Chaos Into My Order

I am not sure what is going to be in this post as I begin it. So many things are going on inside of me that it’s hard to know what to say first. My emotions feel like people in a crowded theater with only one exit in the back and somebody has yelled “FIRE!”. Each feeling desperate to get out yet held back by the ones that leapt up and got to the doors first and now there is a clog slowing progress, yet all are anxious to get out and be free and as far away from the building as possible. 

Let’s talk about the “fire” first. You know, the source of all the running and panic and pushing of all the feelings inside me. As many know already I had my routine CT scan last week. Was that just last week? I’ve been doing quite well for the last three years so it really just registered as a tiny blip on my radar so I would remember to drink the nasty barium the night before. (At least they had banana flavored) As is tradition in my city a one week waiting period to find out test results began. I was on a short wait because of the holiday weekend but frankly I was so busy that time flew by and before I knew it it was Monday afternoon and I was sitting in the oncology waiting area with my daughter. It was packed, as is standard, and I was getting the usual looks of people wondering why I was there in all my glowing health. Meanwhile, we were taking in all the folks around us clearly in the throws of the fight. My husband was golfing with friends because this was a simple routine, “you look great, see you in six months” visit. My daughter came along simply because despite all my usual phone calls of inquiry to obtain the report early I did not receive even one call back and I was getting “results” today. For the last seven years, unless I had been told ahead of the appointment, I have never received results alone and we decided it was no time to start now. We had barely settled into our seats after I had squared up with the business office side (ya gotta pay your ‘cover charge’) when my pager buzzed. I commented to my daughter that we were going to be in and out of there in no time. After the usual weigh in, med review and vitals check we were left in my usual exam room, the one with the view of the trees and the street. I always figured it was the room they put the routine patients in. 

In about 15 minutes there was the knock and the exam door slid open. In walked my doctor, obligatory plaid shirt and all. He is so pleasant and it is truly good to see him. He greets me and reintroduces himself to my daughter. He hasn’t seen her in a few years and they shake hands. He sits down at the computer, ”Odd.” I think to myself, and he immediately focuses his attention on the screen. His MO is usually telling me my scan looks great while leaning on the sill of the South window and talk about the weather and how I am feeling eventually having me hop up on the exam table for a head to toe peruse of my lymph nodes and to listen to my lungs. A tiny alarm bell went off inside me as I looked at him not looking at me. He asked me if I had been coughing. I told him no more than the usual and that the change in my inhaler had really helped with the wheezing. I then said what came to my mind. “What’s wrong? I totally don’t like the way your eyebrows are looking right now.” They were knit together in concentration. It would have been a scowl if the action had contaminated his eyes, but it was strictly located in the brow area, his eyes remaining soft and compassionate. He looked at me and raised them. He then explained that there was an area in my right lung that look questionable. It was 1.8 cm in size and it was in virgin territory. He then asked a series of questions about my cough, had I been sick, was I sure I hadn’t been sick, no fever, antibiotics? No. No. No. No. I answered. (Inside i was screaming no!) Any pain? Well, there was a spot on my back for the last month or so but I think it’s a rib head out of place, because that’s what it feels like. (Oh God!) He was debating out loud what next steps should be. Should I see the pulmonary doctor, maybe get a bronchoscopy and see if they can biopsy it or should we wait 8 weeks and re-CT just my chest and see if it grows? He thought perhaps it could be an infiltrate from a previous illness like pneumonia, except I hadn’t been sick at all in the last several months. No antibiotics or steroids needed. I asked if perhaps we should consult the doctors in Houston. He thought not just yet and was perhaps a bit offended by my suggestion, but then softened his stance and said since I knew my doctor at MDA on a personal level that I certainly could let her know what was happening. (Like I wasn’t going to do that anyway? He knows me.) The plan: See the pulmonologist ASAP, bronch if she thinks she can get to the spot, otherwise wait 8 weeks and repeat the chest CT. 

Someone yelled “FIRE!”

