Thursday, May 31, 2012

Post Endo appointment

So, updates. I met with a really lovely and kind endocrinologist who will be my 'cancer watcher' for the next 10 years. I have to have an ultrasound of my neck to take a look at the lymph nodes and see if any warrant concern before we have surgery. I'm going to meet with the surgeon I chose who comes very highly recommended as a skilled, fun person (yay!). I'm working to schedule my surgery for after the births I have coming up, so mid July.

After surgery I'll be probably pretty low key for a month and then I'll have radiation. I have to be at least arm's length away from other people for 72 hours - I'm thinking nice hotel room with room service - and then I have a full body scan to make sure the cancer isn't setting up shop in my bones, lungs or brain (bad news). After that's all clear, I'm considered 'in remission' and after 10 years of remission, I'm cured. :)

Thanks today to my friends who hung out with Eidie and got her dropped off with a saucy attitude and totally happy. :)

I'm not sure I'll be going to Uganda. I'm not ready to really think about it, but at some point I need to just consider that rebounding might not be instant like I'm imagining it will be, and I could still be pretty whacked out from thyroid replacement balancing at that time. So we'll have to see.

About my provider- he was so kind without being sappy, he didn't do that irritating 'I'm the doctor so I know what you're going to say and will answer before you finish asking your question' or, 'I'm too busy for this.' He just listened, looked me right in the eye, laughed at our terrible jokes, didn't talk down to me or over my head, referred us to additional resources, was very supportive, knew about modern treatments- I'll keep him. :)

I'll have to go to Seattle for the ultrasound, to meet with the surgeon, and for the surgery itself. 

All in all, a good day. I don't love that I have to really think hard about my commitments this summer and the idea of letting go of the Uganda trip is just not something I'm ready to put a lot of thought into until after we talk with the surgeon and can establish the timelines a little better.

For now, I'm looking to do nothing until after my two mamas have their babies, and then we'll just rock the treatment schedule around my trip to the Redwoods (which I am taking, whether I have a hole in my neck or glow in the dark or WHATEVER - I'm going), and then shooting to be able to go to Uganda. We'll see.

Appointment today

It's a relief to have this appointment today. Not because I have any super pressing questions, or am worried, but just because I want to get this show on the road. Let's start talking about surgery dates!

Here is the list of questions that Randy and I came up with. I really understand what the treatment cycle is going to be so there aren't a lot of questions here, really. I'll sum up the treatment cycle (assuming of course that all is well and the cancer hasn't spread anywhere outside my lymph nodes, but we're not talking about that, because it's SO unlikely).

First, I will go on drugs that will suppress my thyroid function. The pituitary gland releases TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and this hormone tells my thyroid to "kick in". We suppress the TSH because when the thyroid kicks in, essentially it is feeding the cancer by doing what it is supposed to do.

Second, I'll have a complete thyroidectomy, removal of my entire thyroid gland (except my parathyroid which is important to keep but I don't know the anatomy well enough to talk to you about this). The recurrence rate of cancer is high enough if you leave thyroid behind that I want the whole thing out. If we're going to cut, let's make it worthwhile. They will also remove a few of my lymph nodes to see if the cancer has moved there. If it has, it won't really change my treatment - or my prognosis. It's just important to know.

Third, I will have a radioactive iodine treatment. This will kill off any of the remaining thyroid bits that are left behind after the surgery (it's not like lifting out a heart, it's a very spongy bunch of cells) and also kill off cancer left in the lymph nodes as well. This is where my treatment would vary if I had cancer my lymph nodes- it would be an increase in the amount of radiation I had to have. Depending on the amount I need, I may have to stay in the hospital because I'll be giving off radiation for a few days (!!!holyshitballs!!!!).

Last, after I am cancer free, I will be monitored by the endocrinologist for 10 years. Once I reach that time, I am considered 'cured' of cancer. I will be on thyroid replacement drugs for the rest of my life.

Here are our questions, feel free to add yours. The appointment is in about 5 hours!

