Life and Death

day girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest scan results are in.  The cancer has spread.

In addition to the cancer in my lymph nodes and around my left breast implant, the cancer has also spread to my sternum, ribs, clavicle, pelvis, vertebrae, spine, neck, and into my liver.  Plus, I still have liters of fluid surrounding my left lung.  And it turned out there is a fracture in the left femoral neck ( which explained the hip pain I’d been having for the last three weeks).

I found out this wonderful news in a cab en route from the Chicago airport heading to celebrate my 40th birthday with auntie Cole and 15 of our closest family and friends.  To add insult to injury, as I was getting in the cab I made a wrong move and the fracture in my femur turned into a full break. I arrived at the hotel only to be whisked away in an ambulance moments later to Northwestern Hospital to prepare for emergency hip surgery.

Happy birthday to me!

That was Friday, October 24. I’ve been in Chicago ever since.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do surgery on my actual birthday. Instead, all the girls came to my hospital room with presents, champagne, cupcakes, good tunes, and smiling faces and we managed to celebrate.

The next day I went in for surgery and all seemed well. I had minimal swelling, minimal bruising. Everyone seemed happy with my progress. The pain was excruciating the first few days but that’s what pain meds are for right?  Eventually they transferred me to their acute rehab center and I started to learn to walk again.

Unfortunately more drama lay ahead.

One night I awoke in excruciating pain, finding it difficult to breathe. When the pain didn’t go away they sent me back to the emergency room at Northwestern Hospital to figure out what was going on. Turns out my gallbladder was inflamed and infected.  Fearing my body wouldn’t be able to handle another surgery, the doctors installed a drain directly into my gallbladder instead.  And started me on antibiotics.

For days I was unable to eat. I felt so weak. We did more scans which further confirmed the presence of cancer in my liver, around my gallbladder, and intestines. It felt like the end. I could no longer gloss over how sick I truly was.  All of a sudden death didn’t feel so far away.

Thank God auntie Cole and auntie Laurie were here – to hold my hand, to listen to the doctors, to make plans,to distract me with episodes of sex and the city, to cry endless tears with me.

Thank God for my husband and my neighbors and my family who kept miss M’s life as normal as possible during this time.

Fortunately hubby and miss M managed to make it out here to Chicago for a couple of days. It’s so hard being away from them.  That visit restored all our spirits and gave me the extra oomph I needed to get stronger again.  With each passing day my stomach hurt less and less. I was able to eat more. I was able to get out of bed and walk again. But we all knew for the real healing to occur I needed to get back home to New England.

And the great news is that after days and days of back and forth with doctors, social workers, medical facilities, and  health insurance representatives, it looks like we finally are getting out of Chicago. Hooray!

Because of my condition, it is near impossible to get me home on a regular commercial flight. So my fabulous uncle Markie found a company called Angel Med Flight that will take me and two guests on a direct flight home with an EMT worker and a nurse and everything I might need medically to make it through the journey.

The unfortunate news, is that this flight costs over $14,000. But if my situation truly has become one of life or death I know I don’t want to spend whatever time I have left alone in a Chicago hospital. I need to be home with my family. Whatever the cost.

But if anyone out there would like to contribute towards the payment of this flight it would be greatly appreciated.  You can always donate through the PayPal link on the sidebar of this blog or contact my aunt Laurie ( l.oneil@comcast.net) to make other arrangements.

As it stands right now, I am set to leave on a jet plane tomorrow morning. They will transport me directly from the hospital via ambulance to the airplane. And then from the airport in Connecticut to a rehab facility in Mystic where I will stay until we figure out what’s next.

Ultimately, I would love to go back home again. To be in my house. With my daughter. My husband.  My dog. My DVR TV shows…  But I know I need to build up to that. Right now my body is still weak. My breathing is labored.  My tummy and gallbladder are still sensitive.  And my hip still needs a lot more healing too.

I will continue to take each day as it comes. To cry when I need to cry. To laugh as much as I possibly can. To spend time with those I love. To try not to get lost in the sadness and despair. To remember there is always hope.

My life is not over yet. But for a moment it sure felt like it was.

Love to all.  -T

dogdr m

First haircut post chemo - with the hilariously spicy Heidi French!

First haircut post chemo – with the hilariously spicy Heidi French!

Children's Museum Chicago

Children’s Museum Chicago