My daughter agreed to call her dad then finally resorted to texting him as he was out on the golf course somewhere with a silenced phone and I head to the check out desk to review instructions, get a copy of my report and then, as with any “inconclusive” type findings, the rationalization began. Denial was the first one out of their seat. “It’s probably nothing”. People get these spots every day. “It’s probably nothing” was followed fast on the heels by “Things are fine” and then “Don’t be dramatic”. Once “no drama” got to the door all the other feelings were safely, or not so safely, blocked inside. With the panic going on internally unable to find it’s way out and invisible to those outside I could go about my business with no one aware of the chaos within. My daughter and I talked about her wedding all the way to her house where I dropped her off and headed back to work. Oddly enough as fate would have it I was going to a clinic run by my bestie Laurie. She is the best NP I know and has helped me navigate my cancer from the start. On the drive over I called my mother who agreed that “it’s probably nothing, things are fine and we don’t need any drama”. We then talk about the wedding the rest of the drive over to the clinic. I sign off with mom telling her I will call her later. My bestie is in her office and I hand her the report and give her the skinny on what had happened at my doctor appointment. She assured me things would be okay and that she would read it. I was having dinner with her later and we would talk about it then. I got in the car and headed West toward home knowing I had to tell people something. Social media was brimming in anticipation of my famous “I’m clean!” post. I needed to tell a few people first though. As I went through that list in my head I tiny bit of panic got out and I felt like I might cry. At a stoplight I looked at my reflection in the visor mirror in my car. “Cut it out!” I say out loud to the tear brimmed eyes looking at me. “Cut. It. Out.” I repeat and the tears abate. It takes me several hours to get my sons up to speed, actually have a conversation with my husband and a few others that I fell social media is probably not the best way for them to find out. By that time it is time to head out to the restaurant to meet my bestie and an old mutual friend of ours. I also had a photo shoot scheduled for right after dinner time. (Ironically for CURE Magazine) We never spoke at dinner about my little spot, but in the parking lot Laurie expressed her concern, said she would track down my pulmonologist in the morning and she thought I should e-mail my doc in Houston. It was then that “a little worry” slipped past “no drama” at the door and I felt that old familiar heaviness in my chest. “Ugh!” I think as emotions start to flow through door of the theater that is my life. “I hate this! My life is going just fine...Why?! This is such a pain in the ass! What is happening? Who has time for this?” all stumble out into the open. “Why me”, exposed and undeniable. I’m glad it’s out. I feel a little relief. I shake it off and get in the car to head over to the photo shoot. “All will be well.” I tell myself. “God is with me and that makes us a majority.” I remember back to when I first got sick and one of the first things I said to my husband was I wanted God’s light to shine through me. I cling to that memory and it calms me and I feel peace for the moment.

This will be a process, bringing feelings out into my crazy, but pretty much balanced existence. Most things in life present the challenge of creating order from some sort of chaos. For me right now it’s the other way around and I will have to deal with uncertainty no matter what that spot turns out to be and that means introducing unwelcome chaos into my order.

Janelle38 likes this post.
Carol, Thomas threw a punch at your cancer.
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No words, just prayers than you will feel God's calming presence and that all will be well.

Sending you kick ass vibes, good thoughts and virtual hugs!!
Sara, Michele like this comment
So sorry about his chaos, Michele. I hope and pray it's a little "nothing" and that you feel the love and support of your family and friends as you go through this. Not a fun way to start your summer - not part of your plans at all. I hope you get answers soon so you can get on with your life and enjoy your daughter's wedding!
Michele likes this comment
Praying for Gods light to shine through you to get through this period of chaos. Love and hugs XO
Michele likes this comment
Michele, I can only hope that what is happening to you is a repeat of my experience last year when a PET scan showed a large "questionable" area in my lung, and we proceeded to a CT-guided needle biopsy after a month, only to find that it was shrinking and could not be biopsed. Gone now. I had forgotten that I had a bad chest cough for a week about two months earlier (thank heavens for my journal). Just that period of upheaval, and a year later I still know how it feels..even though my fight has been nothing like yours. You shine for all of us. Holding you in my heart.
Thomas, Michele like this comment
I am so sorry Michele, you have this to worry about. Gosh, what to do about worry? It follows us everywhere, and more so when something like this comes up. Like you say, it follows, no matter what the outcome.
Helen had this issue come up, she writes in a post August 2, 2016 called "An Un-Birthday Un-Present"
I hope you get some peace, soon!
Hugs, Jean
Michele likes this comment
I hope at the end of this uncertainty, you will have a return of peace and order.
Michele likes this comment
Hi Michele, nothing sucks more than not knowing WTF is going on. It took them a whole freakin' MONTH just to decide IF I had cancer or not 5 years ago- a month, 2 biopsies and a 3rd scheduled to surgically dig around- and then hours before surgery- HEY, you have NHL - well it's about time. So I sense your frustration on not knowing what it is. Another joy in my life is when I turn into Darth Vader every night and put on my full mask and flip on the CPAP machine- which leads me to meeting with a pulmonologist - the first thing he said before I got my CPAP machine is "what the hell happened to your lungs?" - well, that's a blinkin newsflash to me buddyboy- you're the doctor, tell me what's wrong with my lungs! Told him about chemo and he said 'oh so much scarring' - well, I had walking pneumonia 25 years ago- is that it? Nope. So, it would appear that some medical mysteries are just that, a mystery. I pray that your 3/4" spot in question decides to vaporize all on itself and you can go back to planning a wedding. I'm approaching all my 'first time five years ago' dates, and a recurrence like yours is in the back of my mind too. Visit with the oral surgeon tomorrow to see if a bonus item of mine is cancerous- so yes, you hope, you pray, and hope some more that the whole damn roof doesn't cave-in on you. I think we all just want to know that we can have some good quality years after fighting the good fight and not worry about a recurrence, or a new cancer, or a new 'we don't know WTF it is' moment. Rest assured, your BFAC friends have your back. Keep us posted, and remember our motto: "Cancer Sucks".
Thomas, Michele like this comment
Michele, no one deserves this kind of chaos in their life, especially not you! We all know that worry does no good in these situations, but I would like to meet someone who would not be anxious. I hope that the pulmonologist can give you some encouraging information. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers that this turns out to be just a "freckle," as one of my doctors used to say, and that all is well. Love and hugs to you!
Michele likes this comment
Paws, fingers and eyes crossed for luck, and prayers that this turns out to be nothing sinister. Hold on to hope, faith, and that beautiful Heavenly light that shines from within xx :*)
Michele likes this comment
Praying that you get answers soon.
Michele likes this comment
Praying that answers come quickly and you can get on with your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Michele likes this comment
Reading this made my stomach and heart flutter. I pray that this is nothing but a blip on the screen and that in the midst of this you feel God's love, light and presence.
Michele likes this comment
I think it is good you let out some of those emotes that were running around in a panic inside even though you blocked the door...they start bumping into each other and can get hurt, and they are scared and they need hugs and reassurance and whatever it is that soothes them...they don't like being locked up in close quarters...but they are not quiet yet...they are worried, it is a good thing you write... they like seeing themselves on the page, gives them a chance to perform a little, and they usually like that...showboating and stuff...drama...

