My lips are sealed

11 Jan

I got the dreaded mammo call back today. I went in for my annual boob squeeze on Monday while hacking up a lung from the flu, so maybe it was just flem. (And that shit is EVERYWHERE. Lemme tell ya.) They always sound so calm, but then they say, “Ohhhh…asymmetry. We’d better add on an ultrasound too.” GDMF. So since said appointment is now set for FRIDAY-THE-FUCKING-THIRTEENTH, I’d better start burning some sage.

Mima had bumpy boobs. I remember talking about it at Sunday dinner. “What does dense breast tissue mean? Can I have more sweet potatoes?” My family has always been pretty out there with stuff. Except the important stuff. Like, “I have cancer and am  dying.”

She didn’t die from her breast cancer. She died from bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma for you fools). Which, translated, means: SHE WORRIED HERSELF TO DAMN DEATH. (At least in my humble, internet-educated, opinion.)

So now there’s me. Lost her and got the hubby’s dreaded ‘c’ diagnosis all within a month and ten days. And I’m not supposed to worry. Not supposed to worry because I could worry myself to DAMN DEATH.

I watched that women sit in her chair and practically rub the effin skin off around her mouth with her finger while she pondered the latest round of familial antics. Then she’d look at me and say, “Cassy, you have to stop worrying so much.” Huh.

I can hear her right this minute though, saying, “NOW will you listen to me?” Okay, okay. OKAY!

But that’s why I’m here. To pack up my troubles in my old kit-bag and SMILE, SMILE, SMILE. (If you’re so inclined, feel free to rub your mouth raw while you worry about me so I don’t have to. You’re safe because you probably don’t have the worry-cancer gene.)

Just the other day I was thinking hard about something and the hubby said, “Whatcha thinking about so hard over there, Mima?” Damned if I wasn’t running my finger over my lips and rolling off the dead skin. JUST LIKE HER.

To my credit, there’s just no freaking way that I’m NOT going to worry. When you have friends and family dropping like flies from the cancer, and your nearest and dearest still fighting his way to the much-anticipated THREE-YEAR mark — well, shit. Gimme a break.

And, while we’re talking about it, here’s the latest on the dearest. (Besides being fully back to being a pain in my ass.):

  • His 11.16.11 scope was CLEAN. (This is exceptionally good news for us since we have very little trust/faith in the myriad scans and labs that we endure monthly. For, it wasn’t until we had actual TISSUE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE that we got his true diagnosis. The scans were all CLEAN going into surgery, but the post-op PATHOLOGY came back effed through the drive-thru. You feel me?)
  • His vitamin D has been scary low, but we have no idea what that means. He now takes a supplement of 2,000 units/per day and never, ever wears sunscreen.
  • I’ve told him he will be KICKED TO THE CURB if he doesn’t pull it together and start exercising and taking his fiber. (The doc says research shows this all pumps up the survival and non-recurrence rates, and yet…)
  • Like I said, back to being a pain in my ass.
  • We don’t have labs, appointments or ANYTHING until March 16th. (Whew.)
  • Since we think the no-cancer calendar started on the date of his last chemo, we won’t be taking any full breaths until at least February 15, 2014. (That’s the sucky part. You’re so happy to have treatment behind you, etc. etc., but until you reach the 3 and 5-year milestones post-treatment, you still feel like you’re walking a tightrope over a yawning maw of fire, shit, sharp objects, deep crevices and venomous vipers.)
  • DO NOT read any statistics for Stage III Colorectal Cancer on the googles unless you want to rub your lip off. MMKAY?

As for us, life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Well, damn. That’s looking pretty sunshine-y — of the-rainbows-shooting-from-your-ass variety. Work has been busy and steady for me (travel and the whole bit). House is shaping up (albeit slowly, but surely). Girls are happy in school and sassy as ever. Miss-miss is sooo excited to start middle school next year that her pimples may pop themselves. Kinder Bean walks the elementary school halls like she owns the place (And I think she does. At least that’s what the principal told me.)

And life proceeds at its fast-forward pace. Here’s to a happy, happy NEW-SHINEY year — full of clean scans, lump-free breasts and toasts with good friends/fam on the back deck at sunset.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Smile. Uncle Kracker. You’re better than the best. I’m lucky just to linger in your light. (And if you think this song is cheesy, you can suck it.)


11 Responses to “My lips are sealed”

  1. isabel cousins January 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Cassy, I absolute love you guys! I love reading about your adventures (although I hate that you’re having to go through it) but the way you handle it with such grace and laughter is admirable. Keep on smiling! No rubbing your lips raw “Mima.”


    • soboclassifieds January 12, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Thank you! Gotta keep the chapstick handy!:)


  2. LotusLifeWork January 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Cass – don’t sweat the dense breast tissue thing. I have had that all my life and all it means is that the boob masher can’t read for shit. I’m sure you do self exams and if you’re not feeling anything the ultrasound is just CYA for the doctors. The good news is they can see a needle in a haystack with the ultrasound – I had one last February – and you get the results right there with the doctor – just like with a baby, you get to see all the stuff. And if they have you lying in a way that you can’t see, then ask to see. But don’t sweat it. 🙂


    • soboclassifieds January 12, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hi – Thank you so much for your story. It really meant a lot. I’m actually doing okay. It did happen last year too, but no ultrasound. It really does amaze me to hear from so many people how common it actually is. Calmed me right down! Thank you!


  3. Just Hear Me Out January 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Hi Cassy. This will probably bring you not much relief. Last thanksgiving I thought I would be a good girl and go get a mammogram at age 42. It hadn’t worked out earlier because I NURSED my kids for 5 1/2 years. Yep. Anyhoo, went all proud and got a call back. Well my mom died of ovarian cancer so… So I had a biopsy and it wasn’t good enough. So they wanted a lumpectomy and I said no, do another biopsy. By this time I figured it was time to buy pink and sign up for a race for a cure. But the second biopsy came out clean. Moral: I think they want us to live so much they are extra careful. I also think they want to give us blogging material 😉 good luck and let us know.


    • soboclassifieds January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      I think I remember this now. And, yes, the blogging material is a bonus, eh? The stories from so, so many friends have calmed me considerably. I had the call back last year too – smack in the middle of Kenny’s chemo/radiation – but now I’m thinking NO WAY IN HELL. I told my GYN this am to just order the damned MRI already. I’ve had enough of this shit. 🙂


  4. Bob Simmonds January 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    We’ll just call you L’il Mima, mmmkay? LOVE IT. HUGS TO ALL.


    • soboclassifieds January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am #



  5. Amy January 12, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Try not to worry. I know that’s easier said than done, but they’re most likely just being cautious. Plus, I already took breast cancer for the team! You can’t have it :-).


    • soboclassifieds January 12, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      EXCELLENT point. xo


  6. maddogmom January 13, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Cassy, great post. I’m going to start reading regularly… i say don’t sweat the dense breast tissue. i had a scare. felt all lumpy on day. doctor said cyst… had the extra special mammo where they REALLY squeeze your boobs. (what i didn’t realize is that they weren’t even really squeezing in the regular garden-variety mammo. and they did the ultrasound, too. turned out to be (drumroll…) dense breast tissue and some pre period tenderness. damn. –maddogmom


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