Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary.

A year ago, I was here.

This morning, Dr. Elf put the new Bug in my mouth (thanks, Der Alter Jo, for that name!) with some tracing material, a nasty-tasting greenish-black mix of wax and diatomaceous earth, on it, in my mouth.

My speech was normal.

My tongue hit the back of my front upper teeth the way it did before this whole obturator thing started. I sounded funny to myself, like I had a lisp. It's gonna mean learning to talk normally all over again.

I wish Maudie, who was there at my first appointment, had been there for this one. She was off helping another patient, though. Still, she'll be there when I get the wax tracing and all that stuff.

On the third of next month, I'll spend five hours doing. . .something, I don't know what, with the Bug in place, with a firmer tracing wax atop it. That's to get a mold of the inside of my mouth in action, as it were. After that, the molded form will be cast in acrylic and then I'll have a permanent speech bulb and obturator. Permanent as in "I won't have to have it re-fitted every few weeks," not permanent as in not-taking-it-out. Once I get it, we'll have a Photographic Retrospective, right here on this very blog, of the Evolution of Bug.

At the end of November I'll have a CT scan and an MRI, then an appointment with Dr. Crane to see how things are going. I don't expect any new tumor or weirdness. Still, I'm a little nervous.

I can't read over the past year's entries without bursting into tears. What they don't tell you about surgery and cancer and treatment and all that shit is that the physical memory remains even after you think you've gotten over the psychological stuff. Reading what I wrote about my lymph node biopsy makes my neck hurt. Reading the stuff I wrote about downer days makes me cry harder. It was so lonely-feeling and bleak at some points, you guys.

But I'm here. I am *here*. I didn't die, I didn't have to be irradiated, or have more huge chunks removed from my head, and I've done okay. Tonight's dinner is cheese enchilada and Scotch; I might make myself something special tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day--even though I didn't know it then--that I was free of cancer. In a way, this whole year has been vamp-till-ready.

Thank you for sticking with me through it.

If there were a word that combined the feeling of watching the first snowflakes fall in a place where snow is uncommon, taking your first shower at home after a long trip away, the feeling of the pillow when it's smushed just right under your head, seeing your dog chasing a squirrel you know he's never going to catch, the cat on your lap falling asleep, and waking up with your back pleasantly cold on the first day of Fall, I would use it to describe how you all made me feel during this past year of weird unpleasantness.

All I have is "thanks."

Thanks.

25 comments:

scotvixen said...

<3

Happy Cancerversary indeed. We're beyond happy you are still here.

We love you, so much.
*hugs*

Luis said...

Much love to ya. I've been a fan for a long time, and even more so for all the grace and grit, to yoink a phrase, you've shown over this past year and more. May next year go much, much better than this one has .... for all of us.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thank you for keeping on posting when some days it must have felt like an added burden; happy anniversary, Jo.

Anonymous said...

Craniosacral therapy and somatic emotional release might help with the memory physical pains. Continued health and positive thoughts to you.

Allison said...

Thank you for writing. I am so glad you're doing well. I look forward to many more years of your blog, and a photo journal of THE BUG.

Rosanna said...

Over this past 12 months, I (honestly) feel that *I* should be thanking *YOU* instead, Jo, for blessing me with you TO CARE ABOUT............ (along with brave, sweet Tashi and Wash, too, to whom we all were fortuitously introduced, i.e., through your blog).

In the past year since your oral surgery, your just being WHO YOU ARE----(i.e., earthy; optimistic, yet ever-realistic; and kindly sharing your joys, plus your warts-worries-and-all on your blog)----has genuinely been *A Welcome Respite* for me, i.e., given those within my own Immediate Family who, (unfortunately and sadly), haven't been able to be............ NEARLY as realistic, honest, or as kind as you've been.

In the face of loneliness and/or suffering, I always simply wish that I could----DO more----SAY more----and/or SEND more. Sometimes when I don't know what to send, though, I just send *love*, which............ (on this Special Thursday, October 20th, 2011)............ is what both Jack and I are sendin' to wonderful, one-of-a-kind you, Jo.

terri c said...