  1. What is the timeline for the treatment? How long in between phases?
  2. Will you be my endo forever? How often are we going to hang out?
  3. Surgery questions:
    1. Can the surgery be timed? I'm a busy woman with people who are counting on me. Mid-July would be awesome.
    2. Who will do the surgery, the endocrinologist or someone else (sometimes the endo is a surgeon)?
    3. Where will I have surgery, preferably not in Seattle (because of distance from my support system)?
    4. How long will I be in the hospital? 
    5. How will I feel afterward?
    6. How long will I be restricted?
    7. When can I work?
    8. Complications?
  4. Radiation questions
    1. How soon after surgery do we do this?
    2. Pills or drink?
    3. Dosage depends on lymphs so what will I experience either way?
    4. TSH suppression with or without drugs?
    5. Risk of radiation treatment/risk of not having it
    6. Increased risk of leukemia- by how much?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

These are not the ____ you're looking for.

In my case, not the 'words' I'm looking for.

I've been struggling to wrap my mind around this cancer situation and how I feel about it. As I've documented, I go back and forth, struggling to feel that this is worthy of my worry and fears and concerns and sadness, goddess forbid, anyone's attention or sympathies!

A dear friend wrote me this morning, hearing my plight and gave me the correct word- a word that accurately labels the situation in a way that does not need justification or does not warrant compare. Crisis. This is a crisis for me, and in some ways it is small, and in other ways it is big, and it doesn't need to be any one thing, to be a crisis.

That feels like just the right word, and as I keep saying it over and over in my mind I feel such a sense of deep relief - I can accept the sympathies of my friends, I can accept the fears and worries from them too, and best of all, I don't have to justify or minimize my own.

So here it is.

Every time I think about myself accepting that I have cancer, that moment when it no longer feels like I'm talking about myself but that it feels very real that I'm talking about ME having cancer, I can only see myself losing my shit to such epic proportions that I must be sedated, strapped down, in the ER. I'm pretty sure that in my hysteria I will have scratched my throat to pieces because that is where this invader lives in my body.

Let me not forget to BLESS with GRATITUDE my thyroid that has been functioning so well for me all this time with cancer growing with in it- I have never had a problem with my thyroid function and I just want to send some love to this organ that is so resilient that it gives me its best every single day, despite being crowded and invaded. I don't think I've thought to send love to my body through this- I've only been terribly bewildered.

I don't hate the cancer, it just is what it is. I just want it out. Good for you for being cancer, and get the hell out of me.

While I'm stumbling around in the wilderness that is cancer, my compass is broken and I'm trying to remember what Survivorman said about the moss on the trees and which way is North, a friend just pointed out a really major reference point on the landscape and I can start to orient myself again. Thank you, Kelly. xoxo

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why blog, anyway?

Why document it, write it down- process it out loud, with an audience? Why do people want to read it, bear witness and hold the story?

We are so far away from each other, you and I. I read your notes on Facebook, so carefully worded and filled to bursting with your love for me. But the miles, or obligations, or the fact that we've never actually met in person, keep us apart.

Our words make a little window - your words reveal your heart, how I've touched you or changed you or enriched you, and mine reveal culmination of my enrichment from all of you, who are so far away, and allow you to tenderly touch this thing that is happening to me.

You are so patient with me while I struggle to decide what to say - the demons of, "Don't be so negative, no one wants to hear you complain!" and the confusion of wanting to create an accurate landscape in an inner world that seems to change within me, moment to moment. You are my anchor, my friends, my loves, my family, my Family - you anchor me here.

The many years you have all assured me that I am just right, right now. I am perfect in this moment, and right in the exact moment of the journey where I should be. That this is perfection, even though it looks like a big mess.

The distances make the words even richer, and mean even more, because often it's the only gift to give. I am so, so grateful for everyone, and every one. :)

Thank you for reflecting me in this world, the big love that creates us all, and holds us together. :)

You have to. Because I have cancer.

One of the bonuses of cancer (and a bold personality) is that I leverage that whenever possible. These situations may or may not have actually occurred...

