“I’m Still Here.” Elaine Stritch first sang it on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Company,” and Shirley Maclaine sung it in the movie, “Postcards from the Edge.” It’s a fitting song to describe me and this blog, because, I am still here.
I know it’s been a couple of months since I last wrote anything here, but I have been on one roller coaster of a ride since my last post. Don’t worry, mom is fine – better than I ever hoped really – but me, that’s another story.
I have a nodule on my thyroid, had it for years, but in March for some unknown reason it became a problem. I could feel it constantly and it not only affected my voice, but also the way eat, breathe, everything. So naturally, I called my doctor who felt it and decided that I needed a thyroid scan and possibly a biopsy to find out what was wrong.
And naturally, I freaked out a little.
I know you haven’t heard me say this before, but yeah, sometimes I freak out. After the year I had and all the times I didn’t freak out when I easily could have, I figure I was due.
I didn’t throw fits or cry, but I started to feel anxious all the time. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t eat and felt generally miserable. So a lot of things started suffering, including my job performance. Now that was my real wake-up call, because I’m one of those people who always demands the best of myself. To be find out that what I considered was my best really wasn’t, was a kick in the head.
Thankfully my bosses know me and have been nothing but understanding. Just the same, it kind of killed me a little, so I decided to take some time off and concentrate on taking care of myself, because clearly I was having health issues and clearly those health issues, combined with my own stubborn drive and determination were affecting me.
And also because in all honesty, I hadn’t been taking care of myself.
I was great at taking care of mom, but taking care of me had not only taken a backseat, but it was in another car.
I began taking naps, which was something I rarely allowed myself to do during the entire time mom was undergoing cancer treatment. And it was during this time I finally realized just how exhausted I really was. That sleep felt like it had been blessed by angels and began to feel somewhat better, even though I was still dealing with the nodule.
I had the scan and it took over two weeks to hear anything back. I called my doctor to find out the results and he suggested that I just go ahead and have a biopsy anyway. This didn’t make sense to me, so instead I called a friend who is knowledgeable about vitamins and herbal treatments. She brought me some herbs that are supposed to help regulate your glandular system and some other ones that did something else. Within a few days I couldn’t feel the nodule anymore. To this day, neither my doctor nor my friend, know what the problem was, but the bottom line is that I didn’t have to have a biopsy and I don’t have cancer.
During this time, my doctor’s nurse practitioner noticed a mark on my back that turned out to be a pre-cancerous lesion. I had that removed last month, with no freaking out at this point. The doctor who removed it was possibly the best doctor I have ever seen. He really put my mind at ease so that I felt that I was receiving the best care possible.
Now I am facing a more serious surgery to remove a grapefruit size tumor that was found during my regular GYN visit. I’m not nervous about this at, but needless to say, I am still feeling quite exhausted, and no wonder, right?
It honestly feels like mom and I haven’t had a chance to really relax after everything from the past year, but who says that we or anyone automatically gets time like that? I look at the news and realize that mom and I are both extremely blessed. Even with all we have dealt with and continue to deal with, we are OK.
Mom has been nothing but amazing. For over a year I have made all the meals and did the cleaning and she just took over for me. Let me say that it feels absolutely great to be taken care of by her. At times I felt like a little kid and it was nice to see her so strong and able again.
I got behind in writing here, because besides that I edited two books that I’m quite proud, and also because there were times when writing my name sapped my strength.
So yeah, I’m still here.
I think it’s time I learned the lyrics to that song.
The thing is, in addition to that song I also need to find some other lyrics to sing. Because the truth is, that life doesn’t always give us a break. Dealing with cancer, bad health or anything else doesn’t give you a pass on other life issues.
Think of all those who have survived some of the earthquakes or tornadoes we’ve all heard about on the news. It’s not like those people were all living perfect and pristine lives and then something horrible happened. They were dealing with all of the same life struggles we all deal with and then and in addition to all that, something horrible happened.
So yeah, I’m still here, but I’m also grateful and very well aware that even though things aren’t what I wish they were, they could definitely be worse.
By the way, I wrote this post in May and it’s taken me this long to post it. This is how insanely fatigued I have been.
I’ve had my surgery. The grapefruit size tumor grew to the size of a soccer ball. Even though it was a fast-growing tumor, it wasn’t cancerous. One of my workmates said that anything that large deserved a name, so I named it “Wilson.”
I will be back more regularly now. I’m recovered and growing stronger each day.
I am still here, but Wilson isn’t.