My Babies

I decided that I have to tell my kids before I tell anyone else.

Getting up the nerve to tell my babies is one of the hardest things I have had to do. I have had to share some bad news with them about people they loved but never anything like this about me. You see I am/was a teenage mother. I had my daughter, Tay, at age 16 and my son, Bubba, at age 18. Nope they weren’t planned. I have always told them that they are my unplanned gifts. Being a mother changed me as a person for the better I think. From the beginning it has always been the three of us. Even when I was briefly married it was still the three of us. The three Amigos!!!!

I just felt like I needed them to have the information before anyone else.heart break

Sunday I called Bubba first to ask what he was doing in the week. I told him I wanted to see him and have a meal. He agreed to meet with me because that boy likes to eat good food. Next I called Tay because she has a very busy schedule working in retail. I asked what day she was off work in the upcoming week. After talking with them both I arranged to have dinner with them on Tues 5/12/15.

Monday comes and I have to put on a brave face and buck up in order to make it through the work day. It’s very difficult because I don’t want to tell anyone about my diagnosis. However, I feel like all I am doing is crying. I barely make it through work Tuesday.

After work I met Bubba and we drove to Tay’s apartment. The entire time we just laughed and joked. I truly understand the saying that sometimes you have to laugh to stop from crying.

We made it to Tay and Kevin’s ( Tay’s boyfriend) apartment. She had prepared a very nice meal for us. We had a crazy time laughing and talking as usual. Then after we finished dinner I told them I had something important to tell them. I took a deep breath and I explained about the biopsy and my having cancer. There was a pause in time which felt like forever as I looked at them both. My heart broke into a gazillion pieces as I watched my babies cry. Hell I’m crying just typing this. My daughter is the Drama Queen of the bunch. I had envisioned her weeping and wailing as she rolled back and forth across the floor. Her eyeshadow would have run from the tears and she would look like “Raccoons R Us.”  Whereas in reality she actually handled herself pretty well, she just sobbed.

The boy is my emotional child but he has adapted the mask of men, to be tough and hard. But as his mommy I know he is a young man with deep feelings that he keeps locked away to himself. He stood there with red eyes as tears silently fell down his face. I did my best to comfort them both and reassure them to not be scared. I told them I planned on being around for many years to be a pain in their butts. I was grateful that my daughter’s boyfriend was there to comfort her during this time. My son left the apt and went for a walk to collect himself. Once we all stopped crying I asked if they had any questions. I tried to answer as best I could about the treatment plan and follow up. I kissed my babies and we gave our word to be better about being in contact with each other.

When I got back that evening I told the HB how things went with the kids. I told him I now felt that I had to tell my family and friends what was going on with my life. It was like I had verbal diarrhea…lol  So I composed a text message to send on Wednesday. I wanted it to be true to who I am and also informative. I truly thought of what I needed during this experience. Hence, Lynn’s cancer rules. Out of respect and relationships, I did call and speak to several people before I sent the message.

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CInco De Mayo Shenanigans

Fast forward to 5/5/15, Cinco De Mayo. No margaritas or guacamole for me. I had no idea what a biopsy entailed so I did what you would do…I Googled it. They will insert a device into my abdomen to collect a sample of the enlarged lymph nodes. I would remain conscious during the biopsy. I am not a small woman by any standard. I am 5’ 11” tall and I would describe myself as full figured or fluffy…LOL…. I am thinking you are going to push a device through ALL my fat layers?!! OUCH!!

Hospital gown pageant.

Hospital gown pageant.

I have to arrive for the biopsy 2 hours prior to my appointment for prep. Anyway we prep for the procedure and they explain what they will do to me. I will have local anesthesia. So I get to change into one of those designer luxurious blue hospital gowns. It has little blue checks all over it. The exclusive closures on the back are a complimentary blue, just to insure I don’t show my ass…literally. I slide into those ever soo glamourous paper hospital booties. No true hospital ensemble is complete without that crème de la crème paper hospital cap. Now I am in full regalia. It truly accentuates my eyes ..lol