I'm hungry. Bring me a steak, because I have cancer.
Please get up and go to the fridge and grab my drink for me. You have to, I have cancer.
I need to sleep in, I have cancer.
You go to the store (instead of me), I have cancer.
You have to kiss me, I have cancer.

Like I said... may, or may not have occurred. ;)

Somewhere, the earth has shifted

I know there was an earthquake somewhere, I could feel it in the energy field. The ground beneath my feet seems to have shifted but how can that be? The buildings are still standing. My family is still eating dinner. No one is screaming.

But I hear that far away scream and I know that somewhere, someone fell hard, and that things won't be the same after that. Every day, I hear her a little closer. I know she is a woman. I know she can't stop screaming yet, and while she is still far away, she is getting closer every day.

I know that suddenly the world is painted in slashes and hard colors and shock, and the current of the river that carried her suddenly dropped her on her ass and the rapids are approaching. And she's still screaming, because how can this be? My breath catches in my throat and my chest gets tight when I hear her. I can't breathe, and I can't breathe, and I can't breathe.


And then I tell myself how ridiculous I am being, this big drama fest for a little, easy, barely-even-a-cancer cancer. That the word 'cancer' is just too much for what this is because it'll be cut out and I'll be done, so what am I spending all this time fussing about? SUCK IT UP SOLDIER. Stop being such a fucking baby - no - DRAMA QUEEN.


Chest tight...


Get over yourself.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Custom Dart Board

For your cancer-hating enjoyment, I've created this incredible, one of a kind dart board! Get your friends together, tie some "Die, Cancer, Die!" prayers to your darts and aim for the tumor!

Act now!

Self control

The quiet routine of the evening closes in, and I feel for the first time, motivated to peck away at some of the mountain of work I've been ignoring the last few days. Suddenly I want to make phone calls, do some marketing, build websites and return emails.

I have a pile of notes next to me now, all needing sorting out, to-do lists to be made and acted upon, meetings to figure out.

I realize that I am excited about this mound of work because it is such a lovely, productive and happy distraction- to do the things I love to do, to be busy with fundraisers and business and volunteer work.

I tell myself, I have time right now! I'm motivated!

I realize the lie- that I am letting myself forget what I promised that today I would let myself remember.

It is weird for me to be so dependent on the love notes, messages and just general contact from my friends and loved ones- that I keep clicking, "reload", over and over.

I am ready to be on the other side of this acceptance thing. I know I'm not there yet, I can tell because today I feel exhausted and sad. My mouth feels too heavy to smile, but I lift it anyway because I am happy, I am- and grateful, and loved, and I am also starting to feel the terrible claustrophobic sadness, and confusion, and sadness.

My husband, he is my touch stone. He anchors me to this plane, when I start to float away. His body is love to me, touching his skin reminds me that he exists, and therefore so do I, and that we are not alone because we have each other, and that we are enough, alone-together, to beat cancer. And that having the battalion of people who love me increase my chances of this being nothing, exponentially. Every person that loves me increases my chances of this being a blip on my screen of life, rather than one crushing moment.

If I had to define how I feel right now, the only word that comes to mind is, dry.

I'm going to take this motivation and write a to-do list rather than doing the work, so that tomorrow, when I'm back to 'too busy for cancer', I can get on these things and get them taken care of.

Maybe tomorrow, this stupid-cancer will be funny again.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Measuring by minutes

Each time I get thoroughly distracted, so distracted that all I can do is focus on the moment, I call that a win. That is one minute that I am not thinking about cancer, or surgery, or what the protocols are for when you are 'supposed' to tell someone (when you first meet? After you share a bonding moment? A week later?) that you're living with cancer, or if I can talk about it as freely as I want or if I'll give my kids complex.

Every moment is a success. Sometimes, after several moments in a row, I think, "Wow, I didn't think about cancer for 3 minutes and 45 seconds", because that's how long a song I was singing at the top of my lungs ran. Or, "I didn't think about cancer for 2 hours in a row," because I had a steady stream of lovely customers wanting henna.

