Today I turn 33.
I have had a bad feeling since I left to get my PET scans yesterday. It never went away. I called the Dr.'s office this morning and pulled the birthday card (do those exist?) and told them I just had to know the results today so I could relax.
They called me back all right. My Dr. is in India so his partner, a female with a beautiful voice kindly went over the results. "So...it looks like there are a number of places that show metastasis. This is a very different scan than any of your previous scans. We see cancer in the hips, the femur, a couple of places in the liver, a spot in the thigh, and maybe some possible places deep in the chest."
I thought when this news came I would say something eloquent, brave, or otherwise interesting. But no. "Oh...that...sucks." "I know, I'm so sorry I had to tell you over the phone, it's only because you requested." I asked if we needed to biopsy one of those 'spots' to see if it was for sure cancer. She said no, everything is consistent with cancer. I was worried that my surgeon was out of town, but basically, we are beyond surgery here. We need a systemic treatment that will work. Fast.
I spent a few hours in the hospital today getting a brain MRI (please leave my brain alone!). It was a pretty pathetic scene. My head was strapped still for 30 minutes. I was alone in a small tube with huge thoughts and loud noises. I soaked the pads they had on the sides of my head with tears. Half way through the scan the tech said through his microphone, "Are you doing okay?" "Yes." "Oh, and happy birthday! I just noticed that!"
The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays. I used to be strict about birthday parties. The kids understood they could only have a big friend birthday party when they turned 4, 8, 12, 16, and 18. The other years we could do something fun with a friend or two, or have a family party. Cancer changed that rule pretty quick. When we have a birthday, any age, we go big. Where every you want, with whomever you want. Luckily they don't have expensive tastes yet, and only invite boys so we don't really have to impress. Every year is a miracle and precious gift to be celebrated!
When I came home tonight the boys ran up to me (we had talked with them on the phone about the news) and with big smiles and hugs saying "Birthday! Birthday!!" They explained they couldn't say happy birthday, because it wasn't happy at all. I include a video from tonight. They wanted to sing the song without the happy.
I haven't taken my coat off all day because I have these nervous chills. I am hugely distracted and confused. I would be half way to California by now if I didn't have to get this all sorted out here. Is the sun shining somewhere? Is there a girl in a sundress on some beach collecting shells? Are her children digging motes and laughing in the background? Does she have an ugly mole sticking out on her back? Should we not warn her?