Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cancer, Lymphoma, Radiation, Chemotherapy......

......words that strike fear in the strongest person's heart. Those are the words that are being tossed around after test's revealed I have Folicular Lymphoma in an enlarged lymph gland in my right groin. Things move very slowly in the medical world, unless it's a dire emergency so this has been a most of the summer project. 

It was supposed to be a femoral hernia, but the Wheel of Misfortune instead landed on Lymphoma and the person who gave me that shocking news was the same one who answered the telephone in the Dr's office, filed reports and ordered up pizza for lunch. When I was able to take a breath and asked what that meant, she hemmed and hawwed and said I needed to call my family Dr. Not the way you want to hear that news!

Up until then, the only people who knew was Bruce, my Dr. and I, it was time to notify both immediate families and it was so hard, but the response of love and support that came back was fortifying and I cried over each one. (I've cried a lot.)

I had a week's wait to finally see an oncologist, it couldn't come fast enough and then when the day arrived, I was wishing it was another week. But I thought I would finally get some answers, a plan, a course of action, silly me. My stomach churned, I was wishing I'd not eaten as we, Bruce and his sister, Janet, my medical advocate, walked through the doors of BV Medical Center into the oncology department. There is that scary word again! I cried through the check in and drawing blood, I cried in the waiting room when I recognized someone I knew from working in Cherokee. I didn't want to be there! Everywhere I looked was something about CANCER! (DUH!) I didn't want to read a cookbook about cooking for cancer, I didn't want to pick up a booklet about Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, which is what I have. I didn't want to see all those pamphlets about cancer, they were everywhere!

We were finally called into a room for my medical history and I cried through that, surprise, surprise? Except for the part where they want a copy of your living will and power of attorney, that made me mad and it felt good to be mad. She said they didn't have to have it and I said Good, because you aren't getting it! And the questions they ask! "Do you have any sexual difficulties??" WHAT??? (Plug the children's ears!) What does that have to do with anything?? She gave me a folder with all sorts of compartments to have to keep all my stuff together, I didn't want it, I didn't want to be there in that room answering all those probing questions. Then she pulled out an envelope and was saying that every year they hold a cancer fundraiser, at that I thought, "Sh__! They are already going to hit us up for money!", and then she handed me a $25 gas card to help with the fuel costs of driving back and forth! 

Thank you, Lord, for not letting those words in my head flow out my mouth!

After an eternity in that room, we were finally released out into the general population, there are two waiting rooms, one had a crowd of people who were acting as though they were at a family reunion, I wanted nothing to do with them, I didn't want to be part of that family. To my relief, the other room was empty and I could sit with my back to the door so no one but Bruce and Janet would see the tears that continued. Luckily the TV had a guide posted on the wall so I turned it to the Walton's from CNN news which is nothing but extremely depressing these days. I didn't need that, I was already depressed. The nurse told us that new patients are the last to be seen so you can have lots of time with the Dr., we left home at 3:30 and it was now 7:00 when finally we were ushered into the last room. 

Dr. Rao is little and weathered but kind and had a sense of humor, I needed that but I still cried. She is from India but not that hard to understand and Janet had worked with her for a time in Cherokee. She went over my history but thankfully skipped the 'sexual difficulties' question, I don't think she wanted to know. She stressed that this is very slow growing, I probably have had it for some time and people live with it for years. She tossed around radiation and chemotherapy but first we have to find out if it has spread. So I have a bone marrow biopsy scheduled later this week and at PET scan (couldn't Murphy and Zoe do that here are home?) next week, both in Sioux City. I wanted it done the same day but it didn't work out but in retrospect, that means two meals out and that's not such a bad idea. I grimaced at the idea of bone marrow biopsy but she promised that I would sleep through it, just don't plan on operating any heavy equipment for a day or so after. WHEW! I had my eye on the payloader down the road.

It was nearly 8 PM when we finally escaped, we had no trouble locating the car as it was only one of three in the parking lot. We headed for Pizza Ranch, they quit replenishing the buffet at 8 but there was plenty of food available. I had lots of things to think about and luckily Janet and Bruce didn't talk much about the visit. 

I cried so much my eyes felt like they'd been in a Sahara desert sandstorm and my head was pounding. Bruce went right to bed when we got home because he had an early day today heading for the Farm Progress show at Boone IA with his farming buddies. I was up half the night, my head spinning, I wanted to crawl in bed and sleep but Bruce was snoring up a storm and that is not conducive to a good night's sleep. I finally went to bed and when I woke up, Bruce was gone and Clyde was on his side with his head on the pillow, "Good Morning."

I went to do chores, it's a beautiful morning, cool and very still and I've decided I just don't have it so bad! I'm absolutely sure that some of the other people there last night have a lot tougher road that I have and I need to quit wallowing and start looking ahead. 

I'm done crying.....unless you cry first, then all bets are off.

I have been torn about who to tell and how much and finally decided to do a blog post, it's a little out my ordinary blog but this is life and sometimes life stinks.

And sometimes sweet Zoe knows how to make me laugh.


  1. my heart is breaking for you................ come help me pick red raspberries and muskmelon and we will watch the baby chick antics and forget for awhile.................or I'll make and bring raspberry scones and we shall wine and dine in your gazebo...........Rosannavan

  2. I'm sure all your readers send you their warmest wishes and hugs, your blog was gut-wrenching to read and no doubt somewhat therapeutic to write. It makes it easier for those of us who knew because now we don't have to worry about whom to "tell", either, or whether to..and you now have even more supporters! Your humor shines thru and will be a big factor as you leap over this roadblock. You go, girl!

  3. Prayers to you my dear sweet friend. Fortunately you have oodles of friends and family that will be there for you whenever you need to talk, or just to have someone sit with you and watch all your farm animals running around carrying on, or someone to come and talk flowers with you.......lord knows I love to do that. You are so knowledgeable on that subject. Just know you are not alone !!


  4. Julie, I've been thinking of you and praying for you everyday. Hoping the PET scan showed great news today!! I can't imagine how scary this must be--positive thoughts (I have 2 friends that are 15-20 yr+ survivors of this kind of cancer!!) YOU GOT THIS! God does not give us more than we can handle--but sometimes it feels like He trusts us more than he should! :) Please let us know if we can do anything, and know that we all love you (and Bruce) so much!