Oh henna, you are a great friend- everything disappears when that line lands on skin and turns into something beautiful. I want my body henna'd, my chest and neck especially, and I am too afraid to ask my friends which I know is perfectly silly. I can't help it. I'm not ready to need anyone yet, and maybe having cancer is a lesson in needing others, but I feel like I get so much, any more is 'too much' and that I'll owe, and owe, and owe.

My sweet friend gave me a spa in a box with some gorgeous botanicals with which to scrub and cleanse and moisturize and nurture my body. I stare at them feeling guilty for the money she spent, all the while chastising myself for being SO ridiculous. I know it's ridiculous. I need to give myself permission to have those ridiculous thoughts, but just turn them WAY down.

I don't want to feel so guilty receiving that I don't let myself get cared for as I go through this. I want to let the lesson that I should ask for what I need, claim it, to arrive and land as easily as possible but it's one of the hardest lessons I've ever faced, I'm sure of it.

So what do I need right now?

- I need time with my husband, alone. I can easily get this. My aunt stands at the ready, I just need a time with no commitments when I can make it happen.
- I need to get through this week. I think I need someone to watch Eidie on Thursday for my endo appointment. LOL
- I need to cry. I am not there yet but it's coming.
- I need people to just check in with me, and tell me how YOU are doing. I am okay right now, as okay as okay ever is- I love you all and I want to hear your questions and worries and thoughts and celebrations and especially your GALLOWS HUMOR.
- I need to remember that I can't learn from this if my heart isn't open to grieve that my life will never be the same. I'll never be able to set aside that chance that I have cancer, ever again. It's a part of my story now, but woven into my future rather than my past. I need to let that wash over me. I don't know how, but I'm sure it will happen.
- I need the blessings, prayers and love of those who love me.
- Presents: always welcome. ;)

I'm not ready yet for treatment opinions, for suggestions or books I should read about what to eat, think, believe, change, eliminate or pray for. I'm too scared to get support in that way yet- to belong to an online group of people with cancer, or to read a book about it. I'm too scared for that - not because I think I'll die, but because that means saying I REALLY HAVE CANCER, no doubts, no shit, no mucking around- it's really here, inside me. I'm still dancing with this concept, like a girl trying on a new dress she isn't sure is the right one - looking at it from different facets, just not sure I'm ready to commit to this idea yet.

I do not feel sorry for myself. I do not feel upset by this, or in ANY way, that it 'shouldn't' have happen to me. Of COURSE it should happen to me - it DID happen to me! There is nothing to deny here, there's nothing to bargain for- the cancer arrived and I say, "Thank you, teacher. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but I know we'll do a lot of work together." Maybe that doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but it does make sense to me. This is in some way, Divine Perfection at work. This too, my friends, is God's Hand.

Just ask me questions, it helps me to write it out, to 'talk' about it in this way. It gives me  few of those minutes where, even though I AM thinking about cancer, I'm able to avoid thinking about it inside my body, and even that is a welcome respite.

Crashed! Yeah... :)

I think that was the longest, hardest sleep I've had in... ages. I can't even remember being that exhausted (while not sick), and sleeping like the dead. I needed it. I'm still tired this morning (bone weary, like after a birth) but at least I feel like I'm starting off on the right foot.

A peep into my thoughts on this whole situation, my own little "Post Secret"...

* Cancer? REALLY? I don't know, man.
* Oh my god I can't poop, do I have cancer there too?
* Butt cancer... hahaha! Oh wait, it's not funny... (butt cancer, hahah!!)
* 80% is good odds, I will not think about the 20%, I will not think about the 20%....
* Gods, I love my husband. I wish words could capture it, and I am also glad they can't.
* I'm so grateful my kids are chilled out about this, although the distraction of caring for someone else and making someone else feel better would be sooo nice right now
* Friends? Are you doing okay? Anyone need to talk? I mean, I could *help*. No?... damnit. Okay.
* Lymph node, settle the fuck down, you scare me. Stop doing that thing you do.
* Hey! I said settle down.
* You can not cut the cancer out by yourself, Kristina. Stop it right now!
* I'm not so sure I'm a fan of the changes my body is making as it ages - cancer??!
* I want to name it something else. Something disempowering and ridiculous. "C-A-N-C-E-R" is too loaded and this shit is not taking ME down.

