week since the meeting with the gyno oncologist was Friday. Well, ya should have called me but, ok. I would rather get it done today then have to go back after my last chemo treatment. Melanie came up and we ate. We were called into chemo pretty quick. We were in and out by 10:15 am, the earliest I have ever been done. Crazy. Melanie dropped me off. I finished the other half of my bagel and laid down for about an hour before having to head back for the ultrasound. The benadryl had worn off by then although I was still sleepy. Went back for my 2 pm appointment. They wanted a pelvic ultrasound (inside and outside, yeah, as horrendous as you may think). They want to see what has been going on with that pelvic mass of mine in which they thought was a dermoid cyst and just didn’t think it was important to asses back then, well, now it’s time. It’s time for everything. 

I was out of there by 3 pm. Visit number 3 in two days, done. Starting to get really sick of this place on a mental level. Melanie and I were going to go to Roots for the lunch special for restaurant week but I was just too sleepy. I ended up making that left over filet mignon for the lunch with some eggs, it was quiteeeee delightful. I just hung out most of the day. For dinner, some Trader Joe’s rice, chicken and veggies. We decided to watch Split. Anyone watch it? I have been wanting to for a while. I thought it was pretty good. It was a little deeper than I thought it would be. Kim got kind of bored half way through so decided to make a cake. A cake. A two layer, coconut, homemade icing and all, cake. Oye vey. I went up to get in bed around 8:30 pm and about an hour later, a piece of cake was delivered to my bed. It was gooooooooood. I mean, it had to be, it was made with about 5 sticks of butterrrrrrrr. IT WAS ALSO 775 CALORIES AND BECAUSE I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND DID NOT WANT TO HURT HIS FEELINGS I ATE IT AND I LOGGED IT ON MY FITNESS PAL AND IT REALLY HURT. End.

April 27, 2017. Wednesday. Off to work, a day off from MSK I am thankful for. Work was good, worked until about 4:30 pm. It was Kim’s turn to go out with me for restaurant week. We were going to a local Italian restaurant, Nunzio’s. They had a prix fixed dinner for $35. I got home around 5:30 pm, we had reservations with Kim’s coworker and girlfriend at 7:30 pm. I sit down on the couch and “Dr. Gorsky’s Office” is calling. Hmmm, weird. The nurse was calling to give me a heads up that the gyno oncologists office was going to call me to set up an MRI to get a closer look at the cyst. “oh, ok, is everything ok, do they think it is something??”, I said… and in my head… WHAT THE FUCK, WHY, WHAT, I AM CONFUSED, HOLD ON, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE NOTHING, I CAN’T HANDLE ANYMORE. “I am not sure, they just want a better look. How are you doing?” … “Well I was good until I got this call” … “oh, I am sorry, I don’t mean to be an alarmist, I just wanted to tell you”. She is right, I am thankful she called, she just got the brunt of my fear. Oh, hi, again, that thing called fear. Do you know how tiring fear is? Might be the most tiring thing I have ever experienced. Kim was in the shower, I immediately called dad. “THEY WANT AN MRI, WHY DO THEY WANT AN MRI, I DON’T UNDERSTAND”, as tears are falling ever so quickly down my face. Poor dad. Dad and Kim always get these frantic, tearful calls. That is probably, no it is definitely why,  they both have anxiety about getting phone calls from me. “Kate, calm down, what did they say”. We reviewed it. “So it sounds like they just want to get a better look at it”. True. An MRI is not a cancer diagnosis. You know why I freaked the fuck out? Because the last time someone wanted to look closer into something was when I got a mammogram, “the doctor wants to look a little closer” … “the doctor wants one more, she wants to look at it closer” … so you could understand my … fear. Kim comes out of shower, more tears and maybe a, “if it is something, I am done, I’m not doing anything” … “yes you are” he said. Did I mean that? In that split second, yes, I did. I am truly, truly over all of this. Mostly because I have been to MSK three times already this week and now they want to schedule a fourth time before now what will be the fifth.

I would do this all again, for Kim. 

Kim asked if we should cancel dinner. No, I said. I am learning to get over things, move past them, function like a normal human being when there is bad news because, my life. We walked to dinner. It was delightful and delicious. I got a caesar salad to start, then grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and carrots, yummmm. Then a chocolate mousse cake with decaf coffee, ate half. It was gooooood.

 It was a great night, just what I needed. I had a missed called from someone from Morristown. I was going to get up and leave the table and take the call but thought, nope, let it go, enjoy right now, let it go. You HAVE to do that. It was someone from End of Elm calling to confirm our reservation for tomorrow, lol. Home, snuggle, bed.

April 28, Thursday. Up and off to work. They still didn’t call about scheduling the MRI by 12 pm and the appointment with the oncologist was 10:15 am tomorrow. I wasn’t gonna call, no way. At 1 pm they called. “Hi, this is Kevin from Dr. Leitao’s office, can you be in at 2 pm for the MRI” … with a little attitude “no sir, I can’t, I am at work and I am an hour away” … “ok, if you leave now you can make it” … “no, sir, I am at work, I cannot just leave, I am sorry”. Listen, I understand I have cancer and if this was for a chemo treatment or a shot that would cure me, sure, I will rush down there, but you need to respect my time too. I said I could do 3 or 4 pm, he said he will check with the team. Yes, sir, please do. I got a call at 2 pm, “Does 4 pm work?” … yes, yes sir it does. Left work at 3 pm, made it down there by 3:55 pm. I don’t think I really remembered what an MRI was when she told me I needed one. I think I thought it was more like the PET scan, not as intense. No, no, it wasn’t. Clothes off (undies on), robe on, brought into a room, IV started, contrast dye, glucagon shot. Jesus. Let me slow down.