Of course Hunny Bunny is there beside me the whole time. Once again it is early in the morning and he just got off work. He can sleep anywhere he remains still for just a few minutes. Sooooo… as we waited he dozed off. He began to snore like a hibernating bear in the room. The nurse came in and started my IV for the procedure. Finally they wheeled me back to begin the great journey 10, 0000 layers under my fat. They wheel me into the room where I am met by two doctors, a few nurses and what looks like an MRI machine. They once again ask if I know why I am there. I want to say,” Because I am the next contestant on The Price Is Right???!!!” Instead I reply to get an abdominal biopsy completed. The doctor tells me to relax and we will begin. I am thinking, Really Sir? Relax??!! Anyway they numb my stomach area and begin to insert the probe. I feel this crazy pressure on my stomach. It feels like I am being pumped full of air to the maximum. I bear through the discomfort. The doctor comes out of the control room and states to remain still. They need to ensure that they have enough of a sample to get a good reading. The biopsy is completed after they ensure they have enough of a sample to be tested. I am wheeled back to a room and begin to get dressed. Hunny Bunny comes in shortly and waits for me to finish dressing. We leave the hospital and return home.

I thought I could return to work the next day on WED. HA!!! boy was I fooling myself. I experienced cramps and convulsions like nobody’s business. They felt like small tremors in my abdomen. I contacted the doctor about the pains. She stated I was to remain off work until my appointment with the hematologist/ oncologist on Monday 5/11/15.

The Results Are In!!!!!

ICON+-+AppointmentsWhile at home resting I got a call on Thursday 5/7/15 asking me to come in for an appointment on Friday 5/8/15. So I am thinking ok this means that everything is fine. The Dr. sees no need to wait the whole weekend to give me the results. She just wants to tell me that it’s a bad case of something we don’t know but it’s not serious. I had a serious case of insomnia Thursday night.

Hunny Bunny (HB) got off work and came home to take me to the appointment. The apartments we live in are about 5-7 mins from the hospital. The whole time I am having internal dialogue that went like this: It’s nothing to worry about. The Dr. just doesn’t see a need to prolong the news of nothingness. I will just go back to work on Monday easy peasy lemon squeezy!

As we approached the traffic light to turn eft leading to the correct entrance, my dialogue changed. I could see the top of the building in which I had my appointment. It read: Helen F. Graham Cancer Center. I was going to the cancer center for test results. “Oh FUCK!!” That’s when I blurted out to the HB, “What if my results are positive what if I have cancer?!” Then I started balling like crazy. He took my hand and rubbed it to help calm me down. In the minute and a half it took us to get to the building I had calmed myself down again. Typically I am not the crying type. But when I or my children cry it is for a serious reason or I am angry as hell. So when it happens even I know it’s serious.

I got to the office and checked in with the staff. Then the nurse went through the usual steps of weight, temp and blood pressure. The nurse told us the Dr. would be right in. HB had a seat on a stool in the corner while I sat in the chair nearest the exam table. The Dr. came in with her same friendly open demeanor she had shown during my hospital stay. She sat down at her laptop on the counter and pulled up my chart. She stated, “The biopsy shows that you have a Gastro Intestinal Tumor (GIST) in your abdomen that’s what the enlarged lymph nodes are that we found on the MRI.” I sat there rather matter of factly and said Ok. The next thing I said was, “ So I don’t have cancer then?” Since she didn’t say the C-word I dwah-wah-wa-300x2001-400x250
on’t have it right??!!!!! She stated, “ Yes you do, a GIST is a low-level form of cancer.” And that boys and girls was when I couldn’t hear anything. It was as if Charlie brown’s teacher began talking to me. I felt like I was under water like when I was 7 yrs old and my brother and I were in the pool doing an apple turnover flip under the water. Everything was muffled and unclear. I heard “ treatment with pills”..Waaan Waan wah ..”possible surgery”..Waan Waan wah..”not sure about chemo”..Wann Waan wah.

 

So when she finished I remember sitting there and saying, “ So I do have” ..this part feels like a movie because I remember pausing before I said that horrid word… “CANCER?” And then the waterfall started. Next thing I knew HB was by side holding my shoulders and the Dr. came over and was rubbing my hand. I got myself together again. The Dr. informed me that the next step was a surgery consult and some more bloodwork. I left that building in a daze. I got in the truck and just began to cry. I was crying every 5 seconds. I cried because the wind was blowing, the songs on the radio were playing, the sun was shining, the road was bumpy, and I didn’t want to leave my kids and family, besides I had just found real GROWN UP love. But mainly and selfishly I WAS NOT READY TO DIE!!!!

