On July 25, 2014, after ending a one hour workout on the Precor machine at my YMCA, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. Which, for me, after a workout, is a little unusual. But, plenty of people probably do that on a regular basis, right? Right.
I enter the stall, I sit, I pee, and it hurts. Nothing much actually comes out. Damn. I probably have a urinary tract infection, I think.
I mean, I had been kinda having some symptoms that were making me think a UTI might be on the horizon.
I stand up, I grab some toilet paper, I wipe, and there’s blood.
Holy crap! There’s blood. I look behind me into the bowl. Yikes! There’s blood….
Probably a sign of a urinary tract infection, I tell myself. But I can’t help panicking.
Why the hell would a woman of my age (fortisheemumbleesomething) panic about that?
Maybe you’re getting your period, sheesh!
Well, my ovaries were taken out, along with my breasts, over two years ago, because of my BRCA2 genetic mutation, and because I had Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
No. I wish I could say it was my period. But, not possible.
I try to stay calm. I go home. I have a shower. I call my husband and my mom. We all agree that I should go to my doctor or the nearest Urgent Care facility. So, off I go to the Urgent Care because I couldn’t get through to my primary doctor.
We do a urinalysis. It comes back negative. Then the doctor re-reads and says it’s positive. Rather, “Well, there is something there”. They will do a culture and we will have to wait until Monday for the results.
Ah, shit. There’s a lot of details to this story, but I’m just gonna get to the chase….
I peed blood about a week ago. And it’s had me freaked out ever since because I am a “former” cancer patient.
And now I have a really weird rash on both my arms that looks like the shingles I got about a month or two ago.
Shingles are an old person’s disease, if you ask me.
At least, that’s the way I always felt before.
I’ve learned about them since then and I realize that it can happen to anyone who’s ever had the chicken-pox.
Still. The fact that it looks like it’s coming back after having peed blood and after having cancer is the reason I’m writing right now.
With a bottle of wine at my side.
Because I’m having a “terrible, horrible, very bad, no good” week.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I went into a “fight-mode”. I actually closed my eyes and visualized myself suiting up, in impenetrable steel, sort of like a Transformer. I visualized sending those cancer cells out into a black hole in space.
I remembered how a very dear friend of mine had gone through her breast cancer with an incredible sense of humor and stoicism. “How are you going to handle this?” I remember asking myself. “Like my friend, E.” was the response, “like a total badass!”.
I was NOT going to die from this!! NO. WAY.
It was a whirlwind of an education about breast cancer, and its many, varied, forms after that. But I was going to get through it. That was the foremost thought in my head.
I. Had. To. Get. Through. It.
I have children. I have a husband. I have parents. I have friends. I have pets. I have unfinished business.
Every chemotherapy completed, every surgery over with, was a milestone.
I completed my chemotherapy on April 17th, 2012. I rang that bell!!
I chose not to reconstruct for many, many reasons: One was that I did not want to waste one more second of my life on cancer. The fact that my “foobs” would have absolutely no sensation in them was another. (I mean, what’s the point, right????). The whole reconstruction journey of breast cancer patients is a whole ‘nother post in itself….
So. I can remember being wheeled out of the hospital after my double mastectomy.
I felt almost high. I was grinning from ear to ear.
(What the hell was wrong with me?)
I was just happy as hell to have survived the surgery. I was happy as hell just to be alive.
I’ve felt nothing but relief to be declared NED. To be labeled a “survivor”. I’ve bounced about, for the most part, like a labrador puppy. I try not to think about cancer.
I didn’t realize how much I’ve been suppressing.
I never went through an “anger stage”.
Hoo-boy, am I going through it now…..
I have been referred to my OB/Gyn by my oncologist, who, bless his heart, has assured me that it’s not that big a deal. It could very well still be a UTI. There could be a myriad possibilities for the blood in the urine. “Take a deep breath” he advised me.
And he’s right.
WHY is this rash on my arm????
I’m still PISSED!! I am pissed off that I have this THING hanging over my head for the. rest. of. my. life.
I am mad about the panic, which, frankly, came out of the blue for me, about every little odd occurrence.
I. AM. MAD.
I want to know. I want to know how much time I have left.
And this has my brain going a million miles a second….
I’m pissed off. At LOTS of things…..