{{{{Jo}}}}

You *are* here, and I'm so glad.

Donna said...

Since I only found you recently (via Reader's Digest), I had to do some searching on your blog to see what happened to you, and I have only hit the high (or should I say low) spots.
I will remind myself today to enjoy the little things. We have a freeze and frost here in my part of Missouri this morning, so allergies should be better from here on out. We have a lovely, sunny day coming up. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Urbie said...

I keep reading "speech bulb" as meaning that you've got one of those cartoon balloons following you around, displaying your words! :-D Congrats and continued good health!

Urb

Dr. May B. Insane said...

I've heard people say that cancer was one of the best things that ever happened to them because it creates a new awareness and appreciation for life and a new dependence on God that all together enrich their lives far more than they ever expected. All I can say is that I have a deep admiration for all of y'all that have taken or are on that journey. Best thoughts and wishes; may you always find the blessing in the experience; and may you continue to enjoy the resolution for a long, long time!!

messymimi said...

Thank you for feeling open enough to share your journey with us.

Congratulations, and i'm praying you never have to go through this sort of thing again.

Just My 2¢ said...

Congrats, kiddo! Your habit of looking at the weather patterns inside your head and analyzing the cause is a good thing. I'm not that in tune with myself - I have to pay folks to do it for me!

Celeste said...

Very, very glad you made it through. ((((hugs))))

Dr. Alice said...

As others have said, I think we should be thanking you. I am so glad you are better. I try to remind myslf of your experience every time I have a patient with a new cancer diagnosis. And congrats on the new Bug... try to think of it as a retainer with attitude. :)

RehabRN said...

Ah, WV I like: spite

Out of spite, just look to the sky, wave your favorite finger and yell, "Eff you, cancer"

Jo 1, Cancer 0.

May you have many, many more anniversaries like this cancer-free, filled with scotch, enchiladas or whatever you wish!

Hippie Chick said...

Found you at Reader's Digest! I'm always interested in what nurses have to say; I have chronic medical issues at 35 & feel as though it has been the nurses that have taken the best care of me. I have never come across a rude or mean nurse ever, & even if I had, I would still treat them w/ the utmost respect.

Thank you for doing what you do. :)

I have a blog here on blogspot as well, but haven't posted anything in awhile, so I won't add my blog address...yet!

I bookmarked you & plan to follow you. Off to bed now, but I can't wait to read around tomorrow. Have a good night!

Penny Mitchell said...

Ah, jeez. I've been so caught up in my own drama that I forgot that yesterday was 10/20. I find a silver lining in that: One year ago I would have never believed that ANYTHING could have distracted me from what you had going on.

Love you.

rebekah said...

I have to echo all of the above, especially the sentiment of my sometimes not knowing what to say, but ALWAYS sending healing prayers and love. You will always have a wonderful spirit, and we are all so glad you your physical being is still with us as well!

Happy Anniversary!

Cr0w$c@lling said...

Here's to another year!
Margarita's Sat?

Marsha said...

I nominate a new word: 'jentment' - joy + contentment...for those feelings. I just found your blog; it's nice, good writing!

woolywoman said...

Yay!

haldol said...

<3

Elyse said...

. . .and thank ⋄you⋄ for sharing the ups and downs so transparently, and giving words to things there really aren't any adequate words for. Oh yeah and also for taking pictures of your cat with that weirdass bubble-gum colored hunk of plastic! thumbsup-thumsup-thumsup!

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) said...

You continue to inspire me with your grace and the one-step-in-front-of-the-other approach that got you through this year. I'm not sure I'd have either the grace or together-ness. Congratulations on your anniversary and may you have many more until the reason is a faded memory...

Vanessa said...

Awesome! I just found your blog and playing catch up. Hopefully I will be cancer free after I have surgery next week. If you ever get bored feel free to stop by my blog. I use wordpress but will add you to my blogroll for certain!

http://www.vanessaic.wordpress.com