By La Vonda R. Staples
Sunday, April 21, 2013.
by now I'd be deep into PR for my book of essays. Never thought that I
would be busy filling out papers and applications to save my life. Not
meaning the expression but factually to save my life. I have cancer in
my gall bladder and liver. The jury is still out on my thyroid. Can't
put a name on that until the next biopsy. For now we'll say that there
are nine new little friends who have hitched a ride inside that gland.
Their presence was not requested nor was it appreciated.
does not run in my family until very late in life. Really late for us.
We live so long we consider seventy to be young. We have only had two
cousins to die before the age of fifty. I will do all I can to not
become number three.
July 2012 I went out and got myself a physical. Healthy as an ox as
usual. I didn't have no kind of nothing that I wasn't supposed to have.
January 2013 I started to get sick and could not get well. Coughs. A
cold. The flu. Congestion in my chest. I quit my cosmetics job in
February and all symptoms went away except one. A nagging pain in my
took a trip to the local emergency room and received a false diagnosis
of UTI and a lecture from a nurse practitioner who didn't have time to
put her hands on me and examine me before passing sentence. She told me
that I had to wipe from front to back. I told her that I wipe
sideways. She didn't appreciate my humor. She gave me antibiotics even
though I protested loudly. Me and antibiotics really don't get along.
True to form I got sicker during the single week I took this caustic
some reason which shall always be unknown to me I didn't go to the free
clinic for a follow up. I borrowed money to go and see a doctor who
would take cash payments. He put his pleasantly warm hands on my belly.
My liver was so swollen he could feel it. In an instant the first
test was ordered. The ultrasound showed tumors on my liver, thyroid,
and an abnormal gall bladder. The next test was a week later. Paid for
it cash money, too! It was a CT scan. This one gave the diagnosis.
Cancer of the gall bladder and liver. I was told that there was no
point in discussing my thyroid because my other two errant organs needed
attention as soon as possible. I wish the state health insurance folks
would listen to my doctor.
in a golden window of time where all my systems are still functioning.
This is giving me time to run around like a maniac to all kinds of
government office of which I previously was without knowledge. I'm glad
I live in a country where we have these systems but I wish these
systems were easier to negotiate.
plan to seek treatment at a single location. I'm optimistic but I'm
also realistic. I don't know how long my ability to handle my own
affairs will last. No one can tell me why the bile ducts in my liver
are still functioning normally. No one can tell me why my thyroid is
not releasing in thyroid mishaps into my blood. No one can tell me if
I'll wake up tomorrow and have jaundiced eyes in addition to the pain
which keeps me from beginning my day until two or three hours after I've
ceased to sleep.
have to assume that each day that I'm able to take care of myself at
home is a gift. I treat it as such. I complete what I can and plan
what is left to be completed. That's the best I can do.
life will never be the same after cancer. Today it's my firm belief
that I will have a life after cancer. I believe I will go on and I will
be stronger, more appreciative, and better after this. I believe that
it was time for my lesson in the valley. I've always been a good
student. I just wish this wasn't such a hard lesson to learn.