Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Wegman's Bathroom Gives Me PTSD or: How I Found Out I Was a Pregnant Cancer Patient

Last we met, the chiropractor had just dropped a bomb on me.  She didn't know she had dropped on a bomb, but she did.  I had been researching my extremely itchy skin and kept coming across Lymphoma as a possible cause.  Without other symptoms, most notably enlarged lymph nodes, I kept dismissing it.  I had clean blood work, and while I was exhausted all the time, I had 5 small kids and figured I just sucked at life. But when the chiropractor felt a lump in my neck, well, I knew things were 'bout to get real.

I scheduled an appointment with my GP the next week and set about focusing on preparations for our homeschool group's Epiphany Play.  I was a co-coordinator of the event and had basically neglected preparations for it because of Christmas.  I tried to concentrate on the play and getting things done but I couldn't stop thinking about my neck, and was beginning to suspect I was pregnant.  The pregnancy part was easy to ignore because I always think I'm pregnant and figured I was being paranoid.  Stay calm Nella.  I somehow made it through the play, but not before taking 2 pregnancy tests (both negative, although I knew it was too early) and constantly feeling my neck to see if the stupid lump had gone away (it had not).  Stay calm Nella.  My appointment with the GP finally came and he sent me for blood work.  If it showed any sign of infection we could assume that my lymph node was just reacting to that. If it was clean, I would need an ultrasound.  Stay calm Nella.  Well, I needed the ultrasound. STAY CALM?! SERIOSULY?!  The ultrasound said I needed a biopsy.  I AM CALM!  THIS IS ME BEING VERY CALM. Don't worry, my GP said, it is a simple procedure wherein the doctor plunges a needle INTO YOUR NECK.  No big deal.  ?!?!?!?!?!?!? 

My biopsy was scheduled for January 15th, there was a weird scheduling thing where I got to the place where the biopsy would be done, got psyched up, went into the room, and was made to wait a very long time while I tried not to think about the fact that I was ABOUT TO BE STABBED IN THE NECK.  A doctor came in and said "I'm so sorry, there was a mistake with your GP and we don't do the type of biopsy you need in this office.  You'll need to contact them and have them schedule you someplace else."  I don't really know how to explain what happens to you mentally when you're preparing yourself for something and then you are turned out unceremoniously.  It was truly a mistake, and mistakes happen, but at this point I was a tattered, fried, disaster of an emotional nutcase.  Everything in my introverted self said: "the only sane response to your life at this point is to go under the bed and never come out."  The thing about being a wife and mother, though, is that's not allowed.  

So I met with my "book club" instead.  "Book club" would be a safe place to recharge and calm down. The next night my "book club" and I met in the Wegman's cafe like we tried to do every other Tuesday.  We get together and sometimes we discuss a book, but always we support each other, commiserate with each other, laugh together, and cry together.  I got to Wegman's early and that niggling suspicion I was pregnant popped up again.  I thought I'd just take a test really quick in the bathroom and when it came up negative I could just relax and get my period.  It might seem strange to take a pregnancy test in a public bathroom, but when you need to know, you really need to know.  I bought a test, went in the Wegman's bathroom, and peed on the test like I had done kajillions of times before.  My heart was pounding out of my chest, and as the pee slid across the test under those little plastic windows time stood still.  First up popped the control line, and then, HOLY CRAP THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.  A faint line appeared across it.  Much more faint than positive tests I'd take for other pregnancies.  Those had always shouted at me, this one seemed to be whispering.  HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP.  Tears stung my eyes and I could taste my heart beating at the top of my throat.  I thought I might throw up.

I put the cap on the test , stuck it into my purse, and shoved the package into the bag.  Somehow I made it upstairs to the Cafe seating area and sat down to meet my friends.  (Some of you right now might be thinking "why did you put freshly urinated on item IN YOUR PURSE?!?!?!  Well, I'm a Mom, and at least for once it was my urine.  Also, I was in the middle of a flippin' Liftetime made for TV movie so my judgement was compromised.)  I figured that when the time was right, I would take out the test and they could all tell me I was mistaken, and paranoid, and very mistaken.  They would tell me there was no way I could be pregnant because my life in it's current state was already insane and I was nursing 2, yes you heard me, two children.  They would also point out I was going to be stabbed in the neck in 2 days to find out if I had cancer so obviously I was not pregnant because this is not the Lifetime TV network. 

I don't exactly remember the particulars after that, but friends arrived, at some point I pulled out the test.  The looks on their faces and the tears in their eyes told me I was not paranoid.  I insisted it could be negative.  So, naturally, my very pregnant friend picked up another friends newborn, and went down into the store with my credit card to buy 2 more tests and a bottle of water.  The two more tests were to have clearer symbols like saying "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant", because while it's not always necessary sometimes it is so so necessary.  I remember saying how we'd laugh someday about the pregnant lady holding a newborn buying a pregnancy test, and we did laugh a bit through our tears.  I remember praying and praying and praying.  I remember the tests and water appearing and drinking the water and going into the bathroom trying to look carefree and confident.  I remember peeing on the test.  I remember my life crashing down all around me in the Wegman's bathroom.  I didn't have a diagnosis yet, and at this point everyone in my life thought everything would be ok.  But I just knew I had cancer.  I had cancer and now I was pregnant.  

I don't like to go into the bathroom at Wegman's now, which is tough because I like to shop there and pregnant girls pee a lot.  The first time I had to use the bathroom at Wegman's it all came flooding back.  The stall started to spin, I started to sweat and my heart was beating so hard.  I had to just fight back the tears and run to the car for an ugly cry.  Because I am pregnant, and I have cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, honey, I just cried right along with you. You are one of the toughest chicks I know, cancer didn't know who it was messing with when it got tangled up with you. <3


I love your comments...please say hello and share your thoughts. "Meeting" my readers is such a treat!