Friday, February 3, 2012

Life of a Lymphomanic-Week 1

Some of you have heard the rumors, some of you know what’s really going on. Basically it boils down to: I’m going to be “in hiding” for the next 10 days, I wanted you to know the truth, know it from me, and know that cancer can be funny when I’m the one telling the story.

MONDAY—January 23, 2012

At the law firm, doing the filing

Dad’s Paralegal, Dada: Your father’s tired of you being sick. He’s got Dr. Kaufmann waiting for you at Emory-Midtown. Leave now.

Me: But I’m in the middle of filing.

Dada: Yeah, he doesn’t care. Go now, or I’m going to get in trouble.


So I drive myself to Emory-Midtown. I’ve been fighting a cold that’s been getting progressively worse since November. I’ve been diagnosed as having everything from a respiratory funk to bronchitis.

Nothing’s helping. Not antibiotics, not steroids, not inhalers, breathing treatments, nothing. Around Christmas, I noticed a lump has started growing on just under my neck. Neither of my doctors are worried; one of them says it’s the result of a pulled muscle from all the coughing.

I haven’t slept well or fully through the night since November.

Scene—Kaufmann Clinic

Dr. Kaufmann takes one look at me and orders me upstairs for a chest x-ray.

My whole world starts to change.

“You have a mass in your chest. Now don’t worry; it isn’t necessarily cancer. Do you want me to call your dad and explain all this to him? And we’re scheduling a CT scan for you tomorrow.”

TUESDAY—January 24, 2012

Dunwoody Imaging, CT Scan

I start to cry before they slide me through the machine. This is really too much to be going through by myself. This is too much information to be taking in. What’s going on with my body? Well, whatever going on in my chest, I can’t breathe as I lay back.

Kaufmann Clinic

My father shows up to listen to the test results of my CT scan that’s been stat-rushed back to Emory. At this time, I’ve never been more glad to have my Daddy next to me. A new doctor is introduced into the mix. I will come to learn there will be a cast of thousands as far as doctors and hospital personnel that become standard. Today, I meet Dr. Pickens. He tells me there is a 10 cm mass growing around my chest.

For those of you not good with the metric system, I have a softball growing in and around my chest and starting to squeeze my internal organs and veins.

“Now, we need to schedule a biopsy, do you want to wait to get that done?” Dr. Pickens asked.

I give him a look questioning his intelligence. “Absolutely not. Can you schedule me today? Tomorrow?”

“Well, Thursdays is the earliest we can get you in.”

“Perfect, first thing on Thursday is perfect.”


Pre-Op Shenanigans

For those of you who’ve never had surgery like I never had, Pre-Op means paperwork and a physical and a wonderfully chatty nurse named Sandra

Report for biopsy at 6 a.m.


We report at the hospital at 5:40 a.m. In case you can’t tell, my parents and I are a little nervous. I go to the pre-op room and I proceed to get pumped full of drugs.

The stress of the week starts to catch up to me and I start to stress out and have a panic attack. The nurse recognizes that I am just a girl who needs her parents, so she calls my parents out of the waiting room to come sit and soothe me. They also give me happy drugs. This is a temporary fix.

Because I have so much pressure on my chest, when they take me to the operating room, I have to wear a mask pumping my lungs of pure oxygen. Because there’s so much pressure on my chest, I can’t have my anesthesia through IV, so I’m getting my oxygen and anesthesia through a mask that covers my mouth and nose. I am convinced I am being smothered. I start to tear up again.

As you’ve guess by my week so far, I’ve stressed and upset this week. It turns out I do not take to anesthesia too well because as I come off the sleeping gas in post-op, I go into fight-or-flight mode and fight six doctors. I have a wicked awesome bruise to post a photo of in the near future.

Out-patient surgery means I get to go home as soon as I can walk a bit under my own steam. Believe me when I say I am determined to get out of there ASAP.

Now, all we can do is wait for the biopsy results, which will come Wednesday at the latest….


  1. This has got to be so tough Rach. You've become such a great friend to me in the past year. I'll I can say is that I'm here for you and will definitely follow along with this to get updates.

  2. I'm slightly disappointed that my rooster nebulizer hasn't made it into this story. Are you trying to steal my "carebridge" thunder?

    Kroo has promoted me to Chief Paralegal a/k/a Medicine Woman a/k/a BCNT Shaman