Or maybe not so contrived after all…

I’m sitting here a little green, fighting the rolling bile that I assume I can thank to a lacking appetite and an every-four-hour regimen of Percocets and Ibuprofens. They changed me over to Percocet from Vicodin in the emergency room Friday night after determining the latter wasn’t strong enough for my level of pain.

My P-A called me Friday afternoon with the results of my MRI, advising they found an 8cm in diameter pocket of what appeared to be fluid near where my tailbone should be—which would be what is causing all of my pain and discomfort—and further she mentioned that they really couldn’t see much of a tailbone at all, after which my dear Barb replied, “Which is odd, but with your weird tailbone genetics, maybe not so odd.” Also, she told me that my white blood cell count came back at 16, when I guess normal is somewhere in the 4-11 range. “So your body’s trying to fight off something,” she translated. She gnawed on her lip (I heard her doing so over the phone), and mumbled how it sucked to get this information so late on a Friday afternoon, that she didn’t want me to suffer needlessly all weekend if it could be resolved that night.

She gave me the name of a doctor she’d spoken with in the emergency room. She ordered a CT Scan be completed, and perhaps my cyst or whatever the scan showed it to be could be drained that very night, or antibiotics prescribed. Well, in hindsight I can see that I latched onto this idea rather wholly. I called Nick to tell him the news, and without me yet reaching the portion of the conversation where I would ask if he would be willing to spend the night in the emergency room with me or if I should call a family member, he was planning away his night to be with a nearly-paper-gowned, naked-butted woman.

Par-tay.

We pulled out of the parking lot just after eleven, and before us sat a very dismal outlook. After hours of discomfort—the physical sort—and corresponding intravenous pain medication, nothing had been relieved. In fact, the doctor my physician’s assistant had spoken with about my case, about my mother’s disease, had gone off shift before he had a chance to treat me…which led me to believe that when the doctor who DID treat me came in to say that I was number 14 to my mother’s 13, he didn’t realize the full implication of what he was saying. He didn’t realize that she was dead, that she had died from that tumor that started on her tailbone.

He did know there was a weird and totally unexpected growth at the site of my tailbone. He did know it was something that couldn’t be drained. He did know it was something a comprehensive cancer specialist ought to look at. He did know to refer me to the UW hospital, the regional caner specialist mecca. He did know that I would require a biopsy, and he did know that nothing would be accomplished until that particular test gave us answers.

Disappointing…scary…and I want my momma…a very lethal combination.

Yesterday was the hard day…telling everybody…my aunts stopping by Nick’s condo to check in on me when Brenda needs a biopsy herself, the 20 minute conversation with my father, the tear-laced voice of my brother calling to offer his services as UW-taxi again to another family member. We’ll get through this one, bro…it isn’t the same, we just can’t believe it to be the same.

A Contrived Case of Dejà Vu

I actually spent some time on my hair this afternoon, straightening it into a soft, touchable, bouncy bob. It’s been awhile…which has made Nick one happy man as he’s more in love with my naturally curly locks than P. Diddy ever was with J-Lo’s backside. I am female. I, therefore, suffer from grass-is-greener-syndrome: I have curly-ish hair…thus I straighten it. I’ve lacked the energy to devote to such practices as of late.

I’ve been slowly feeling more and more run down, and this week it came to a head…or a butt, if you will.

My tailbone has been an issue the past several years. I’ll have periods where it aches, lasting only a few days, and then most of the time I’m very ginger with it. I don’t sit on hard seating, I try not to sit for long periods of time much at all (my last foray into torture being my insistence on seeing Dead Man’s Chest…and the pain in my ass was nothing compared with my reactions to the movie—lordy it felt like somebody went and stuck thumbtacks in my scalp.)

But before I raise a ruckus and let you do battle over whether or not it was a good movie—because it just wasn’t (and I’m of the fraction who LIKED Catwoman—how do you say, “easy to please”?)―I’ve been experienced out-of-this-world pain during the last week, and besides zapping me of all energy and preventing me from competing in tomorrow’s Waunafest Run, I’m scared.

By Tuesday morning, when I could no longer stand upright, I knew i had to have my tailbone examined. Tears were close to the surface all day, part from pain part from fear…the tailbone is where it all started for my momma. In fact, having my P-A look at it wasn’t enough.