I dreamed that the Animals came and talked to me and they told me there is something I need to do. I said, "I know, but where do I start?" I knew what I needed to do (there was a Journey involved). There is some truth for me to discover, and claim - I don't know. It's out there, I'm open to it, I will step forward when the time comes.

I say YES! when the Spirits tell me what I need to do but that does NOT mean I like it! So if stupid-cancer is where I need to be right now, then it's perfect, and I'll do it. And I'll kick ass.

Rambly? This is my brain right now. Rambling.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I am slowly getting rewired to this new reality- the "cancer" reality. I realized today that I now have a 'pre-existing condition.' I don't even know the ramifications of that but it seems like they're pretty messed up for most people.

I wanted to share with you a miracle that happened today - and maybe it wont' translate that way but in the moment, there was nothing pure purely perfect and I am sure I met an angel today.

A woman came into my henna booth for some henna, and as I was working on her, her mom came in, all a-bustle about how hot she was. She explained she was on medications that make her sensitive to the sun and so she was covered head to toe on a 73 degree day, and was rosy pink from over heating. Her daughter was getting a zodiac henna design and 'Rosy' said she was a Libra and asked what her sign looked like.

I love meeting other Libras (because I am one too) so I asked what her birthday was, and she said, "October... 17th!" I was so tickled becuase that's my birthday too, and we high fived and then she said, "I am a professional singer and I want to give you something."

Then she started singing, right in the middle of my booth, and she was made of light, rosy pink light. And I couldn't hear the words because I was so overwhelmed but I know that she was blessing me with her words and music. The last line was, "And may God hold you in the hollow of His hand." She held her hand out, cupping it toward me as the final notes filtered out around us and I burst into tears right there.

It was so random, and so beautiful and selflessly given, and I need to be held in the hollow of God/dess's hands, I need to know that I am a warrior, and that there is a banner for my fight.

Today, while I woke up still feeling a little inebriated from last night's shenanigans (a post for another time), everything clicked. Everything worked. I didn't forget anything, I didn't wake up my family on my way out. I even went to the grocery store without a list and remembered everything I needed (my husband won't believe it). I arrived and my tent was intact, everything flowed, I had a record day of sales and when I just checked in spiritually, the word I kept coming back to was 'tended'. I feel like I am being tended on Earth and in the spirit world, and that I will not lack for witnesses, attendants, love, arms, and best of all, some awesome shenanigans, as I go through this.

I am so grateful to be as busy as I am right now- too busy to think too much about it. But I know that I need to. I am making time for my family, and just for one day, it means I need to let myself make room for cancer. Just for one day. I have to continue to move in the direction of healing and that means that it's time to engage it. It'll be a deep breath, and maybe some sparks will fly and some hairs singed, but I need to rewire just enough to keep me focused on healing from cancer.

I don't want a ribbon on my car about cancer. I don't want a tattoo that identifies me as a survivor or even mentions cancer at all. I am just going to get over this silly thing and go on.

Friday, May 25, 2012

First sign of anxiety

I'm trying to make my grocery list. I'm looking at this list and I have this (ir)rational fear that the things I eat are going to make this cancer worse. They're going to kill me. There are some chemicals and terrible things that are going to feed my cancer and make me sick.

I know that it's true. And I know that's it's coming from an irrational place. So, I'm trying not to freeze up because I can't, in one day, figure out what I'm going to do about that, but I have to also bring food in the house.


Milking it

After I discovered the birth community and started getting heavily involved, it didn't take long to discover that there is a huge support network for people who want to live in their trauma. I didn't realize it fully until I joined and separated from a couple of different birth organizations (who ARE doing good work!) but when I saw that people literally defined themselves by their birth wounds- it was a huge epiphany to me and I knew I didn't want to hang out in that land.

