Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:11PM
Two years ago today, the cat was out of the bag. Cancer. I had it. And now it was time to figure out all the details. The first order of business was to see if I could relieve some of this backed up fluid in my gut. If we proceeded with surgery right away, the chances of my getting an infection after surgery were very high. Dr. Ramos told me that he wanted to see if Dr. Sial could place a stent next to my tumor so that the fluid in my belly could go through the stent, past the tumor, and down to the rest of my colon and out…well, you know where. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled down the hallways of Good Samaritan Hospital again, this time being led to a different procedure room. I was given fentanyl and versed again, but it didn’t knock me out nearly as much as it had the day before. Essentially, the procedure would work like this: Dr. Sial would try to snake a stent – a tube-like device – up my you know what and until it could be placed directly next to the tumor. I was awake the entire time, calmly listening to Dr. Sial communicate to his helpers, and thinking positive stent thoughts. But that all stopped when I felt pressure…the undeniable pressure of having to poop. But how could I possibly manage this situation when sweet Dr. Sial was directly downstream from me? I mean, his face was right there. But I really had to go. I decided that I should say something, awkward as it may be. It certainly wouldn’t be as awkward as the alternative. “Dr. Sial?” “Yes, Gloria.” “Um…well…I feel the urge to poop. I feel that pressure. You know? I have to poop.” “That’s okay.” Wait a second. That’s okay? What the hell did that mean? It’s okay that I feel the pressure or it’s okay that I have to poop or it’s okay that I actually poop?! I asked another question. “It’s okay? I can poop? It’s okay if I poop right now?” “Yes! It’s okay! Go ahead!” Two years later, I still have no idea about whether I pooped or not, but I released the pressure, nobody shrieked, I didn't hear the sound of poop spilling anywhere, and I felt a lot better. But the stent didn’t work. The tumor was too big. And now we knew that I wasn’t dealing with Stage I colon cancer. Dr. Ramos thought it could be Stage II or III, but he felt fairly sure it wasn’t Stage IV. Stage IV colon cancer? It couldn’t be. But we’d know tomorrow. Tomorrow, Dr. Ramos would operate. Two years ago today, my mom asked me a question. One of the most important, most meaningful, most pivotal questions of my life. She asked me, after all my friends and family left my hospital room for the night and I finally lowered my hip hop-bumping iPod speakers, what I would do if my cancer wasn’t Stage II or III. She asked what I would do if, in fact, I had Stage IV colon cancer. I didn’t hesitate in responding. “I’ll beat it.” Two years ago today, I looked my mom in the eye and told her the truth. Two years ago today, I uttered those words: “I’ll beat it.” Two years ago today, I said the words that would define the rest of my life. Tune in tomorrow for more. I'll be writing "Two Years Ago Today" until my cancer anniversary, a day that I was not expected to live to see, September 19th, 2012.