For the past two weeks, my body has belonged to surgeons, oncologists,neurosurgeons, nurses, insurers, and radiation therapists.
Which has felt like the bottomless pit of appointments and needles.
But...let me back up a bit.
Two weeks ago things were moving along just fine, I was feeling pretty good. (even better than I thought I should, so I was a happy camper) Shannon and Anna came in the weekend before Halloween to help me out. I was still on some pretty heavy pain meds and I needed to be "babysat" .
We enjoyed a couple 1st birthdays....Lincoln and Ayden both turned one...cutest boys ever!
Shannon and Anna filled our home with lots of happy and Shannon took care of me down to every little detail. What a blessing she is to me.
Saturday at Ayden's little birthday party I started to feel a little discomfort in the back of my neck...thinking maybe I had been over doing my activities. So, I took it pretty easy the rest of the day and Sunday....But by Sunday afternoon...it was way out of control...nothing would touch the pain. I Called my Dr. and she up my meds and I would see her Monday morning.
Monday was already one of my scheduled radiation treatments....the last one for my back and chest...just a few more for my head.
Shannon and Anna drove me to my appointment...I don't have a very clear memory of that morning...but will do my best to recall. (should have Shannon write her version.)
I just know I was in the worst pain I can ever remember having...my head and neck were a hot mess!
We arrived at the radiation center- Shannon helped me to get dressed and ready for my appointment.
Part of that appointment was to lay down flat on this bed.
Which I did twice and I thought I would die...no truly...my head felt like it was going to fall off my body. (remember this bed didn't come up to me, I had to come down to it)
Crazy pain....after the radiation guys are done with me....I finally get to see my Dr.
After a very short visit with my Dr....She is very concerned that I may have a crack or weaken bone in spine in my neck. She sends me next door to the Hospital emergency room, because that would be the easiest way to get an CT scan quickly.
Yikes- I openly admit to having a distrustful relationship with my body...it just keeps doing things that hurt me. However the Happy day is, that my body also made it through the marathon of treatments so far....
Shannon drove me the block to the emergency room check in....I put my name on a list and within a few minutes they were ready to get my insurance information and move on.
Thinking to myself this will be easy...we have two very good insurance companies we go through and they have been nothing but fast and easy so far. Liberty Health Share and Blue Shield. They have approved everything we have needed through this ordeal.
So, my thought was I would give the hospital my insurance information....and just go ahead and pay out of pocket for the CT scan....because hey, my neck may be broken.
At the Turlock Emanuel Hospital insurance desk.... (now remember I am a medicated mess...with a possible broken neck.) She informs me that the CT scan would be over $10,000 dollars. (even in my state I knew that was crazy) She asked if I would be paying for that or if we needed to wait to get insurance approval.
I asked....$10,000 for the scan how can that be? She gave me that look like take it or leave it. So, I called Dan and told him what was going on and he couldn't believe it. He got on the phone with her and long story short...told me to leave, we would be going somewhere else. He called our Dr. and a Imaging center in Modesto and asked what their most expensive CT scan would cost...that would be $400. Say what! (which we ended up paying only $325)
So, I picked myself up and headed for the door. Just as we were to leave the hospital the insurance lady came out to get us....asking us to come back so we could work something out....She then asked....can you pay $500 for the CT....I said....that has never been the problem....the problem is $10,000 was too much to pay. So I asked....If I pay $500 is that paid in full or is it still $10,000...She said the rest would be billed to our insurance. (Sorry, not going to do that...why would I want to stiff my insurance companies?!)
I share this story...because one....as a tip. When you are ill you lose so much control...but you can still control how and what you let people do to you. I've learned much from this experience.
- One -if in pain...don't do something crazy like lay flat on a bed with no help...that is not brave that is crazy!
- stand up for your rights, you are in control.
Okay- Now on to the Unexpected Surgery-
Yes, my neck was broken due to the cancer. They rushed me to the Stanford emergency room. ....From there it was a blur of rooms, halls, doctors and waiting.
I entered the emergency room on Tuesday....had neck surgery on Friday evening around 9 pm. Shannon, Anna and Dan, bless their hearts ....took care waiting with me. I love them so.
On Thursday I had my scheduled surgery, which again got cancel due to trauma transplant surgery. Stanford is a Trauma 1 hospital. So, we sent Shannon home ....it was just too much to have her and Anna wait around any longer. Surgery was to happen on Friday.
Shannon and Anna helped so much in passing the time and keeping everything happy and up beat. Love them so! They are my happy day! I can't believe how blessed I was during this whole ordeal! I love my family. Our Sons kept the nut company running smoothly so Dan could stay with me worry free. How I love my sons!
My good life long friend Sandi....showed up at 6:30 Friday morning to stay with us/Danny during surgery.
(She didn't leave until 1am Saturday morning...bless her heart!)
You will never know a more kind, sensitive, or giving person. I call this her Mary Poppins bag....from it come a never ending supply of happy needed items....truly magical.
I went in to the post operation room with a scheduled 10:30 am surgery. Which mind you ended up happening at 9pm . Sandi kept both Danny and I busy with all the magical things in her bag.
I thank Heavenly Father for her everyday.
Surgery went very well and now I'm on the road to recovery from that. I now have two rods on each side of my neck and screws holding them in place. They are giving me a couple weeks to heal and then I will start back up on radiation and a few other things.
Now may I share my heart-
As I have been grappling with the feelings of isolation, and even confusion about what all this means, it occurred to me that having cancer is like being hit by a devastating hurricane or earthquake...wow it just takes your feet from under you. Also you will never hear me talk about this cancer as a gift....it is not a gift....but I have learned it does keep giving. (smile)
What cancer has been for me is a study in patience, courage, kindness, and pain.
I have felt embarrassed that so many friends and family now have to take care of me....this is harder for me than the cancer itself. I don't know if embarrassed is the right word...perhaps....just not worthy to have so many loving people praying, caring, loving, watching, doing, smiling, over me.
The week in the hospital before surgery, Dan gave me a Priesthood blessing. Which filled me with love and courage.
The day of the surgery I felt and saw the promised blessing I received from that Priesthood blessing. Again, my heart was filled ...I felt My Heavenly Fathers love through out the day.
Coming out of surgery was the hardest I have ever had. The pain was beyond. I felt torn between coming and going.
Again I bare my Testimony that our Heavenly Father loves us, he is aware of us. That angels are surrounding us in our time of need.
I believe in Him I know he lives. Through Him all things are possible.
I love my family...Each of my children have served me in ways that have blessed me to feel oh so loved! They cook, clean, visit, drive and just love me. Shannon, Heidi, Becca, Bree, Jessica how I love you. John and Libby thank you for all your help.
Sandi....I have no words. Love ya
And to you my dear friends....that visit, encourage, have blessed me with you gifts of love....I love you. You know who you are. I pray that Heavenly Father with bless you.
And to Danny
Not going to lie....this is hard. But Happy Day. I love you, you love me! In my mind I have the perfect words to say...but they just don't sound right out loud. So we hug and hold.
You walk with me through hard things....all the while I know this is very hard on you.
Coming home from the hospital...hard.... You rocked me, bathed me and cut my falling hair. All the while saying I was beautiful.
Love is what you do...when its not easy.
Heidi came over the day after Dan cut my hair to clean it up and make it more even. Bless you Heidi for your soft touch and loving words.
and yes, Cole and I now have the same hair cut.
I see the Lords Hand in all that has happened...How can I be so blessed? I thank Him everyday.
I'm good and working towards fun times.....
Next post will be about a fun little girls gathering we just had.