I'm Sitting in a Coffee Shop

I am sitting in a coffee shop right now. I think it is helping my writing. I have a lot inside me that needs to come out but somehow when I am home these days my mind seems trapped. It seems to run free once I am in bed for the night and it's too late to do anything about it. So today I decided to go out and sit in a new environment and see if it flows better. I can tell you that it already is because I can feel my mind liberating itself as I type this. So here goes.

I had a PET scan last Wednesday. I was worried sick about it. No, really...worried sick. I didn't think I was that concerned about it. I was even having trouble remembering what day of the week the dang thing was as it approached. I thought this was a good sign. In hind sight I think it was an emotional defense mechanism because since my surgery and my confirmed recurrence my mind had been conjuring up images of where my life might be headed. I knew this day would come and on some level I knew that this recurrence marked the start of the battle to keep me upright as long as possible. Death via squamous cell cancer as a reality is frightening to me. I don't want to die this way (who would?). I think, mostly, it's because I don't know how it's going to be. The few people that I have connected with that have succumbed to it, well, it just didn't sound like a pleasant peaceful passing. It sounds painful, laced with suffering, as organs fail and bodies bloat in response. So you can understand, I suppose, how I subconsciously worried myself sick. I had "the runs" for days and a pressing headache. I kept thinking it was a virus and I guess that's really right on the money except in was a virus in my mind which presented itself as physical symptoms, not recognizable worry. I was shut down emotionally and was physically suffering as a result.

I realized all this was true when the results of my scan were called to me by Brown Shoes' (that's my pet name for my oncologist) nurse. My cell rang just as I was pulling into the Wesley Medical Center parking garage to meet my partner. We were making a sales call that morning. I saw the caller identified as ~Brown Shoes Nurse~ flash on my phone. "This is Michele" I say as my typical standard greeting when I pick up the call. "Is Michele there?" she asks. I laugh and confirm my identity. "Well" she says matter of factly "I received your PET scan results and reviewed them with the doctor and he told me to call you." I felt flat and had a sudden rise of bile to the back of my throat. She sure didn't sound very happy with what she was about to say. "Okay??" I croak. "It all looked clear with no spots on it anywhere." she said emotionlessly. "Really?!" I say and then thank her profusely for calling. She reminds me to keep my appointment on Tuesday the next week and we say goodbye. I make a mental note to "school her" at that appointment on how to deliver good news to people. I am sure she has her share of telling people things that are not good on any level but you should always infuse joy into your tone when the opportunity presents itself. After we hung up I sat for a minute in disbelief and tremendous relief in my car. I took a deep breath and then called my husband to share the news. I texted and called my children, my sissy and my other bestie. Everybody was thrilled and excited. I was...relieved. Do you know what postictal means? It's the altered state of consciousness that people who suffer from seizures experience after a seizure takes place. Often times they sleep peacefully for a period of time as if they are relieved of a stressor and the body can give in to a much needed rest. I felt postictal. I felt a release of stress that I wasn't even aware I was carrying and wanted to just curl into my happiness and sleep with relief. I was not in a position to give in to that urge. Instead, I got out of my car and went to meet my partner upstairs. When I rounded the corner I blurted out "Brown Shoes called and my scan was clean!" (an appropriate amount of joy was infused in my voice) We hugged and I cried again with her...tears of relief and joy. My pressing headache was gone and my gut settled instantly. This was good news at it's finest!

Whew! I'm glad I was able to finally type that all out! I feel good. I feel strong. I feel alive. I'm sitting in a coffee shop :)

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YESSSS!!! Oh Michele, such lovely news!!!! Thank you for this post, which is not only good news but so well written! :) :):) :) :)
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So happy to hear of your good news. Clean scan oh that is wonderful and put a huge smile on my face. Bless you Michele....
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Such awesome news Michele, I am so, so, so happy for your clean scan and YES you are strong, you go girl :)
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Great news! I find that a change of scenery really helps me with most things in life. When My Sailor is deployed, I take my Acer to random places to email him (the only form of communication we have on submarines). Keeps me from writing "I'm good. The dogs are good. Love you. Bye!" lol So glad you're toasting with some awesome coffee. ;)
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WooHoo! Even though the delivery was not so good, getting that news had to be the best feeling in the world! I am so happy for you, my friend! Yes, I think you need to give that nurse a little advice on how to deliver such good news. I'm glad you were able to share all of this with us--caffeine can do wonders! LOL! Keep enjoying those lattes and by all means, keep getting good news! You are so amazing! Love and Hugs-- Martha
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This news makes me so happy... Congratulations on your clear scan. Hope you have an amazing weekend!! :-)
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Congratulations! That is FANTASTIC news! I'm so happy for you. And to answer your rhetorical question, I do know what postictal means - my dog has had grand mal seizures for several years and he goes through a postictal phase afterwards. With him, though, it's pacing and bumping into things, so I'm glad to hear your stress release didn't involve any encounters with walls or large furniture. :)
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Fantastic news Michele. I know what you mean about a flat delivery - they usually tell me that my scans were "all right" - kinda makes me wonder whether they should be better and sometimes I have to ask them because I'm not sure why they don't tell me they are good or clear or something more positive. I suspect they try not to raise our hopes and expectations. But I wish they would. Anyway yahoo for your great news. It brought tears to my eyes. Jan x
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As I nstarted to read your blog I could feel the tension building up Then when you got the "matter of fact" results I joined you in a palpable sense of relief & release So pleased for you & really thrilled. hugs Annabelle
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Awesome news! Carpe Diem
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Great news! I am so happy for you! You will remain in my prayers for continued clean scans!
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January 31, 1963 - June 10, 2020

Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

June 10

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp


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