Friday, April 28, 2017


Discombobbled is an excellent word to describe my current state.

Just when it finally seemed as though I was moving forward on my oncological odyssey,  cancer schmantzer had something else in mind.  The scheduling nurse called on Monday and said that there had been a cancellation, so I could begin the next set of procedures on Wednesday.  The prep for my endoscopy (non-surgical procedure to examine my digest tract) wasn’t too bad.  I only had to fast and go without caffeine from Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon.  My hope was that the endoscopy would help my oncology team find the origin of my cancer.  After the endoscopic procedure, my doc told me that he found nothing but a polyp in my digestive tract.  He suggested we should do a colonoscopy (an examination of the other end of my innards)  to see if they could find the cancer there.  Of course, I agreed because I want to get this show on the road.
For those of you who have never had a colonoscopy, the prep drink is a million times worse than the procedure itself.  When I drank this prep 3 weeks ago before my hysterectomy, the directions suggested mixing this jar of nastiness with Gatorade.  No matter which flavor of Gatorade I tried (and lo, there are gazillions of flavors), it is still nasty, and mixing it with the colonoscopy prep does not help make either any more drinkable.  On Wednesday I mixed the prep with apple juice and white grape juice, and still, my gag reflex was in fine form.  
On Thursday afternoon after two days without food or caffeine, I returned to Parkview to have my colonoscopy.  Unfortunately, after the procedure, the surgeon told me he couldn’t get far enough into the right side of my colon because there were adhesions (and other big medical words) from diverticulitis.  The bottom line, of course, is that they still can’t find the place of origin of the cancer.  
Once again,  I said to my doctor: Well, FUCK!  This has become my go to phrase when I talk with my medical team.  (Factoid alert: the F word can be used as any part of speech except as a preposition)
I asked the surgeon if he had ever seen anything like my case, and he said this is relatively rare. While I have always been one who has marched to a different drummer, this news was a bit jarring, and I am more than a little taken back by this latest turn of events.  On the plus side, I am envisioning that my doctors will have something amazing to submit to the New England Journal of Medicine. If a Nobel prize is in the offing, my name needs to be in the footnotes.
Now that I have had some food, some caffeine, and some sleep, I will wait until Monday when the oncological team comes up with a plan for my treatment. If there is anything that I have learned from dealing with this is that anticipating outcomes is a fool’s errand, and I have learned to expect the unexpected.  Now I plan to move on to the next chapter of hurry up and wait. Because there isn’t a lot of point in going into a tailspin, I am now looking for my happy place, and in the meantime, I am envisioning a little cancer Pac Man, lurching and beeping around my insides, trying to gobble up all of the nasty cancer cells.

I am ready to begin this battle, but when the enemy has yet to be identified, it is difficult to know where to smack something down.  Hmm, that seems like a metaphor for the policies that our General Assembly has for education, but that will be the subject for another blog. 

Whatever the case, I will deal with whatever happens.


  1. Wishing your cancer, like our Doofus in Chief, was a little more transparent. Stay sassy. Cancer hates that��

  2. I highly recommend lots of ice cream while they figure this stuff out, Woman Warrior 💜

  3. I also envisioned Mickey Mouse's big white feet stomping those cancer bits!

  4. Hi Phyllis, True to form, you are taking the bull by the horns and charging right in. As always, you are inspirational. Love your use of the F word with the docs, betting they love it too. Take good care, and keep on keeping on, your friends are all with you! XO Maureen

  5. You've got the right attitude, lady! Eight years ago I referred to my colon cancer as a pain in my ass. The F word was also used frequently . . . just know there are many, many people sending good vibes.

  6. discombobulated, we always say -- good to know the proper form