Then I had my daughter and got to really enjoy my own pity party for a while until a friend said, "SNAP OUT OF IT. You're alive, she's alive. Quit wallowing." Well- that's direct. And honest. And.... true. Why am I wallowing, again?

So two days into this whole situation and I"m already wondering, am I writing to process? To share? Or to wallow?

Is it too early to worry about whether I'm spending too much time feeling sorry for myself? Am I feeling sorry for myself (not at ALL, but I still have to ask)?

I process best through writing, through telling the story and hearing what it means to the people who read it. It gives me fresh perspective and sometimes a well timed face slap and is overall a major part of my sanity. Which in the last two days, has been tenuous at best.

I count the minutes when I am not thinking about having cancer, wondering what surgery will be like, whether it has spread to my lymph nodes, questions for the endocrinologist, whether my kids are TRULY okay with this or if the earth quaked beneath them too and they're just not saying it, if my friends are okay, if there's anyone I forgot to call and tell (there is), whether I will still laugh when I say it out loud (it's less funny but still... I still laugh), how I'll feel after surgery, if I keep clearing my throat because of the cancer, if I will ever say "Cancer" and have it be a benign word to me ever again, what it will be like having an endocrinologist in my life for the next ten years to make sure I am truly in remission, what other tests I have coming ahead and if they're going to hurt, if I can breathe. If I can just breathe. If my chest will stop feeling so tight and just let me breathe.

I keep waiting to feel scared and so far, it hasn't happened. I don't know why but I really, really feel like I accept it. And then I wonder if I'm INSANE because how can anyone be accepting that they have cancer? So I figure I must just still be in some kind of shock or something because not feeling afraid for yourself when you find out you have cancer is just like... deep detachment on some kind of insane level. It has to be.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The day after yesterday

That's today, right?

Can I talk to you about how mundane and ridiculous things are - all of a sudden? Hearing the doctor tell me, "It is cancer, yes." and then having to pack up my stuff. Packing up my bags felt like the most ridiculous thing I had to do in that moment. I felt like suddenly the earth cracked open and some giant was going to come walking down the street with a lightning bolt in it's hand, and that wild beasts were going to eat all the people while the sky turned black and the sun died.

Because in THAT world, cancer makes perfect sense.

I got to talk with my doctor finally today and she was really warm and gracious and supportive. She even offered me sleeping pills (hah!) Generous, if not... weird. I guess it's not weird. I suppose it's normal to have some trouble sleeping when you're faced with the "worst case scenario" that is cancer.

The plan for now is that I will meet with the endocrinologist on the 31st at 2:15. After that, I think I meet with the surgeon who is an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) doc so we can discuss the surgery.

Given that I have had problems with my lymph nodes since this whole situation began, I am already pretty convinced that the cancer is in my lymph nodes. I'm not alarmed by that- the studies that I have read (and my doctor verified today) indicate that this type of cancer spreads slowly and my prognosis wont' change even if it's in my lymph nodes, but my treatment will (chemo? I don't know).

Let me just say - and I know you won't want to hear this but it's what's true - I am pretty confident that this is in my lymph nodes. I'm sorry. I know that is scary, but I can't lie to you. I also want you to know that I haven't spent a moment afraid. Not a single moment. That is the truth. Shocked- horrified - upset- but not scared.

I will start on TSH suppression after the endo appointment probably. The explanation my doctor gave me was excellent because I was very confused why they'd be suppressing my thyroid, but I just wasn't understanding what that meant.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is released in the pituitary gland (also a VERY important gland!) It basically tells they thyroid, "hey, wake up! Release some stuff!"

The "stuff" that the thyroid releases is the very thing that feeds this kind of cancer. So we suppress the pituitary gland's messaging cues and it helps to stop the cancer hopefully from growing more while we wait for surgery.

