So under the heading of “embarrassing things that happen when you have cancer” allow me to share a humiliating experience that still makes me giggle every time I think about it.
If you’re not close to anyone who has cancer, you may not realize that there are some cancers that are really aggressive and require immediate treatment the second you discover them, and some that are slower moving.
These are often just as dangerous when they progress, but things like dietary changes, vitamin super-doses and various drugs may alleviate the symptoms long enough for you to go through a rigorous testing process.
They look at your blood and poke you with a zillion needles.
Seriously I think that’s where the number “zillion” comes from.
So on my way to cancer treatment, I have had to have not one, but three biopsies. The first one was very kind and empathic, and done by my oncologist in her office, a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. Parts of it were painful as fuck.
And that’s coming from someone who lives with moderate to incredible pain every single day.
The last one is on my lung and hasn’t been done yet. (How angry I am that this keeps getting rescheduled due to insurance fuck-ups is another post I’m not calm enough to write yet.)
The second is the fun one we’re talking about, what I told was a biopsy on the lymph nodes in my abdomen, to check if they were aggressive enough to pre-emptively treat me for Richter syndrome.
It was done at Doctor’s Community Hospital, the same one where I was admitted to for about a month for severe bacterial pneumonia back in 2012. Two days prior to this biopsy, I had a mediport installed. It was a very smooth experience, so I was expecting the same from this one.
At first, it was quite smooth. They called me to get into the hospital gown, sit in the bed, answer a million check up questions. Then they gave me some calming drugs and wheeled me down the hall for the CT scan.
So I expected we were going to another room to do the biopsy on my abdomen.
I was wrong.
To start this operation off, some dude I hadn’t met before came in while the doctor was uncovering my vajayjay.
Now, when they said ABDOMEN, nothing in my brain said SHAVE DOWN YOUR 1970s BUSH. (The guy I’m dating likes to know he’s with a grown-up woman, and is into bushiness. Groomed bush but bush it was.)
So when this new technician type guy sauntered in, I was slightly horrified.
He was at least 15 years my junior. So when he looked down at my pubic area with his head tilted in where-they-do-that-at confusion, I fully understood that I was an anomaly among the plethora of shaved vajizzles he had surely observed at his age. How to shave pubic hair has really, really changed over this laster quarter century.
What I expected to happen next was, hey, if they’re going to stick needles down that low, someone is about to shave me. Maybe that’s why they need this guy since clearly you don’t need more than a nurse and a surgeon to do this here thing.
I clearly need to learn to stop expecting things.
The next sound I heard was of a loooooooong piece of medical tape being drawn out and cut. Then I heard the doctor say, “tape it back.”
As a fluffy girl, I wasn’t really sure what was getting taped back in this scenario. I figured, my belly fat. But what would he tape that to if it was in the way? And why did he need that much tape.
Because logically, he was going to tape it to my boob and my forehead. I shitteth thee not.
Yes. Here I am, halfway into a CT scanner, with a nurse beside the left side of my head jabbering something, a surgeon at my abdomen pointing in my bush-al area, and a young buck with a full beard and no mustache(!!) stretching a huge piece of tape across my body, first affixing one end to my FUPA, hoisting it back (HOISTING! YOU’RE FATTER THAN ME ASSHOLE. DON’T HOIST MY SHIT.) then tapping it on the upper part of my left breast so it would stick there as well, and THEN sticking the other end firmly to my forehead.
With kind of a little smack. Because I’m not like, a person or anything.
I cannot tell you how much fun this was.
While I was still getting over the fact that my Ill NaNa was experiencing such a curious audience, the nurse was grabbing my hand. Bitch we ain’t friends, I’m thinking to myself.
She mumbled something, so I turned to her, to say, with my medicinally loosened lips BITCH WE ARE NOT FRIENDS LET GO OF ME.
When suddenly my mouth instead said “WHAT THE FUUUU-UUUU-UCK???!!” As loudly as my voice goes without yelling.
As the doctor stuck a friendly neighborhood needle in an area right up above my princess parts.
To say I was displeased with the lack of warning would be a dictionary-worthy example of the word “understatement”.
I figured, hey, it can’t possibly get worse than this. And this nurse is now filling me with super-ass drugs. I’m starting to like this heifer- that’s how strong these drugs are. I let her hold my hand and chilled out while they poked however-many-feet of needle up in me.
After a few minutes, I figured they were going to change sides. Because they proceeded to get a ridiculous amount of medical tape, twine, cotton balls and other props out of …. some kind of tiny ass bag based on clown-car technology.
But in the meantime I’m really getting into this drug they have pumping in me. I’m no longer just not anxious. I want to sing and maybe hit on this young guy. I mean he’s already had the preview. He might as well enjoy the main event, right?
Even bushily I present pretty well cared-for lady parts.
It was around this time that I noticed that all this tape and cotton and roller pins and fairy dust and gauze was wrapped not only around the incision, but all the way across my fat fold from right to left.
And they seemed to have painstakingly affixed it to every single tiny stray hair on my woman area on their way across.
Of course the surgeon was gone, and I was slurring my words so the nurse didn’t understand that I was asking them how in the hell they expected me to rip and/or cut this fucking monstrosity of nonsense off in two days.
Long story short, it hurt like a bitch.
Just another day in the cancer hood.