Poison or a firing squad?
No cell service or a dead cell phone battery?
A shoebox apartment in the city near work with astronomical rent prices or room to stretch out with an hour-long commute?
An inescapable bad date or no date?
Choosing between the lesser of two “evils” – never a fun task! And truly, how often is the choice really something we get to actually make, instead of the decision being out of our hands but ours to bear regardless?
…well, I guess we can decide to stay holed up in our tiny little apartment, refusing to take chances on meeting new people for fear of encountering whiny, un(der)educated, hyper-sensitive, self-obsessed, unemployed individuals who freak out when you use the word “friend” instead of being instantly “in love” and fully committed to romantic attachments within 12 hours of making their acquaintance, but I digress…
What I’m talking about are the real-life situations we’re presented with, where neither outcome is a bed of roses, and the choice is unfortunately not yours to make.
Resolution-making aside, ‘January’s are traditionally difficult in my line of work; this has been a particularly rough one. I’ve been battling several different illnesses since the 2nd day of 2017, which makes things challenging: a quick bout of laryngitis, followed by a sinus infection with the grip hold of the Kraken! I feel as if I’ve been walking around with my head under water for two weeks! The sweet aroma of new beginnings does not fill my nasal passages – cotton packing coated with rubber cement does! But I’ve been through wicked infections before, and survived. Even with mangled sinus cavities, narrowed by scar tissue from a previous surgery, I’ve come out the other side still intact. This week, though, it was as if every force in nature wanted to see me flat on my tookus!
So I can’t breathe properly; so what of it? Been there, done that! So I have to work 12-hour days while not being able to breathe properly – you’re talking to the girl who worked half-days while going through radiation treatment (disclaimer: NOT recommended!! I was incredibly foolish, and harbored way too much self-imposed obligation)! Bring. It. On. So when the doctor’s office calls in the middle of the day to tell you that what should have been routine laboratory blood tests came back dangerously abnormal, I should be able to keep it together, right? You bet your sweet cherry cheesecake I did! For a whole day and a half, I put on the BEST performance of my life!
That fateful day, I was instructed to go back to the lab after work, and have another test done, to verify the results of the initial “abnormal” reading. THREE blood draws later ended in THREE confirmations of the “abnormal” results. Completely stunned and suffering from a severe sucker-punch to the gut, I somehow managed to fumble my way from the lab facility to the market, blindly to the pharmacy, then home to cook dinner for the household. Eating was by rote, and I recall retiring early that evening – I felt like there was nothing more I could do; any effort otherwise would result in further damage of some sort!
The next day, I casually played the role of “hey, it’s me”, while burdened with strict “dos” and “don’ts” from the doctor, wanting desperately to scream, cry, and drown my fears and frustrations in Cake Batter frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles (don’t judge)! Instead, payrolls were processed, tax forms were prepared, payments were received, and invoices were issued, all without anyone being the wiser. All while inside I was frantic to know why my body was suddenly short-circuiting!
Finally, Doctor-Visit-Day! Things that morning were still pear-shaped, which baffled the doctors (yes, now more than one doctor was on-board with the treatment protocol) and led to heightened anxiety. Before cozying my toosh in the clinical environment, though, I had to be “hey, it’s me” for a few hours, and as if the Kraken sinus infection wasn’t enough to deal with, the client engagement I had that morning decided to throw me a curve ball – a nationally-recognized personnel firm making a Grand Canyon-sized mistake on the financial documents of the company’s two owners! Really? Today?! Gaw!!
Can you say “PANIC ATTACK”? I knew you could!
Anyway, off to the doc’s…
After a long discussion (and I admit, a few tears shed in the solitude of the doctor’s office), we’ve come to the conclusion that the most viable reasons for such rapid changes and rare abnormalities are these: either my pancreas has decided to call it quits (or has been harvested by aliens while I was sleeping…) or the resident “big bully booger” (aka brain tumor I’ve been hosting rent-free since 2008) has finally awakened from its slumber to wreak havoc on my endocrine system. So which is the better option? Ummm, neither, thank you very much!
Look, I can live with knowing I have an inoperable growth inside my head. Heck, I’ve been doing that for over 8 years now! Sure, it’s a crazy thing to say: I have a brain tumor. But, I know that I’m one of the lucky ones! My tumor is non-malignant, and slow-growing. Sure, it comes with side effects: headaches, constant ringing in my ears, GH deficiency, thyroid issues, and the inability to regulate body temperature to name a few, but these are minor inconveniences once you get used to them. However, if the tumor is growing, that can be an issue! It’s precariously close to the optic nerves, and maniacally embracing the internal carotid artery (thus the reason it’s deemed “inoperable”). Additional growth is not a good thing! Blindness is not a good thing; artery strangulation is not a good thing…
On the flip side, I’m not in the mood to have yet another system in my body go caput! I don’t know too much about pancreatic function, but I’m starting to get the impression that it’s pretty darned important (and maybe a little fickle, or maybe that’s just me)! Two of my doctors consulted and decided to do a severe change-up with my medications, STAT! I’m still supposed to adhere to strict “dos” and “don’ts” until more information has been gathered about the status of the tumor (MRI has already been performed; just waiting on report now), and begin living as if my pancreas is on hiatus…
I don’t get to choose firing squad or poison. My choice, however, is to keep on keeping on, despite the diagnosis
– in spite of the diagnosis!
UPDATE: MRI results – tumor is stable! Yay! So, now it’s off to investigate who authorized the vacation request for my pancreas, and check every possible travel manifest between the vocal chords, the left big toe, and Tahiti to figure out where that darned thing took off to! I need it back at its post, up and functioning properly – STAT!
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