She ordered X-Rays…coccyx and pelvic…she, my beloved Barb who returns my calls personally, was the one who discovered the Satanic tumor called Carcinoid that sought to turn my mother’s life into a living Hell. “Preliminarily,” she said that day, “The X-Rays look fine…but because you have such a bizarre family history, I want the radiologist to look at them tomorrow. I’m going to give you a call either way, so you WILL hear from me.”

I had a dentist appoint Wednesday afternoon…I got my butt and my mouth serviced the same week—MAKEOVER! But as I walked to my car, I noted the event light blinking on my silenced phone. I listened to Barb’s voice asking me to call her back about my X-Rays. “If it was nothing, she would have said,” I mumbled to myself as I adjusted in the driver’s seat, sitting on my left foot. The pain was growing more severe as time went by. I called back after reaching home only to learn that something didn’t look quite right and they wanted an MRI.

Thursday, the next day (and, incidentally, but not to confuse you, today’s yesterday), the pain had grown so severe that I had to admit it would be my last day driving long distances for awhile, and I requested a change in medication to Barb’s nurse due to ineffectiveness and nausea, which Barb happily granted. I spent my half-day nearly passed out on the couch in a stupor of Ibuprofen and Vicodin with a wad of ice resting atop my very swollen derrière. “If I’m not better by tomorrow, I’m going to have to stay home from work,” I admitted to myself in the quiet of the thunderstorm, amidst the loneliness and solitude of my fright. By last night, doped up on sleep aids and more Vicodin, more Ibuprofen yet, I slurred to my Nicholas, “As of right now, I’m going to work tomorrow.”

At 2:00, having been jolted awake from a throbbing pain that had me in full hyperventilation from the moment I opened my eyes, I stumbled about blindly, stupidly, panicking at the sensory overload, the shock…I nearly fell down the stairs to get to the kitchen freezer to retrieve some ice…I contemplated bashing my head into a wall to force an unconsciousness but fortuitously managed to talk myself out of the exercise and made it back to bed. When the morning alarm sounded and I awoke again, I knew without a doubt that I couldn’t survive a day at work.

I called my clinic to advise them that the situation had changed, the pain level had increased substantially, that I was quite swollen now and barely able to move. Barb called me back, saying she didn’t really have an opening early in the day, but that she really wanted to take a look at me, and to come over right away, that she would squeeze me in. From there, I had a task force of nurses rallying by my side—examining my swollen tailbone, taking blood, expediting the scheduled MRI—and then most humbling, when the X-Ray tech, Carol…the woman who had me crying the Tuesday-before in her professions of how dearly she loved my mother and how close she still holds her within her heart…said she was going to drive me to the hospital to have the MRI done. She gave me her phone number to call if I couldn’t get a ride back. I was overwhelmed.

So I spent an hour lying on my back, which was a devilry I wouldn’t inflict on my worst enemy if their tailbone were in the condition of mine, and waiting for the end of the scan, or unconsciousness, if I should be so lucky. I wasn’t.

The techs helped me from the bed and helped me dress. I wobbled to the foyer and called Nick with an update, and just about passed out in the telling. He came to pick me up and I decided to email my dear aunts the latest update once I was home…fed, iced and drugged. I’m told the clinic should have some feedback on the tests this afternoon, and if I haven’t heard anything by 4:00, to call the clinic and they’ll call the hospital…there is something to be said for going above and beyond the call of duty, and my clinic, my mother’s clinic, so does.

It’s been a terrible week, full of a lot of bad things…but my heart has flooded with the affection showered on me be those I hold most dear. I love you my dear aunts, Nick…thank you for your love, support, and worry.

A Slow Down

I’m tired…life is very full. I don’t often feel well. My memories are very painful. My heart is aching.

Entries here may very well be few and far between for the near future. Nick got home late from work last night and teased as he brought up lauralore.com, his nightly ritual, “Still no update. I see how you are.”

“I told you, chances are I’ll be giving [blogging] up.”

His face became serious, “How does that make you feel? Are you ok with that?”

“I’m not okay with how little time I am able to give to writing, I’m not okay with the quality of my entries.” There were times, both during my marriage and my mother’s illness, that I needed writing like I needed air…it was my escape from reality, from my front-seat view of suffering, from feeling as though I did not exist.

