Talk Dirty with Me

Last week, my life was, at its heart, a shitshow. At times, literally.

This is likely to be a relatively graphic post. If you might be squeamish or uncomfortable, especially about bodily output, feel free to exit now. However, if you decide to come along for the ride, please know that, in rectal cancer, sometimes things get yucky.

Let’s go back to Tuesday of last week, when I went to Dana Farber for chemo.

Lisa drove me there, and I told her that she could just drop me off, but I am so grateful that she stayed. I don’t know how I would have made it through that appointment by myself.

When I met with my doctor, we chatted about my past week: The open bellybutton wound, the various pain sites, the horrible intestinal blockage from the previous Friday, my trials with trying to get advice from them over the phone and, oh, by the way, I’ve several days of constipation.

He looked worried at that last one and told me they would have to do an x-ray before deciding on chemo.

Before deciding on chemo????

Well, he said, the constipation could be due to a tumor blocking the colon. If that were the case, no chemo today and surgery ASAP to remove that part of the intestine and move my colostomy bag to another place.

I’ve been through that surgery twice before, and, while it is not fun, I know that I can do it. Still, I focused on no blockage.

I thought he was done but no. He wanted to show me what was behind Door #2.

Another possibility: Tumor is weighing on my colon, making it difficult for the colon to move and process nutrition. If my colon cannot move, I would need a permanent G-tube and 24/7 IV nutrition. Would I work with the surgeon I love (who is at a different hospital) or should he find one here for me?

Select a surgeon? I was still stuck on “permanent G-tube and 24/7 IV nutrition.” I don’t like to leap ahead at possibilities, but his talk of picking a surgeon left me spinning and stunned and wondering if I would ever be able to eat solid foods again. I tried to focus on the present moment, that maybe instead I could have “what was behind the curtain” or even run off the stage and choose none of the above.

Instead, Lisa and I (in my zombie state) left his office and took an elevator, the bridge, and another elevator to get to X-ray.

Lisa insisted that we pray (thanks!), then I did the X-ray and returned to the doctor while Lisa waited for a copy of the disk (that I could bring home for my husband to scrutinize if needed).

On my way back to the doctor’s office, I stopped behind one bank of elevators, sat on the floor, and cried.

While there, my phone dinged with three texts. The first was from a woman I know, not in person, but through this blog. Her mother read my blog but has since passed away. The daughter and I became friends and stay in touch as we can, though not with regularity. Her words in this unexpected text reached my heart, as though she and her mother were saying it would, somehow, be okay. Another text arrived from a friend simply checking in. And the third text, from a friend who is an energy healer, asked if I might need some help.

So I took a deep breath, soaked in the love, and ventured on to see my doctor.

The good news is that, while I am officially full of crap, nothing obvious is slowing down the works and I was able to get chemo last week. (Don’t you love it when chemo is the best case scenario?)

In the days that followed, I continued my chemo and recovery at home, in bed, really sad. I never before had considered the thought of a feeding tube; I don’t know what I would choose to do.

Then one morning, as I lay in bed looking at all the green, leafy trees outside my bedroom window, I noticed one dead branch hanging in front of them.

Often, when I need perspective and strength, I think of my grandfather (who loved good, fresh food) and hoped he was with me now. It felt like a fantasy, and I don’t like to make deals with the spirits, but I suddenly said to him, “It sure would be nice to see a cardinal on this branch to say that you are with me.”

I kid you not, a cardinal almost immediately landed and stayed for maybe a minute before it flew out of sight.

I know that I dodged a bullet last week, and for that, I am grateful. But as I continue to work through the slow colon issues, I can’t help feeling that Door #2 could be looming. Wish me luck. And thank God and the universe that you can eat and poop!


13 thoughts on “Talk Dirty with Me

  1. I am still back on the tumor pushing through your belly button. What are the doctors saying about that? We all have multiple curtains in our lives. I now tell my doctor at the beginning of our sessions not to scare me and if she isn’t sure of something, don’t bring it up! I don’t want to know and to worry.

    I am so glad you had texts and a cardinal to give you comfort. After my mother died, I went to a medium (my very first time) and got a wonderful personal message from my mother that made me believe in the afterlife. I know her energy went on and that she is close by.

    Marie, you are a wonderful woman. Your spirit burns brightly. I am with you for the journey. i want to know what is going on in your life.

    • Ginny, that makes so much sense! Sometimes, we don’t know that we need to do something until something else unpleasant happens. But I have to admit that I did ask, why the x-ray?

      Aren’t some mediums SO amazing! Especially given the specificity of information, I do believe they connect and that our loved ones are with us in so many ways. I’m glad that you can feel your mother close by.

      I’m also glad that I can feel you nearby and that we reconnected. You are truly a strength in my life.

  2. Dear Marie,

    As is often the case, I am in tears reading this post. I am full of gratitude that you do not need a feeding tube, that you were able to have your chemo, that I can eat and poop, that you saw the cardinal when you needed it most.

    I love and appreciate your honesty and wit. I love that you let me inside your world through your writing. You are indeed a very special person. I suspect that many, most (is it possible for all?) people have something inside of them that makes them special, too. But you have, for better or worse, for reasons wanted or not, allowed us in, allowed us to witness, support, provide (online) companionship for you and your journey.

    I wish I could have hugged you when you needed to sit behind the elevators and cry, though I imagine you would have wanted to be alone. You made me laugh with your “full of crap” comment.

    You know, I always feel so self-indulgent when I reply to your posts. I started the day bitching via Melinda’s FB posts about neighbors’ landscapers blasting the hell out of our neighborhood each week (which is really quite annoying), but I will eat dinner in a few minutes without the slightest thought as to how my body will digest my meal. Not even a question of if! Well, maybe tonight I will think about digestion.

    I’m rambling. I just want you to know how much you are loved.


  3. Oh, Marie. So much to hear and ponder–and hopefully will be just words. I am always thankful after reading your posts–and I’m sending you the very best thoughts possible!

  4. Love this and you chica. I stopped by to give you a hug yesterday around 6:00. Shouted up… Sending you love from our plane to Houston ✈️ Zoom ❤️

    Sent by magic ⭐️


  5. The amazing thing about you Marie is the humor that you provide to everyone at the end of you story. God has given you amazing strength, I am in awe when I read your posts.
    I pray that things go a little smoother. Loved that you saw the cardinal.

  6. Know that we are with you, and always putting in a litt I could hatle prayer, too. Also, FWIW: I’m with Ginny: try to put thoughts of Door #2 far, far away. It’s like reading the list of rare but serious side effects for a drug. As I take the pill, I could get all anxious as I say to myself, “Might those side effects happen to me? Or, I could try to reframe and realize that I might have been hit by lightning yesterday, too, or won the lottery. (For the record, neither happened to me.)
    Moving on from the doors, here’s another metaphor, in mangled form: You’re not at that bridge yet, so don’t try to cross it.
    Stay strong, stay hopeful, and let your faith be your guide.

  7. Hi Marie
    I was behind on my reading and was happy to read the broth delivery entry so I knew this entry had a happy ending. The “chemo being the best option” made me laugh out loud. You are such a gift – how does laughter come from slow colons and chemo? Amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s