UCLA more about the education than football!

Last week, I went to UCLA for my once every 3 month check up-scan-test-o-rama. I like to make sure I go from San Diego to Los Angeles every so often. I really miss the traffic?! It is always an adventure or I guess I like to look at things this way. My doctor was missing (seriously missing) when I arrived. I think the nurses were almost a bit frightened as they checked every nook and inch of the office and hospital. Doors open and closed with the strange uncertain look of disbelief along with fake smiles greeted every patient. I wasn’t concerned because in this building there is great connectivity (not sure why except for to accommodate the pregnant women who tap their feet nervously and need diversions). After about 30 minutes of panic, they decide to start “the lesson”. If you watch The Big C with Laura Linney, you can picture the scene. I am in a very teeny room (another closet) where 4 interns plus a doctor come to be entertained (I mean, come to learn). The doctor has a suspicious smile, but reassures me as if I can worry about this visit any more than getting chemo?! After introductions all around, I felt like I should have been handed a glass of wine to clink the glass. She asks the interns where my uterus is… a definite pregnant pause. Then, girl with concerned eyes and nervous laugh says, “there it is”. Oh, I was thinking or laughing to myself that they finally found it and put it back?! The doctor answers, “no, that is her bowel”. Another intern who seems like he knows it all, quickly answers, “there it is.” The doctor smirks and looks at me like I know what I am looking at (I definitely know there isn’t a uterus inside my body). Doctor responds, “nope, patient doesn’t have one.” Glad, I can provide such entertainment. I continue to play along with the “find waldo body parts” and keep hearing, “no, that is her bladder or no, that is her bowel again”. After this game, I am told that everything looks great. Note,that I did agree to have this audience of interns. Since my doctor was missing, I thought it would help pass the time.  Finally, my doctor arrives and looks more tired than usual. Cancer is a tough business. He gives me a big hug and I need to stand with the drape over my nakedness to give a proper hug. He has seen me inside and out, but I still find this a strange act of coordination holding the paper drape in one hand and hugging him with my other hand. He proceeds to question me excitedly about me actually getting the vaccine. He really cannot believe it since most of the patients don’t get it. I keep telling him I got it!  He keeps shaking his head, but then quickly gets back to reality. He questions me on my lymph nodes and does my entire exam again. Better the main doctor checks the check of the interns and other doctor. He tells me again about the high rate of recurrence and that I must be vigilant about monthly tests and visits, blah, blah, blah. I know the drill and I know he wants me to confirm that I hear him and “obey”. I really do, but I really don’t like to hear the reality. So, I hear him tell me that we will need to get past December based on my history that is recurrence time. Fine, fine, fine, I tell him quite angrily that I don’t even remember anything about last year November or December due to all the chemo. I also remind him that the vaccine could work for me and stop turning on my cancer switch. He agreed, but I had to promise to do some more tests in December because there is nothing like a holiday scan to bring on the holiday spirit! At least, I know that no one put my uterus back!

I have one more week until the vaccine which brought me one week of sleeping beauty time. I have no issue with the sleeping since it involves no nausea, but just some aches and pains. Once you have major surgery and 18 months of chemo, aches and pains are all relative.

I am still really trying to remember what happened last November and December and accepting that it may be like childbirth and I will not remember. So, advance warning to everyone as far as my holiday wishes or comments. I may sound like I am repeating myself from last year, but I have no memory of it. Since I last wrote anything, I have been experiencing a bit of frustration from my missing brain cells killed by the chemo that are not returning. I tell myself every day that I do what I can do and that is good enough. Unfortunately, there are still the emotional vampires lurking around every corner. I have dodged a few of them and felt great (almost like a game of hide and go seek).  I still laugh at their crisis moment which can be not having enough “me” time. All I want every day is some “we”, “us” time…and continue to celebrate even the small things! So when all of you are hurrying about trying to wrap, send, cook, bake, take a moment to be with a friend, family member, neighbor and enjoy the moment, the laugh, and know how lucky you are to celebrate the moment!

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One Response to “UCLA more about the education than football!”

  1. Pendar Says:

    Your spirit continues to amaze me…thank you for your posts. You are always in my prayers. Your experience at UCLA makes me chuckle. We lived in LA pretty much all my life until we moved to Aliso 8 years ago..Jaela was born at UCLA and on the delivery day, I am not kidding you…there must of been 8 medical students in the delivery room…all chatting and taking notes..I was so frustrated that eventually I yelled for them to all leave. I felt like a laboratory animal…anyways, I hope you have a blessed holiday with your wonderful husband and son 🙂

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