“I’m perfectly okay,” I continued, “with being too busy living life to give any time to the documenting.” I began to stutter something else, pleading my case, when Nick interrupted—

“No, I completely agree. When I first met you, you had an entry up every morning at [the same time]. When you were taking care of your mom, you needed it more.” It doesn’t help, naturally, that I’ve met my first comment troll and that I’m having to be a momma bear protecting her cubs when words of those I hold dear turn abrasive.

That’s lousy, guys, really frigging lousy. I began monitoring comments for that very reason…if Mom were still alive I wouldn’t have to, because she’d fight fire with fire and send all you naysayers back to the fiery pits of hell from which you came.

God, I miss that woman. She had the gumption that I lack.

In fact, when Miles first left, she grabbed my shoulders several times and shook me with a surprising vigor, scolding that I was being too nice. In the end, she told me she was proud of me for keeping my dignity, being the bigger person, but she still would’ve liked to see me spit a nail or two.

And then she laughed, because she knew such a thing would never come to pass, and it made her glad…it would be one of the last times I heard her lovely gurgle of glee.

Anyway…entries will most probably appear here and there, but for the present, the daily posting is officially on stand-by…perhaps when I begin to trust the world again, or, leastwise, the people who waste a couple minutes of their day to read about what’s going on in my life, I will return in fine form. I’m just too weary right now.

Mom loved this site, which is why it continued for as long as it did last year, after my world began to crumble in June. Now, my spirit is taking a much needed respite, and I am going to shade my vulnerabilities from the light of day for awhile. Until we meet again…

Rewriting the Record

I realized this week, as Brenda and I drove into work together, that it’s been a year since my Wisconsin reinstatement…effective 06/24. It’s good to be back…but it’s also hard, as so many memories remain vivid from my 2005 Summer. Momma, I miss you more than ever.

I remember this date last year—July 1, 2005—I spent the morning at the DMV, obtaining a legitimate Wisconsin driver’s license. Afterwards, I spent the day with Mom, while she vigorously cleaned her house…if my mother was masterful at anything (and truly, she was masterful at almost everything, including but not restricted to embarrassing the crap outta me in public), it was maintaining a household.

I grew up in an old farmhouse that my mother made a home. I can’t stand to be there now…it smells of vacancy and her belongings lay about as though she’ll return any moment. Her purse sits by her dresser mirror, where she’d grab it on her way out in the morning…her lip balm creates a dust cut-out on her bedside table where it has remained unmoved since she took so ill in late December.

It hurts to feel as though your home is gone, to know you can never go back to the happiest place of your life. Mom had a good friend who is also suffering from Cancer…she lost her parents years ago, and Mom would always tell me, “It’s just a certain level of security that you lose when one or both of your parents die…” I get it now…better than I could have while she was trying to teach me.

Also a year ago today, I gave my mother’s picture frame a purpose. I remember having such fun walking about the place and capturing forever the trinkets and collectibles that sparkled by her hand. I remember how excited she was when I ordered the prints and how her smile broadened when she saw the finished product. I remember it was such a lovely day—full of an inanity that felt so special when spent with one you love.

The memories that sneak up on me are all made of these times…the big events blend away, and I remember only being, only knowing that she was there…only feeling like I understood my place in the world. I miss the laughter…I miss the humor that only she and I shared…I miss the volleying silliness of which we never tired. I’m distracting myself with newness this season.

It’s Rhythm and Booms tonight, and for the first time ever, I will watch the awesome display from Warner Park, courtesy of Nick. Last year we giggled through the night, missing the fireworks completely. Nick has been so wonderful over the past several months…he even manages to put up with my attitude somewhat well:

He’s helped me overcome many a dark day and to reinstate the levity in life, a lightness that was nearly crushed from existence during the past few years. I am reminded of dialog from the second installment of Lord of the Rings. Sam is talking about legends, the dark stories wherein you didn’t want to know the end—because how could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But he says that in the end, it’s only a passing shadow, that a new day will come and that the sun will shine clearer…that people keep moving forward instead of turning back because they’re holding onto an idea that there’s some good in the world, and that it’s worth fighting for.

Frodo later realizes, “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, and take hold.” There’s no healing for some wounds…but I am determined to latch onto happiness once more. I am determined not to give into defeat. I am determined to live life the way it was meant to be lived—with excitement and not regret…and I’ve been blessed with a guide. Thank you, Nick.