I was finally able to stop my eyes from leaking constantly. After finishing a few errands we went to have sushi for lunch. You should know I LOOOVE sushi. But I just couldn’t get myself together. I remember saying to HB that I just needed time to wrap my brain around my new diagnosis. I explained that I was not ready to tell anybody anything yet. I could hardly prevent myself from choking on the word cancer. Cancer has such a negative reaction, it drains people it destroys families, it kills!!!

One of my favorite movies to watch with my daughter is Stepmom with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Julia is the hip much younger step mom. She has to step up to the plate and grow up because Susan has been diagnosed with cancer and will not be alive to see her children grow up. I cry uncontrollably every time Susan gives her children the special gifts she wants them to have in her memory . She gives the son a magician’s cape with pictures of the two of them from his birth to present times. She gives the daughter a quilt with photos of them together. I just boohoo because I could not imagine having to ever leave my babies as bravely as she did.

Once again I do what anyone with internet access would do ..I google G.I.S.T. I also look on the American Cancer Society website. Most of what I read explains what the disease is and possible treatments. Primary treatment is surgery first followed by medication and /or chemotherapy. I also click on the tab about stages and life expectancy. This is like reading a foreign language to me. Nothing makes a lot of sense to me. One website talked about a 5 year expectancy after diagnosis. I was very confused..is it saying I will only live for five years or live five years after treatment. I start to work myself up into a bit of a frenzy. I begin to cry as I read a few more boards. Then I recall a conversation I had with a friend of mine a few years ago. She said the message boards can be very helpful at times. However, there are also a lot of negative things shared on these boards. If you allow yourself to read theses boards you can become more frightened than you actually need to be. So with that thought in mind and the decision that those dam boards were not going to determine my lifespan. I would live waaaaaaay beyond 5 stinking years. I had things to accomplish and lots of love to give. And with that thought I logged off and closed my laptop down. They did not know Lynn Jones!!!!

As the weekend goes on I cry onto HB’s chest a few times as we talk about the diagnoses and treatments. I soaked a pillow case or two as well.  Should I have surgery or not? Do I go the natural method or other alternatives? What about taking medication? All I know for certain is that I am going to beat this disease.

The Poking and Prodding

poke-me-again-i-dare-youDuring my stay I saw a gastroenterologist first thing in the morning. I also saw a hematologist/oncologist, apparently my red blood cell count was low. A normal count is 12 , mine was 4. I was asked lots of questions , given pain meds and they took Drums and Drums of blood..grrr

I was to be discharged on Friday, 5/1/15, but before I could be released I had to have an iron infusion/transfusion. Most people get an hour long infusion. Mine was a four hour infusion. I was given discharged instructions to have a biopsy on my abdomen on Tues 5/5/15. I was to remain off work until then.

I remained optimistic because I try not to be a worrier. Besides no news was good news. RIGHT???!!!!!

My hospital stay was during the riots in Baltimore. There was a daily curfew imposed on the city. My television stayed tuned to CNN because that was the only way to get the news in Delaware. This you must understand, my mother does not play about any of her children and grandchildren. She is a true GG = Gangster Granny. So here goes.. I am laying in my hospital bed around 10:45pm about to go to sleep and who pops into my room ??!! My momma that’s who!! I was beyond surprised because not only did she break the city’s curfew to Drive from Balto to Del but she does NOT have a car!!!!! So she rented a car to break out of the city. This woman told me that not hell and dam sure not a curfew would keep her from seeing her baby. I am the oldest and only girl out of six. So I asked, “ What are you going to do until you can return to the city at 5am?” In true Mommy fashion she says, “Oh I am going to Delaware Park Casino and gamble then I will sleep in the car until I can get on the road.” Of course she was going to the casino!!! I was just a mere rest stop on her way to her true destination..LOL   But as a mother I totally understood that instinct to see your injured cub. My Momma is one of a kind. If you ever met her by the end of the encounter you would agree. She is crazy as hell, but there is no doubt that she loves her children .It may be unorthodox at times but there is NO doubt.

mother love

The Beginning

StartHereLogoOn a cold blistery night. ..lol..no seriously…..

