Things have been slowly getting back to normal (whatever that is). Both lumps are a lot smaller and I am not so tired anymore. I have even been able to work some.

A nightmare has come and gone. My body and brain have been to all sorts of new places. Most of them sucked.

I don’t have cancer.

I feel a need to make a bulleted list. I love bulleted lists.

Timeline

  • Beginning of September – Start having bad pain in my right shoulder and arm.
  • Notice a lump about the size of a pea above my collarbone.
  • Go to the clinic the next day. Get chest x-rays and blood tests. Doc thinks he feels another lump in my breast and tells me to schedule a mammogram and ultrasound. It is my first mammogram. I am 40. Good timing.
  • Start having fever and night sweats. Very weak. Can’t stay awake. Pain everywhere. Lump is the size of a marble. There is another lump in my armpit.
  • Fever gets higher. Call clinic. They tell me to go to emergency room. Get more blood tests and IV fluids.
  • Me and K go back to clinic to get test results. Doc is grim. Lump is the size of a 25¢ gumball. Looks like lymphoma. WTF?
  • Schedule a biopsy. Doc marks priority as urgent. I am panicked. K is in hell. My folks come to visit from Florida.
  • I am completely terrified of surgery. Biopsy is my first time in an operating room since I was born. I choose the option for local anesthetic. I am way too freaked out to be totally put under with a breathing tube. I would rather feel the knife.
  • Turns out I don’t feel anything. Surgery goes fine. Pain comes later. Still, not so bad.
  • Doc finds a second lump in my armpit during surgery. Receive a letter from Summit saying they want to do a second mammogram.
  • My folks come. K does everything. We wait for results. They are late. I am on the edge of panic for a whole week. Breathing takes effort.
  • The doc finally calls.

    “Do you want good news or good news?”, “Good news please.”, “It’s cat scratch disease!”, “No way!”, “Yes. That’s why the test results took so long. We did extra tests to be sure.”, “Thank you. Thank you very much!”.

  • Me, K, my mom, and my dad all cry. It is the best thing ever.

It was a crazy roller coaster for all of us. For the rest of my family and some other close people too. I learn things. Some things I already know are reinforced. Some things I think I know… I don’t know them at all.

Things

  • Karen is the best partner in the whole world. I can count on her always. She will take care of me. I will take care of her. We are a team.
  • My family is there for me too. When I can only think the worst, I realize that I want to be with them. If my life was to end too soon, I don’t want to travel the world. I want to be with K. I want to be with the rest of my family. It is primal.
  • My friends are there for me. Sometimes, I have no idea why. I am more thankful for this than I can ever tell them. Thank you TC, D, Nancy, Susan, and everyone else who babysat me, sent emails, left comments, thought good thoughts, prayed, sent good energy, distracted me, etc.
  • I want to believe there is a god. Even though I strongly identify as Jewish, I lean towards agnosticism. How can anyone know something like that? But I find myself praying and being thankful that other people are praying too. I still wonder, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t think I can ever believe that god is some giant old white guy wearing a dress and living in the clouds, but I feel something. God? Energy of the universe? Something my brain is creating to keep me sane? I don’t know, but it feels like a miracle. The odds of cat scratch fever were low. It is finally a good time to fall into that small percentage of people who are different.