I have no clue what this medication might be, what the risks are, what the side effects are- I won't know anything until I meet with the endo. In like.. a week. /sigh

After I go on the drugs, we do the surgery and then I begin the life-long journey of taking thyroid drugs to replace the organ that will be cut out of me. When they do the surgery they will take out the lymph nodes that have been bothering me as well and check them out for cancer.

This type of cancer can show up in other areas but I don't know if, how, when the docs will look for it. But we don't have to talk about that yet. We're not talking about it unless it happens.

I also asked my doctor if because the first biopsy didn't say 'malignant' and the second one did, does that mean we caught it early? She said that basically the first one not being benign was an indicator for cancer and that the second one just confirms it- but that it could have been in there for a long time and we just didn't know it. I'm not a fan of that, but what can you do? It's not like I can go back in time and have them do something different- as soon as I knew there was an issue, I went straight to the doctor and we started this crazy journey. I did all the right things, and will continue to do what feels right. No regrets.

My favorite things right now (the thing I turn to all day long) are the messages people leave about my blog, the comments where people are so raw and revealed and honest in how fucked up this is, that they're scared, or some really sickening gallows humor which I TOTALLY LOVE.

Right now my favorite thing to say is, "I can't pick up that sock. I have cancer." "Please get me a fork. I have cancer." "I don't want to go to town and grocery shop. I have cancer." So far it's not working, but I'm confident that sometime SOMEONE will feel sympathetic enough to let me get that one over on them. ;)

We did tell the kids last night and that went remarkably well. I was worried they'd be highly upset and they were definitely shocked but they didn't cry or freak out. Both of the boys independently said that they're not worried because they know my chances are great. What is there to worry about? I agree.

I want to talk about my husband but... I don't know what to say yet. He's amazing. He does for me what he has always done, since I was 14- he stands still and lets me fall against him and he holds me up when I am to weak to hold myself up. He's everything I need and I love that we are doing WAY more laughing about this whole thing than we are worrying.

And then it touches down.

Airplanes sort of taxi in, and get closer and closer to the ground, sometimes their wheels bounce tightly a few times before they land completely and hopefully move smoothly into their gate. Docking commences, connections are made, the airplane is integrated into the system of the airport.

For me that loss of altitude feels like an adrenaline rush in the middle of the teriyaki joint. It moves into a racing heart beat and an urge to laugh out loud at nothing, and then scream and claw my face. And laugh some more. I suddenly feel my fork in my fingers and suddenly feel the pebbles of rice in my mouth and it's like little tiny rocks. But that would be weird- to have rocks in your mouth, and that's okay, because I HAVE CANCER so nothing makes sense anymore. It's all weird. It's normal to be weird.

I get in my car and I'm driving down the road and I want music, music so loud that my ears are crying from it and I can't turn it up loud enough and I'm singing so loud and my window is open and suddenly this wail rises out of my stomach and out of my mouth and I cover my hands and I laugh because I am obviously losing my MIND and that's what crazy people do. I sing louder. I turn the music up more. My foot is on the pedal an the only thing I can do to ease this sense that I am going to physically explode right there on the highway, my body turning into a mist of ME, is to press on that pedal hard and feel the intense sensation of speeding down the highway with the music so loud and my voice so loud and cracking and the wail that wants to come out again.

I slow down and think, I should pull over, I should call someone, but that is just silly because I'm on the side of the highway and that would be ridiculous. So I keep driving to see how far I can make it before I lose my mind forever and ever and ever. How close to home will I get when the police find me, raving and screaming and scratching my face that I have cancer, I Have Cancer, I HAVE CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's not fear, it's like... landing. It's not that I am afraid, because I'm not. It's more like, this information has been hovering around me in an aura and I've finally cracked and it's seeping in because that's all I can let it do. I can only let it seep in, because otherwise I have to accept that I have something growing in me that wants to kill me and that I can't just cut my own throat to get it out. It's not a sliver that can be handled with tape or tweezers. 

I sing, and sing and sing until there's nothing left to sing, and I turn off the stereo and I listen to the sound of the world while I drive through it- the world that keeps going, even if I have cancer, and doesn't stop turning or changing or needing or giving. The world sounds so normal. How can that be?