On Sunday, 4/26/15, I ate a quick lunch of turkey sausage and French fries. About an hour after finishing my meal my stomach started to ache. I was bloated to the max like a beached whale and a baby elephant combined. I had a bit of nausea too. As the evening went on the pain became more unbearable. So I did what a good person with technology would do. I went to WEB MD to diagnose myself. Lol

According to my medical expertise aka the symptom checklist. I had gastritis…check

So I went on to the next step: Treatment

I then went to my other encyclopedia of relevant information: PINTEREST

I found several home remedies for gas/abdominal pain. So being the good Pinterest follower that I am I began my plan of self -healing implementation.

HOME REMEDIES

First, I always look for remedies that are natural and are items that I have on hand already.

baking_soda

First attempt: baking soda and water. Took that in a glass and waited a few hours. Result: Nothing

braggs

Second attempt: apple cider vinegar and water. I had BRAGGS Apple Cider Vinegar on hand so I knew it was the good stuff. Nasty ass vinegar water. YUCK!!! I waited a few hours more. Result: I had minimal relief.

Then I went back to the Drawing board. I had an important meeting at work on Monday that I HAD to attend. So I needed something to settle all these guts. I went back to my most reliable resource, PINTEREST.

Health-Benefits-of-Fennel-Seeds

I found a final remedy: It called for chewing on whole fennel seeds. According to the post it helped release the natural oils in the seeds that would help relieve gas. So I went to the cupboard found the fennel and a teaspoon and began to chew. When I say this was some of the nastiest Shit I ever tasted!! I truly do mean that . But I was willing to do anything for some relief. So chew, chew, and chew I did. Then washed it down with some water. I would have preferred straight castor oil to this Result: I felt pretty good Monday morning, but my stomach remained queasy.

I then got myself ready for work the next day

I made it through the important meeting but left work half day immediately afterwards.

I took off work sick Tuesday and slept all day. That’s how I know I am really sick, when I sleep the day away. Usually I am the type of woman who has a free moment and has to do something with it. I am sure someone can relate to that. Anyway, I got ready for work Wednesday morning. But I still felt queasy. I decided I was going to Walgreens to get some GAS- X to take care of this once and for all. So I Drove to Walgreens at 6:45 am and waited for them to open.

While I was in the parking lot I was on the phone with my paramour*. (I just love the brazenness of that word.) I told him my plan was to get some GAS-X and if I didn’t feel better I would go to Patient First on my lunch break. He stated that he thought I should go to the hospital, because if I was sick he would have to travel to Baltimore to pick me up. So reluctantly, and I do mean reluctantly, I called out of work and headed over to Christiana ER.

I will spare you the whole ER experience you already know the Drill: fill this out-answer these same questions 7,000 times- wait here- get vitals- ponder if you are really sick enough to HAVE to come to the ER- wait..wait ..wait and wait.

The paramour finally gets off work at 9 am and joins me, still waiting in the ER waiting area. Finally I get called back and put in a room. The nurse informs me that they want to do an ultrasound. Based on my symptoms it could possibly be my gall bladder. After the ultrasound the nurse returns to explain that they saw some enlargements in my abdomen and want to do a HBI for better imaging. During this time the paramour is falling asleep because he has been up all night at work and came straight to the ER to be with me. He is sitting in the hospital chair with his head rolling around like a ragdoll. One time I thought his neck would snap. So after I had a few laughs at his expense (because I am that person that can’t resist a good laugh) I decided to offer a solution. So I suggested he climb up in the hospital bed with me to get comfy and catch 40 winks. He got into the bed with me and fell asleep. Then I took a pic of us. The flash woke him up..lolHB1 Look at his eyes!!!! LOL

The doctors finally come in they said it was not my gallbladder. They went on to explain that I had enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen. I was given two options: 1) I could follow up outpatient later in the week OR 2) I could be admitted overnight for observation and management of my pain. That would also allow me to see a gastrointestinal specialist in the morning. Which would expedite my case. Soooo after consulting with the paramour, I was admitted to the hospital.

* Merriam‑Webster defines

paramour.  noun par·amour \ˈpa-rə-ˌmu̇r\ : a person with whom someone is having a romantic or sexual relationship and especially a secret or improper relationship.

Rules for fools

So allow me to explain the reason for Lynn’s cancer rules. I needed my sanity and my emotions in working order. Here comes cancer’s ass sashaying into my life trying to disrupt my regularly scheduled program. The slap-cartoon-comic-style-hand-slapping-comic-style-lettering-40554598warm weather was about to begin. I had concerts and festivals to attend, new territory to explore and just general summertime madness. Like the national holiday that is my month-long birthday celebration in June. Nope this would not do!!!

