I’m really really very scared.

Surgery! To remove my Lymph node? In three days!?!

It scares the crap out of me.

I missed the conversation with my surgeon about it because I slept through it. Nothing fancy, like I was in the middle of a poop-a-thon (no that was the reason I missed another appointment – well sort of), or a cute man came to my doorstep and well fell madly in love, curing my cancer and everything else that was wrong with my life (as if real life ever follows the plots of made for TV romance movies).

No: I missed the appointment because I slept in (till 1:00 pm), and woke up to the sounds of the phone ringing me fitting into my dream. By the time I woke up, he had hung up.

I could have immediately phoned back, but I felt so low and hopeless that emotionally all I could do was cuddle up deeper in my blankets and try to go back to sleep. When that didn’t work, I watched youtube on my phone.

Emotionally, missing that appointment and other things hung over my head all weekend, bringing about daily tears and worries my surgeon will take it out on me by telling me off or (worse) doing my surgery badly on purpose.

I worry I’m strong enough to phone my surgeon’s secretary on Monday and tell her I’m really sorry and can I have another phone appointment to discuss my surgery.

I’m so afraid:

I’m afraid to call my surgeon’s secretary and tell her why I missed the appointment. I’m afraid to not call the secretary. I’m afraid of the surgery. I’m afraid of life after the surgery.

I’m just plain afraid.

And I don’t know what to do.

I wish I had somebody to just take over my life and say “don’t worry, I’ll take care of all of it”, but I don’t.

I have family that will drop me off in the morning to have my surgery, and pick me up at the end of the work day after my surgery, expecting me to wait around, in pain, and for hours after the surgery in the cafeteria of a hospital that is in one of the worst areas of my nearest city. (I live in a small town 45 minutes outside of the nearest city.)

I’m hoping I can arrange with the cancer clinic to stay at one of their “out of town” lodges for the afternoon after my surgery. Maybe this way I can get a bed, and not have to sit in an uncomfortable chair while I’m to “impaired” up to drive.

I’m afraid I won’t have groceries or other things I need after my surgery. I’m afraid I’ll be expected to be fully recovered just a week after my surgery, because so far only my mother believes how sick I am and how much I’m in pain with the cancer tumour that is on my lymph node right now and she lives with me. Instead I have family that tell me “I’m not walking enough”, and “not getting better fast enough” (from my first cancer).

Can I even live without a lymph node? Will I have to take medicine to replace what the lymph node does? Won’t a missing lymph node damage my immune system, making it easier to get covid and every other virus under the sun?

Will this misstep with missing the surgeon’s phone call irreparably damage my relationship with my surgeon? What about with my two oncologists? Doctor’s do talk to each other about shared patients. Don’t they?

And… That’s not my only worry. One of the eavestroughs of the house partially detached itself from the roof. I don’t know how I’m going to get that fixed and recover from surgery at the same time.

Will the cancer come back a third time? This is my second cancer in a year. I thought I had dealt with cancer and getting treatment and it was all over… And then this lymph node cancer comes up. What if a third comes in another 6 months? I already had more radiation (for that area) than I can ever have in my life time. That’s why they are removing this cancer and not treating it with radiation. Chemotherapy won’t work either, because all though I can have more chemotherapy having more for this type of cancer is not effective. (Yes I had chemotherapy and radiation at the same time.)

So what if a third cancer comes? With radiation, chemotherapy and surgery all being options tried and failed, what else will happen? Will they just tell me to go home because I’m dying?

Who will be there for my mother in her old age if that happens?

I wish my father was here for all this, but he died a year ago. The day after my surgery will be exactly 1 year after his death.

What are the chances? My father dies, and then I’m diagnosed with cancer just a few months later?

When my father was dying, my brother visited constantly. With my being really sick, we hardly see him. I’m afraid to piss him off by talking to him about it because I don’t want him to get mad and not drive me to my surgery. He already refuses to get groceries for us or drive me to appointments.

And that’s my life right now. It sucks. Well I haven’t even dealt with the poop-a-thons or the pain that consumes many days even though I am on pain killers. Maybe in other blog posts I’ll deal with those. Maybe not. (Note: 2 months later I did write about poop-a-thons. If your interested check out #10 in This post titled: 10 Things that demonstrate how Ugly Cancer Sometimes is.)


Thank you for reading this blog. Since this post was made, I created another blog to help me deal with my cancer, because cancer and the ICU are two different health problems.

Although I will one day post more on this blog, and finish the story of my ICU experience, at this time I am writing more on my other blog, My Health My Blog.

This link will take you to it.

Again thank you very much for reading my blog. If you like what you read, please share it and / or subscribe?

Children, Doctors and Consent

As I’ve said before, my time in the ICU was not my only time in the hospital. I was born sick and was a sick child, who had many surgeries.

This one is not going to be about the ICU. It’s going to be about the time I spent in the hospital after my major surgery when I was a toddler.

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“Rain rain go away, come again another day”, I sang out to a doctor as I slid under my bed.

He commanded me to come out, but I refused.

He wasn’t even my doctor. I didn’t even know him, but he wanted to learn from me, and I refused. I would not come out and my mother refused to make me.

Instead she responded by saying “she may not be 3 yet, but she has a right to say ‘no’”, and told him to go.

As a hospital staff member, you might be reading this thinking I was a brat. As my mother was telling me this, she laughed thinking how cute I was.

I’m not a brat, and I never was a brat.

Before you judge a sick child’s brattiness, consider what it is like to be a sick child, and what you want that child (all children), to know about their own bodies, an boundary’s.

I was almost three, small for my age, and in my own way saying “no, I don’t want you to touch me right there, right now”, and I had a perfect right to do so.

I understood I was sick, and that I had been sick all my life. At almost three, I was a medical veteran, who had more medical procedures, surgeries, medications, doctor’s visits, sick sleepless nights, and pain than most adults have ever had in their lifetimes.

At that time I was saying to a stranger “no, not now, you can not touch me”.

My mother was making people respect my right to say “no”, and to have control over my own body. My body wasn’t a learning tool for some resident who wasn’t even part of my surgery team to look at, prod and learn from. I wasn’t a textbook, or stethoscope. I was a developing child, whose mother recognized was learning about how to be a person and eventually an adult from that moment. She was allowing me the privilege of saying “no, you can’t touch me”. And she was absolutely right.

It doesn’t matter than she was inconveniencing and even angering medical staff. They are adults. They’ve already learned their bodies were their own, and about consent. They weren’t being asked to be touched, and examined and have medical gowns pulled away to expose bare skin. They were not the ones in their formative years.

My mother was teaching me what consent was and that saying “no” to being touched is ok.

Maybe thinking about consent with a toddler is, uncomfortable to think about, but sick toddlers grow up to be adults, and if those children have learned as toddlers that they don’t have a right to say “no”, and that they can be touched when ever and where ever a stranger wants to touch them, and that they are “brats”, if they don’t concent, how are they going to apply that when they are adults?

If your a child who has already been told your consent doesn’t matter, how will you respond to a pedophile?

If you’re a teen who has learned as child that you can’t say “no”, how is that going to affect sexual exploration?

If you are an adult, who has already learned, that you don’t have control over your own body, how is that going to affect your ability to distinguish abuse from normal adult relationships?

Children are growing, learning and understanding the world around them. They are not little science experiments, or textbooks. They are not work places.

They are people, who deserve the right to grow up, in control of their own bodies. Do not break their spirits in an attempt to fix their bodies, or worse, learn from their bodies.

If you work with children, in a hospital or medical setting, remember that. Please see your child patients as developing and learning from everything you do, and ask yourself “what you do want them to learn from you?”.

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