anyway...I have seen them...they can be formidable...the young ones are just plain scared. I am sure you know what soothes them...God's light, healing music, some serious cuddling ..........hard to keep them all focused on the present, they tend to take the uncertainty and run amok... they need chamomile tea... wish you healing light and calming breaths......some serious hugs that keep you grounded and present
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Your writing to Michele is as soothing as the tea and a hug! Love this!
Neal, Michele like this comment
Neal, your words ring so true to me. I don't live those words, sorry to say, but I'm so grateful people like you are out there to remind me suppression and repression don't heal. We have to let these feelings out and give them love. Thank you.
Michele, Neal like this comment
Well, CRAP! ! That said, I'll be praying it's just a giant wad of phlegm. 😝 Hug!!
Neal, Michele like this comment
Off topic: Michele, look-up your quote on YouTube, or watch all of 'Blazing Saddles', as your heading reminded me of 'Howard Johnson' (the guy from Magnum PI) in 'Blazing Saddles' saying "Nietzsche says from chaos comes order" and the response is hilarious- well, at least I thought so. Flood your body with comedy these next few weeks- that's my prescription. John
Michele, Linda like this comment
PS- I mean no disrespect to the A.C. fighters and survivors with his reply.
Michele likes this comment
Praying that this is absolutely nothing but a false alarm. Stay strong.
Michele likes this comment
Look at a drawing of Emilee's that I posted...I put it there with you in mind... all the little ones running around inside... and you are the gatekeeper
Michele likes this comment
Astounding metaphor of the theatre and emotions. My prayers are with you that this is just one of the many false positives lungs are notorious for. And no matter what, you have a boatload of fight in you to make things ordered again!
Michele likes this comment
Michele, you have been on my mind. There is this strong feeling that has come over me , that this is just a bump in the road of your journey. I confirmed that feeling just a few minutes ago. I was in the MDA site, trying to find info on my upcoming splenic artery embolizaton, when I clicked on stories, this showed up, I had to read it because it was you, your caring for your friend shows your strength and your good heart. God still has plans for you, you have helped so many of us in our journey or quest as I call mine. He has plans for you, just your story alone is such an inspiration to so many of us. In my case, had I not seen the name of your blog, I don't know that I would have made into BFAC, once I got here, there was no turning back; without the comaradery I was lost, I had no one to talk to or even wanted to admit that I had anal cancer. Once I posted I was welcomed into such loving arms, I knew I could do this, I am not alone,and I have anal cancer. It's the best decision I ever made. Your witty IHAVEBUTTWHAT got my attention, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God is using you with all means necessary to bring us all together. I honestly feel he has bigger plans for you. Keep doing what you are doing, it's working, try to stay positive (easier said than done) you are so full of Gods shining light, if there is anything that I can do for you, if you need to vent, whatever, I'm here for you. I'm praying you get quick answers and you can put this behind you and continue on with your life, you are not alone. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you and your family. Here is the link to the MDA story about referred to:

Michele, Linda like this comment
Thank you for the words of encouragement Ann!
Nice sentiments, Ann. I agree with you that Michelle has that butterfly effect on the universe.
Michele likes this comment
Nodule, maybe? I can just imagine the chaos because as a nurse, you have so much knowledge of the human anatomy. I guess sometimes, "ignorance IS bliss". I am praying everything goes well for you on follow-ups/scans. Thanks for posting this so we could all put our hands together in prayer or in whatever path we all travel to bring good mojo😉. Worry not, we are warriors, right. God bless, my friend. And you look so pretty on your new avitar! PS: Daughter's wedding?! Nice!
Michele likes this comment
Michelle - you speak for us all. I'll pray this is just a nasty NOTHING and you can have your full life without all these worries. This is what we all dread but you are strong and have faith. Hugs...Lisa
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Sending a big hug!!!
Michele likes this comment
Reading your post, oh, boy, it's a lot to take it. It's so hard to take it one step at a time when your mind automatically jumps to the unmentionable. You ARE a bright light of God's and your energy shines through to all of us. I love that you share your most vulnerable moments so eloquently. I am hoping your days get better and brighter with good news. Hang in there and keep grounded in your power. You are a very strong woman and I admire you.
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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.


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