I’ve been writing this post in my head for a few days…..so I figured it was finally time to get it out there! Let’s start with an update, shall we? I had bloodwork, port flush, echocardiogram, and CT scan done on Aug 17 and went back for my results last Thursday. And we got good news! It appears that the little nubbins that are hanging out in my belly are scar tissue and the cancer is GONE GIRL! My white blood cells have bounced back to the low end of the normal range, and my heart function is still kind of ehh, but getting better! However, Felicia Volderport is a bit of a different story. It seems she may have created a sort of film on the back side of the entry point, OR perhaps she grew a blood clot…..either way the bitch won’t return any blood. She’ll accept all the saline and blood thinners she can handle, but she’s not giving up the good stuff. As of right now Kahuna isn’t too alarmed. I’ll go back to the cancer center once a month for a good flushin’ and they’ll try to draw blood from it each time. IF I relapse (knock on wood) then they’ll have some decisions to make. 1. Perform a dye study to see if it’s a clot or film, or maybe she was jarred out of place. or 2. Take her out and put in her step sister (yet to be named) on the other side. You see…..when they put ports in they do an ultrasound on the vessels in your chest to see which ones are the best looking and big enough. In my case, the right side was the right side. Once they place a port that site can NEVER be used again. They gotta go to the other side or put in a PICC line in your arm….which can never get wet and it generally a huge pain in the ass. Hence the reason why Kahuna wants to keep Felicia around for a few years so people can do a double take when they see me in a tank top. HOTNESS!
You know it’s pretty funny…..and irritating at the amount of people who think that because i’m done with chemo that i’m ALL BETTER! Oh! I thought you were done with treatment! OH! I can’t believe you have to continue to go back so often! These people…..some are great friends of mine! And my first instinct is to hulk smash them because they are so naive. They don’t get it. You think i’m done with this? You think I can just put this all behind me in a snap? Idiots! But then reality hulk smashes me and makes me realize how lucky they are! They are ignorant to this nasty disease. And not ignorant in a bad way…..they just don’t know. They don’t realize that this isn’t something that’s over for me, or for Zach, or for my parents…… it’s something that’s hanging over our head like that shitty little cloud in the Charlie Brown cartoon. We celebrate every day, but know that tomorrow could be a completely different story. This ain’t over!
So, speaking of Zach…… I don’t do a good enough job of talking about my dude on my blog. It’s ALL ME ME ME! But it’s my blog so whateves. I feel like i’m finally in a head space now where I can talk about all the other bullshit that’s going on with us OTHER THAN CANCER!
Back Story: About 2 years ago Zach was having some vision issues in his left eye. He went in for a very routine eye exam which was the beginning of the other shit storm we’re in now. He was diagnosed with a macular adema – which essentially is a build up of fluid in his macula which sits right behind his retina. When you take a look at a normal eye, the veins that are coming from the middle of the eye are fairly straight, but because there was so much fluid build-up in Zach’s eye his veins looked like a half eaten bowl of spaghetti. (delicious) Typically this disease happens to 1. people over 60 2. people with diabetes 3. older people who are overweight and with high blood pressure. Now, for those of you who know Zach, you know he’s got a prop bod…..a little on the husky side, but he’s SUPER active…..avid cyclist, weightlifter, etc etc. He’s NONE of those things. Basically he’s a unicorn. The course of treatment for this is eye drops daily, and every 4-8 weeks he has to go in for an injection……IN HIS EYE BALL! It’s horrific. TOTALLY horrific, but he is a champion. So, fast forward to last fall…….. The Air Force decides to push with a process called a “med board” which is essentially the AF trying to decide if Zach is “fit” to remain active duty. Which is completely ridiculous because he can do his job just fine….he’s even deployed with this condition. But…..the Air Force (in this case) sucks. It sucks real hard. The process of the medboard has taken just about as long as it’s taken me to get done with cancer treatment…..and earlier this month they gave us their final answer. They want to “Medically Separate” Zach from the Air Force (after 14 years of service) with NO benefits, and NO retirement. They’ll offer a severance package but after that we are on our own. We have appealed their decision and next week Zach will travel to San Antonio for his formal hearing to sort of plead his case. When we were in the thick of cancer treatments we were both shitting our pants because losing medical benefits in the middle of chemo would have been less that ideal. When he told the folks pushing this process that I had just been diagnosed with cancer their response was “Your wife has cancer, you do not.” These people are straight gangster. They don’t give 2 shits about how bad Zach wants to complete his career in the Air Force…..they don’t give 2 shits about all of the awards and letters of recommendations he’s received. This is all he’s ever known. There is no standard to this process. We know people who have lost limbs, gotten cancer, on and friggin’ on and the Air Force has retained them. But because Zach has to have routine eye injections he’s not “deployable”. It’s horse shit. And I do realize that this sort of thing happens in the “real” world all the time…..people get laid off, lose insurance, etc…..but our situation has left Zach’s doctors, squadron leadership, and on up the ladder scratching their heads. This isn’t necessary and they’ve all recommended that he return to total active duty. However, the attorney they’ve assigned to us hasn’t painted a pretty picture for us. Our chances are pretty slim of them returning him to duty.
So, in the next few weeks we’ll have some big decisions to make if they do move forward with separating him. What’s next? Where do we want to live? I mean we can go ANYWHERE! Zach has to make the transition to civilian life, and we’ll both have to find new careers. Which means new insurance, new oncologist, new set of issues due now to my “pre-existing” condition. But, we are keeping our eye on the prize. Getting out of here. It’s incredibly exciting, but also terrifying at the same time. We thought we’d have a little more time……a little more reassurance that a relapse isn’t in our future. But Kahuna gave me some solid advice last week. “Go live your life as normal as possible. Try not to wake up everyday and worry” he said. Because I had questions about “how long do I wait to do this…..” “or do this…..” and really there are no right answers because cancer and chemotherapy is all a big science experiment. And as my Dad likes to say, i’m just a small number in the cog of “BIG DATA”. There are no right answers because they haven’t been treating this for long enough to know…..and there is no cure. YET! So, we are going forward and trying to live as normal and un-scared as possible. I really feel like this is the universes way of pushing us to something different. It’s giving us what we asked for, which was to GTFO out of this place. The circumstances are shitty….let’s be honest. The financial aspect alone of not knowing if I can get insurance coverage and IF I relapse, how are we going to pay for it is weighing heavy on us both, but I just have to keep reminding myself that this happens to people ALL. THE. TIME.
There will absolutely be no love lost when we leave this place…..hopefully sooner rather than later. We live in a SUPER small town and on an even smaller air base and it’s just not my style. And although Zach is pretty heartbroken about not finishing his career in the Air Force, I could not be happier about putting this place in our rear view.