I have only known a few people that have experienced cancer first hand. I just recall the constant sadness and melancholy (pronounced like in Megamind) they seemed to exhibit. No smiles anymore and no laughter. Just a heavy fog that never seemed to lift. I really thought about who I was and what that meant to me. I am typically sarcastic, funny, upbeat and an adventurer. I thought how could I allow cancer to take those things from me. To give up all my power to a measly 6 letter word. I decided when the doctor gave me my diagnosis that I was going to fight. Just like a world class champion boxer I needed to be surrounded by only the best people that believed in me.

I also knew my circle of friends and family. They are strong willed and opinionated, kinda like me. I knew I had to give the parameters to operate within or else they would set them. And that just wasn’t gonna happen. . So I decided I didn’t want a pity party. I did not want to drown in a tsunami of salty sorrow filled ass tears. Keep that shit for another day. I needed you to treat me the exact same way you did 5 mins ago before I hit the send button on that text message. I just needed you to say an extra prayer for me or send a positive vibe into the universe. I had no intention of becoming Sad Sally, Debbie Downer or Eeyore Ethel. I needed positive energy around to support me in the fight of my life.

I have always tried to live my life from the saying “to thine own self be true”. Let’s face it if you can lie to yourself and believe it , then you can lie for any reason and to anyone. Right here and now was a true test of that. Look if you and I did not have a relationship, talk, or were not involved in each other’s lives, I wasn’t going to mend broken fences just because I now had cancer. If you weren’t a part of my life before I got diagnosed I did not want or need you as a part of it afterwards. Some said oh you shouldn’t be like that. That’s not a nice attitude. Hell if I am being true to me this was my attitude. And being true to me is all that matters, especially now. Besides who the hell wants people around that you don’t really care about. That’s like someone you haven’t spoken to since for-nevuary (forever) coming to your funeral.

I envisioned having Big C (cancer) by neck with both hands and choking as hard as I could. Squeezing so hard my fingers start to feel numb. Big C’s eyes bulge, turn red and water profusely. I take my right hand off the neck and start slapping her. I am bringing smacks all the way from Alabama (some seriously hard slapping). Slapping about the face and head, back and forth several times. Each slap resulting in a violent head turn. Then Big C falls to her knees with bloody lips, looks up at me and begs me to stop. I look at her and say, “Well say it!! Say it damn it!!!!” Big C looks down and mutters something. I say, “I can NOT hear you!!” As I raise my hand to administer another slap. Big C looks at me and tearfully says “ I AM Lynn Jones’ Beeyotch!!!” I say, “ You better believe it.” I give one last look at Big C crumpled on the ground, pathetic and sobbing.

I walk away knowing we are only beginning this thing.

BEEEEYOTCH!!!!!!

Special

Just so you really understand the madness into which I was born, let me share this with you.

The following is a text response I received from my cousin regarding my cancer rules. She replied to the group text I sent to my aunts (5) and first cousins (7). Out of my aunts only 1 is computer/phone saavy. Which makes the hashtags even funnier.  I literally cried with laughter reading it. This is just a wee small piece of the crazy that I have in my family. Her text is random, all over the place and a perfectly funny reply. That’s why I love those nuts sooo much. No matter what you are going through somebody always makes you laugh. Yes even at funerals.

 

1)I don’t like rules and I break them more times than others!

2) Wtf you think you telling not to send you no damn emojis I’m my own boss, and I thought you were a girl but I could be wrong 😂😂😂😂

3)I’ll know what to say and that’s have you ever been to Hawaii because I’m considering going and just needed to know how it was and I completely agree that your life is golden because your like 50 ijs.

4)hey everybody

5) You lil stupid a $$ bish I ain’t fucking with youuuu. I like that song.

6) I support you 100% and if you tryna get fugged up I know a guy who knows a guy

7)I love you too but call me crazy again and that’s your ass.

8) I’m glad your choosing to cope instead of dope that’s just not a good choice.

9) you are probably doing 1 or 2 things cursing me out or laughing your ass off!!!

#fukcancer #familyfirst #firstcousins

#allyourauntsprobablymadaboutthislongasstexttho.

Lmao I love you

 

My family is sooooo special

 

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