I'll never capitalize cancer

I have alot going on in my life, more than just cancer and chemo. Sure it's a big part of my life right now, but it's not the most important part of my life. You will never see me spell it with a capital "c".

I'm a Wife and Mom. I love my Family. I have good Friends. We do fun stuff and dumb stuff and sometimes we argue and then we laugh again. We go to work and to the grocery store and we go swimming and have birthday parties and get ready for the first day of school.

I keep saying that I don't want ovarian cancer to define me, but sometimes I just can't help it.

A good friend put it this way for me "cancer may be defining your life for the moment, but it is not your entire life. You seem to just make time for it." That made me feel better.

If you want to see it from the beginning, my cancer story begins in March.

The rest of my story is happening now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here's What Happened

If your looking for facts from the experts, here's some good reading about Ovarian Cancer

If you'd like to come along with me on my journey, I'll write you a little story.

I am having a tough time with this because if I take enough pain killers to sit for a while to post, I start to get sleepy - vicious cycle, but here goes.

I figured my first appointment at MD Anderson mostly would be full of paperwork, questions and moving from one diagnostic test to another. So I convinced everyone that I would be just fine going by myself. Brian and Abby need to keep home life as normal as possible, my cousins Kimmy and Jenny have told me over & over again that they are on stand by anytime I need them, Dad says he'll be on the next flight - just call, and so many other dear Friends and Family have told me that they will drop everything to be with me even if all I need is someone to hold my hand. But really, I can do this.

My appointment with Dr Kathleen Schmeler is at 830AM Mon, need to get there by 730AM to start the paperwork. A few days prior, I received my "Welcome Packet" in the mail. Kinda feels like what you get for Summer Camp - a map, driving directions, what to bring, important phone numbers, 8 pages of medical history to fill out. Seems that the women on Mom's side of the Family have some history of Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer.

Brian already had made plans for us to see Elmo & his Sesame Street friends Sunday afternoon, so we kept that date and took one of Abby's little friends along with us. Afterward I packed enough for a couple of days and headed to Kemah to stay with my good friend Brenda.

Monday morning she asked me again if I wanted her come along with me, but I assured her that "No, I'll be fine." Brenda's made this trip with friends a couple of times before, and helped me pack for the day - my paperwork, some snacks, water, cel phone, my laptop, the new MajikJak and phone that Brian got for me, a blanket and Brenda tossed in a pair of warm comfy socks for me, the ones with the rubber ridges on the bottom.

Traffic into Houston that early in the morning was easy, driving directions were excellent, I found entrance 7 and Valet parking is free on your first visit - convenient!

I have a little cart that I got from Office Depot, I just threw everything in there and followed my directions to the Laura Lee-Blanton Gynecologic Oncoloogy Center on the 6th floor.

So far so good. I'm pretty calm, just pulling along my little cart. Everyone from the Valet to Security and Informtion to Reception at the Gynecologic Oncology Center is smiling and friendly and helpful. I'm actually early, and for those of you who know me, that's pretty amazing.

I step up to the counter and turn in my paperwork, Kegan lets me know my Medical Record Number and hands me a clipboard with my Oncology team's names and important contact info, and a couple more pages to fill out.

The waiting room is very comfortable. Glider rockers, Recliners, Sofas, Club chairs - something for everyone. 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles laid out on the coffee tables, magazines, paperbacks, coping with cancer brochures, fliers on upcoming seminars for Patients and their Families, a huge aquarium, a bubbly waterfall sculpture, coffee, ice water, little cross stitch kits.

As I'm looking around I can't help but wonder why each of them is here. I overhear some conversations. One Family is from Cinncinnati, another from Witchita Falls. "This is your 2nd visit?" "We've been making the trip for just over a year now". I see a couple of Translators helping to fill out the clipboard pages.

Some Women already are wearing cute little hats and scarves ... and now it starts to feel surreal. It's like I'm in some kind of weird dream. Everyone is oddly cheerful. Talking about their trip, their hotel, some are just looking around at each other

My friend Sally found out a couple of months ago that she has Breast Cancer. She already has been doing her chemo. She said this would happen - the odd moment that I realize that I'm not the only one, poor little me is not so unique, there are at least 20 other Women just like me here, in this one waitng area - and it's just Monday morning - it's just one day, on one floor - tomorrow there will be more.

But they made me feel like I was the only one that mattered.

Wow, this is more than I had planned to write.

Later this weekend I'll post some more. I'll finish up Monday's visit, then do a quick run through of what happened when Brian came with me on Wednesday's visit. Time to take a couple more Hydrocodone and get some sleep. The next post, I'll explain why I need the pain killers.