Someone brought me into a room. It will take one hour, she said. WTF. In my head. Do I have to drink that stuff, I asked, no. Ok. She left and said the nurse will be in soon to start the IV. Tears, tears, tears. Why was I crying? Hmmm I think because I was scared of wtf this test was really looking for because no one really told me, it was my fourth time here this week, and I am truly, truly tired of doing all this shit. That’s what I said when the nurse asked why I was crying and if I was scared of the IV or the test. No ma’am, I have a fucking device in my body that you guys pierce once a week to get chemotherapy, I am not scared of an IV or a test. I’m sorry but I just, people frustrate me (and I am sure I frustrate them as well). Someone came and got me for the test. I was told to lay down, I was given a blanket. The nurse came in and gave me a glucagon shot in my stomach. Glucagon is usually given when someone has very low blood sugar, so the sugar in my blood raced to my stomach to help it relax so the picture would come out clear. Tears continued to roll down the side of my face as I was squished into the tube. After about a half hour I was given some contrast dye to help define the masses. Then, I HAD TO HOLD MY BREATH 5 TIMES FOR 30 SECONDS. No, no, how do really old people do this shit??

It was over. I got up, whoozy because all the sugar in my blood is now in my stomach. They give you juice and fig newtons right after, yum fig newtons, ew juice. I got dressed and went home. Sigh. One more visit. I was getting dinner with Ed and Nate on the other side of town. I decided to walk because it was gorgeous and I needed it. I sat down, like a grumpy cat. I need to work on that, Nate even said “can we not talk about issues for one night” after I explained about 7 of mine. No sir, we can’t not, because my life. After I had a good cheese plate, I was better. Kim was playing golf with his buddies, he met us after for a few bites of dessert and to drive me home. I was very, very ready for beddy.

April 29, 2017. Friday. I was off today because the appointment was at 10:15 am. Woke up, kind of feeling like a zombie. Didn’t want to go, didn’t know what they were going to say, didn’t really give a shit at this point. Dad was meeting me there because yesterday was not pretty and he needed to absorb things because I was like a sponge so full of water. I woke up, didn’t eat anything, wig on, lashes on, on my way. Dad was sitting outside in a nice wooden rocking chair living the dream reading, lol. It was gorgeous out, so warm, I wore a sweater, whoopsies. We were in by 10:20 am. The doctor wanted to do an exam so Ed went back into the waiting room. The nurse came in to take vitals and then the NP came in to talk more about my history. More tears. Just tired, I said when she asked why. The doctor then came in and did an exam then we left the exam room and went into the doctor’s office. Dad came in. There was a picture of what looked like a body and a bunch of blobs, welp, it was me, ha. Probably shouldn’t have that up with the door wide open and the patient just in the room. Oh well. He came in about ten minutes later and then said, hold on one second, be right back, and came back about ten minutes later. Dad rolled his eyes.

He came in. Basically, they think I have one very large cyst, 6 inches long, touching both ovaries, or two large cysts, 3 inches long, coming from each ovary. Due to the fact that it is so big, he could feel it on the exam, he wants to take it out. Sigh. I think I figured they would want to? “So, is it cancer?” … well, we don’t know for sure yet. HA HA HA, SIR, NO STOP, I CAN’T. Rolled my eyes. “The final MRI reading isn’t done yet. We think it is just a dermoid cyst, so just random things like hair follicles, could be teeth” … so my unborn twin sir? They said they can do a minimally invasive procedure however if need be, they would need to make a larger cut, like a C-section. Great. Also, “we will try to keep both of your ovaries intact however we can’t promise they will be there when you get out of surgery”. Great. “Do you want kids?” … “I am not sure, but I want to know my options”. We didn’t go into great detail about that, it will have to be later. He doesn’t recommend doing it before my breast surgery as we do not want to put that off. He could do it during however it may be long and if there are complications then it would not be good. I think the best option would be to get it done after breast surgery, before reconstruction and a little bit after so I am recovered well. Dad basically re-explained everything he said, with the doctor saying yes, yes, yes, so I wouldn’t leave there and have a mental breakdown. I was all out of mental breakdowns. I was confident it was going to be nothing. I actually said, “I mean honestly, at this point, for this to be cancer, it would be pretty freakin’ crazy right doc?” … he said yes. Dermoid cysts turn out to be cancer in 2% of people with them.

The office called at 5 pm. Not cancer. Phew.

We left. I went home to lay down. I was meeting someone I work with for a drink and a late lunch or early dinner, whatever you want to call it. I was pretty tired. Laid on the couch. Kim texted me asking how it went and asking how I was. I didn’t want to talk much about it yesterday and I had minimal to talk about today because I am just so over it. “Went fine, I am over it, I am tired of talking about myself and my issues” … “You are the center of the universe and we all care about you”.

No I don’t think he was kidding and no I don’t know how to explain to all of you what Kim is to me. I am a MUCH better person for having met him and for having him in my life. I am happiest when I am with him. People often say to me, “how is Kim, he seems to be handling this really well and is very good to you” … “I can’t even explain to you in words how amazing he is” .. that’s my usual response. Because I literally cannot find the words to really emulate my feelings about him. I will think of it eventually and let you know. For now, just believe that when someone says, I am the luckiest girl in the world, that might ACTUALLY be me, and I have cancer. 

Just becuase my hair and lashes were looking REAL RIGHT, cancer ain’t got nothing on me. 


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