Thursday, October 2, 2008

Facing the truth and the light

I lay on the bed crying as my oncologist bows his head and prays with me, holding my hand. That is when you know the news is bad.
He had just told me that the chemotherapy drugs that I have been taking, and mind you, they are the strongest ones available, have not been helping at all. My liver has grown, along with the number of tumors growing inside.
“Can any other drugs help?” I ask.
He said there are some non-chemotherapy drugs that will work like one of them, but the chances of it actually helping me are less than 20 per cent. Also the side effects are acne and rashes ranging from my lower face down to my chest.
“No thank you, it’s not worth it,” I said.
Basically, I’ve been given a couple months. My oncologist was actually surprised to find that my liver has lasted this long, with no signs of jaundice:
“(A) medical condition in which too much bilirubin - a compound produced by the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells - is circulating in the blood. The excess bilirubin causes the skin, eyes, and the mucus membranes in the mouth to turn a yellowish color. If the cause is not treated, it can lead to liver failure,” according to
“So where do we go from here?” I ask.
He will give me the necessary drugs to make sure my last few months are comfortable. He also laughed when I asked if I can drink again. He nodded and said yes.
Just in case if you all were wondering, chemotherapy and alcohol does not mix well. Either I talk for hours and not realize it or I get sick as a dog. So it has been four months since my last drink, which was orange juice with a smidge of vodka. Thankfully, my fiancé loves Budweiser as a marinade for his steaks, so I am going to be one happy camper.
The other good news is that my hair will come back now. For months, I have been shedding like a Newfoundland in the spring. In the last month, after I shower, I have pulled out clumps the size of my hand.
Any woman will tell you, it is very hard emotionally to watch my naturally thick hair thin out to almost nothing. For this reason, I have not allowed any pictures of myself to be taken without a hat.
But I do not have to worry about it now. My hair is already starting to shed less and hopefully in a few months, my hair will be back to its natural state. Normally hair returns two to three months after chemotherapy, and depending on the person, it comes back thicker and either wavier or curlier. In my case, I will still have my mother’s wavy, thick hair.
So how is this going to change my future?
Well, my wedding plans are definitely going to have to be pushed up, so I can actually have energy to get through the ceremony. While my fiancé is happy to just go to the local justice of the peace, I want to get married in Nevada. Sorry, this is where my politics come out.
I am not and will not be a “Party B” according to my marriage license. Since homosexual marriages were approved this last June, to make the marriage licenses neutral for all wedded couples, the “Groom/Bride” portion has been replaced with “Party A/Party B.” I would rather fly to Las Vegas and officially be a “Bride” than to stay in California and be a “Party B.”
OK, that is the end of my rant.
And I do have to check with a lawyer to speak about a will and other financial questions, to prepare for the end.
I will still work as long as I can drive to the Citizen’s office. When I can no longer drive, I will work from home and just e-mail my stories to my editor.
Am I scared of the end?
No one really wants to die. I would rather give up my left arm or all of my hair to stay with my fiancé and grow old with him. I would even sacrifice my chances of having children if I can stay with him for 10 years or 50 years. I can live with just having puppies.
But I remember my grandmother’s last week on this world. She was talking with someone (whom I could not see) and she introduced me to this person. I knew then that her mother came to comfort her and my grandmother would not be going to the next world alone.
That gives me comfort. I know that my grandmother will be waiting for me on a very comfortable couch in front of a big screen Plasma TV with the NASCAR race on. And my dog Braveheart will be there, ready to jump up on me and give me puppy kisses. Also my fiancé’s grandmother will be waiting for me too, ready to give me a huge hug and kiss.
I will miss the people that I leave behind, but I know I will live in their hearts forever. And with the thousands of pictures that my friends and I have taken in our years at the Sacramento State Hornet newspaper, they will remember me full of life and healthy.

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