Archive for February 2014

“But What if it’s Cancer!?” Part 2

swollenneck(In Part I [you may read it here] I shared my experience of discovering a lump on my neck and a bit about the process I went through to determine what it was…and if it was cancer. I closed by saying that I would call on all my strengths to defeat the demon if in fact it was cancer, and that I would not know for 10 days. Well, 10 days have passed and the jury has entered the courtroom.)

Joan and I were led to examination room #21 and told that the doctor would be right with us. “Right” is doc-speak for 20 minutes.

Like all such rooms I’ve visited, this one had all the character of a dog crate.

Boooo-ring!

Boooo-ring!

There is, of course, the ever-present padded chair with sterile paper draped over it that reminds me of either a dentist’s chair or an electric chair (they’re closely related, you know). And four metal folding chairs that would fit in nicely behind long, folding tables at the Friday night CYO Bingo Jamboree. Joan nestled into one of those while I busied myself pacing between posters of ear and nose anatomical sketches. Have they never heard of magazines?

By the time the doctor arrived I was confident that if it weren’t for a little tremble I have in my hands I knew enough about the human nose that I could successfully repair a deviated septum.

As he entered and we exchanged greetings I noticed that he wasn’t smiling. That put me into a brief panic but then I remembered he never smiled-probably pissy about there being no decent magazines in the room. He settled into a CYO chair across from the electric chair, where I sat and awaited the verdict.

“Mr. Grinkmeyer, you have publicly posed the question, ‘But What if it’s Cancer!?’ And you have responded that should ‘if’ become ‘is’, you would ‘Deal With It.’ Well Sir, I am here to inform you that the time to ‘Deal With It’ has commenced; you have lymphoma.”

He said he believed the cancer was pretty well contained to the neck-lump area. He mentioned things like surgery and chemotherapy and remission and delivered a diagnosis/prognosis that was positive but factual. He said that he felt it unlikely that the tumor in my neck had spread, but I don’t know how he could know that without an MRI or PET scan. I’ll be finding out this coming Thursday when I meet with my new best friend, “Dr. Oncologist”.

Why Am I Sharing This?

I followed my niece’s blog as she bravely faced her latest round of chemotherapy. Her courage and upbeat attitude have inspired me to face whatever is coming my way in an equally courageous fashion.

Most of us will be affected by cancer at some point in our lives; friends, family, loved ones or even…you know. It is pervasive and indiscriminate when it comes to choosing victims and when it does, it usually leaves them confused and frightened-it did me.

I believe that the more we know about the journey that we or our loved one is on the better able we are to understand it, cope with it and face it head on. Sharing my journey is my effort to educate and inform as many people as care to learn about what to expect when cancer strikes, and how to defeat it-because that’s what I intend to do. I’ll keep you posted.

(If you or someone you know might like to follow me on my journey I’ve place a “Subscribe” button on top of the right column of my blog. You’ll be notified by email each time I make a new post.)

“But What if it’s Cancer!?”

 

I saw the pathologist Dr. Benedict this morning-she was doc #4 to examine a walnut-sized lump that had suddenly appeared on the left side of my neck. She poked it with a needle 12 times in order to withdraw tissue samples that would be used to determine if it was, uh…cancer. I won’t know for a week.

“What if it’s cancer?” I’ve asked myself that question about fifty times today. But rather than try and answer it, I sat around and conjured up all the terrible potential consequences of this frightening diagnosis.

Cancer has been far too frequent a visitor in my life.

It took my mother before I even knew her, and it dragged my father through a painful and undignified 3 months before finally sucking the final bit of life from his 90-pound body.

Cancer claimed my father’s brother and one of his sisters. My niece has been bravely staving off cancer’s death-lust for 15 years now; it took her leg but not her life. (That changed on the day after Christmas, 2014, when her family bravely decided to remove her tumor-ravaged body from life support.) My sister-in-law  recently had a malignant tumor removed from her breast. It seemed my destiny that one day I too would be forced to lace up the gloves and step into the ring with this very formidable foe.

I was sad, I was scared and I felt a strong sense of vulnerability that I’d not felt before.

The specter of death became reality for the first time in my life. Sure, I knew intellectually that I was going to die some day, but I’d always figured I’d face that truth at a more appropriate time. Well, that time had arrived.

For several hours I allowed my thoughts to ride roughshod over my psyche.

Then my brain decided it was time for the chaos in my head to end. For no reason I can determine the panic subsided and I was overcome with gratitude for the blessings in my life. My first thought was, “I don’t live in Syria.”

I thought that was an odd thought, but it opened a floodgate of reminders of how fortunate I am and have been throughout my life-I needed that. And then the answer to that panic-inducing question came to me:

“What if it’s cancer?”

Well then, I guess we’ll deal with it.

I’ll be inspired by the courage of my family and friends who bravely, sometimes unsuccessfully, did battle with this ruthless, indiscriminate killer. I’ll pull together every resource available to me and slay this demon, because I still have much to see and do, much to give and much to share.

All that’s “if”, of course.

Avocado Toast-Are You Kiddin’ Me?

Avocado toast with egg.

Avocado toast with egg.

Who’s ever heard of spreading mashed avocado on toast for breakfast?

I hadn’t until last week when I saw a TV commercial suggesting I give Cap’n Crunch the day off and try something different. It sounded like a match made in Hades to me but this morning my curiosity got the best of me and I gave it a whirl.

I began by doing a quick Google search and lo and behold, there were hundreds of recipes all proclaiming the delicious-ness of this seemingly unlikely union of foods. And they all were pretty much the same recipe:

“Toast bread, mash avocado, spread avocado on toast, eat.”

I thought I’d “up” the stakes a bit and add a nice runny-yolk egg, but before getting into the chicken embryo I tried just the toast and avocado-OMG!

If you’re an avocado fan I really encourage you to try this. It’s a nutritious blend of carbohydrates and healthy fats; add the egg and you’ve got protein to boot. That combo should easily keep the stomach growls at bay till noon.

Hints

  • Use a good, whole-grain bread-I used Brownberry 12 Grain.
  • Before mashing the avocado (I did it the night before) I added salt, pepper and lemon juice (lemon juice keeps the avocado from turning an unsightly brown).