Off we go.

I always imagined that there would be a giant oak desk. A massive, work of art, of a desk with the smell of leather and an undercurrent of terror in the room. I imagined I'd be sitting in a rather uncomfortable wooden chair, with arms rubbed shiny from the worried hands of those who had come before me, and I'd be clutching to Randy like an old lady clutches her purse. And the benevolent Doctor, sitting across from me, but with a very compassionate look on his face, would say, "I'm sorry. It's cancer." Then the wailing would begin and never end, because it would mean I was dying and we'd have to tell my children.

I could never see the vision past telling my children but that doctor sure was good looking.

Well, this isn't how it went down for me. Standing in a business, contracted to provide henna and glitter tattoos to squealing and giggling little girls and boys, my phone rings. "I'm sorry," I say to the person I'm talking with, "I have to take this."

I look at the caller ID and my guts start to churn when I see it's not my doctor but my aunt calling, to see if I've heard anything yet. Suddenly I feel this urgent need to poop because adrenaline is rushing through me and fight is not an option, but flight is starting to sound really good! A moment later my phone rings again and I take a deep breath when I see it is the clinic and I say, "Hello?"


Strangely I usually pop right out of my body when I enter into a situation like this but this time I am fully in my body. I hear every word she says. I respond calmly. I hang up.


"Hi Kristina, I have your results right here. Okay, so what we have is a (compassionate and non-annoying pause), papillary carcinoma, which-"

"Is cancer, I know." I interrupt. It's my cancer, I'll say it first.

"It is, yes, and I just want you to know that this type of cancer is..." and she goes on about what I already know, how highly common this type of cancer is, and super, easily treatable it is. How if you had to pick a cancer to have, this is the one to choose, and I say, "I know. Thank you."

She sounds a little confused that I am not crying, I am just listening and answering her questions and that's it. The ground is still firm beneath me. I still feel the phone in my hands. "Do you... have any questions?"

"I really don't, I'm good, thank you." I feel like a drone, I want to be polite and I also want to get the fuck off this phone so I can figure out if I am going to fall apart in front of all these children or not.

"Wow, this is the easiest time I've ever had giving someone this news. Are you sure you're okay?" Yes, I am. Thank you. I'll follow up with my doc, yes. If I have questions, I know who to call, thank you, yes, have a good day.


I hang up the phone and I feel my Spirit suddenly sit down on the chair. My body is standing but my Spirit has sucked in its breath, detached itself from me and is sitting down, reeling from the news. 


My body walks over to the organizer who fortunately is a friend and a gracious, lovely woman, and I say, "I have to go. I'm sorry." I don't explain further, I get her blessing and I pack up and I grab my daughter and we hustle out to the car so I can call (everyoneintheworld) my husband and tell him what is happening to us now. Now that cancer is in our house.

I call Randy and we sit on the phone- stunned silence. But no freaking out, or panic. Just more like... woah. So we talk about it a bit and he says, "Do you need me to come home?" I say no, I have too much to do today. What are we going to do, sit on the couch and stare at each other?

So what is there to do? I have to drive up to my mother's house which isn't the safest (emotionally) place for me to be, especially when I'm this vulnerable. Am I vulnerable? I actually check in with myself and I say out loud, "I have cancer."

And I start laughing.

It's too funny. I mean seriously- CANCER? *I* have cancer. ME. That is just... the most ludicrous thing that could ever be true. It's ridiculous.

I text my friends and I feel like I can't explain thoroughly how absolutely hilarious this situation is, so when I hear, "I'm so sorry!" I can't help but think, "Why? What did you do?"

I drop off my mom and I finally have a moment alone with it (well, as alone as any mother of a little kid is) and I start to feel it rise up in me. And what I'm craving is some really loud, happy music so I load one up (Love Song, by Sarah Barreilles if you're curious) and I just sing that shit as LOUD as I possibly can.

There's really nothing else to do but sing. And I start laughing again because I think, maybe this surgery will help my singing voice? It is currently abysmal.