Let me begin with a few little housekeeping notes: I BEAT CANCER.
How’s that for a hashtag BOOM moment? Cancer Survivor. #BOOM
Yup, sucker didn’t stand a chance. TKO down for the count in the first round. (I am possibly mixing sports slang gibberish to be even more gibberishy, but what the heck.) The call came on Thursday. *Mayhaps* after seven ‘inquisitive’ phone messages left on the surgeon’s voice mail by my husband. Side note: bless your frightened soul if you have ever had my husband speak to you ‘inquisitively.’ I was told that the pathology of my thyroid and it’s ten nodular cling-ons and ‘some’ lymph nodes above and below my thyroid showed one, singular malignant tumor. When the cancer has not spread to other nodules or surrounding lymph nodes, there is no medical reason to believe it has spread at all. So no scans. No low-iodine diet. No radiation.
Happy Annie. Happy, cancer-free Annie.
Okay, so teensy, weensy housekeeping aside, I am still working through this whole ‘recovery from Thyroidectomy and Neck Dissection’ thing. By still working through it I mean I haven’t really gotten out of bed except to pee. And no, I am not simply saving you from vulgar potty talk by only mentioning pee. That statement is, unfortunately, pretty accurate.
I have already discussed that my family has rallied around me. My husband took a week off from work (he doesn’t even do that for vacation), my in-laws were here, my parents were here, my siblings-in-law (It’s not my fault if that terminology is incorrect. I am an only child. How would I know? If you tell me it’s incorrect now, you are pretty much taunting me for being an only child. Don’t do that. Bully.) are here now, my dad is returning, my mother-in-law is returning,…
You get the drift.
This has been taking place since Thursday, January 3rd and I believe I have family help scheduled to be here through at least Sunday, January 20th.
It’s too much, right? Like, nobody deserves to be that lucky. To have family do that much for them. I was almost scared to tell them that I found out the surgery got out all of the cancer. That I was cancer-free. I thought they might drop the sponge, tell me to get my own stupid Vicodin and tea jump in their cars and drive home.
But they haven’t. They are still here, playing with my kids, feeding them way too much candy three meals a day, asking me what kind of organic soup they can make for me, washing the dishes, emptying out/taking inventory/re-organizing my fridge. (Yes, take a minute to let that one sink in.)
And they are still being nice about it.
Every time my sister-in-law or husband sticks their head in and asks me if I need anything, I find myself freezing and slightly tilting my head as I cautiously answer them, “More water, please?”- preparing myself to hear them cackle and say, “Get it yourself, lazy!” Instead they get mad at me when I try to get up and get my own water. I keep being encouraged to please for the love of all things two-legged stay in bed and rest. Which, frankly, for someone who is used to running after kids all day while trying to cook and clean (Don’t laugh. I actually do try.) is kind of…uncomfortable. But I get it. I don’t just have a cut on my neck. I have an incision. The entry point through which they cut out a pretty important part of my body, and surrounding parts, before closing it up again. And my body had been trying to fight cancer on it’s own for, well, months at least before surgery. And now it’s adjusting to not having a thyroid.
But still, it all just feels really weird.
However, it has led to some quality time on the internet. Oxymoron, you say? Well, then you haven’t listened to all 50 of NPR’s Favorite Albums of 2012. Alright, to be honest, kind of a big, fat…meh. 2012 was apparently not a great year for music. But see? I wouldn’t have known that if I wasn’t laid up in bed all week!
If mentioning such highbrow things as NPR and Albums doesn’t prove to you what quality awaits you on the vast interwebs, how about Pinterest? It’s pretty hard to deny the value of Pinterest, isn’t it?
Did you know that boiled eggs could be made into heart shapes before Pinterest? Bet not. I didn’t.
What about Chicken Potato Green Bean Bacon Buffalo Cream of Mushroom Casserole…in a Crockpot! Had your mind been blown by it’s existence prior to Pinterest? Nope. Were you “Definitely going to make this for dinner tonight! Delish!”? I don’t think so.
And I know you didn’t know that pretty much any item you can pick up with your hand can then be placed in a mason jar, rendering it immediately “Adorbs!” to the point where you are “Totally going to do this!” Not before Pinterest, you didn’t.
Whoa. I just almost got sucked into a Pinterest rabbithole without. even. being. on. Pinterest. That’s what I call Black Magic.
In any event, I was on Pinterest, daydreaming about what totally loving, yet quirky and unique quotes and Family Rules we can paint onto a blackboard wall in our future home, when I came across something special. Yes, special even when floating around in the ocean of special that is Pinterest: A Samoa Cake.
My favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookies? Samoas.
Favorite kind of cake? Marble.
Favorite topping? Coconut.
Okay, so maybe answers two and three are more supporting evidence of answer number one, rather than separate facts, but still. The point is that I have to have this cake.
And here is the thing about having cancer, even if you don’t have it for very long, even if you don’t have Stage IV or a variety whose odds stack up hard against you or you treat it with surgery, rather than chemo, there is something about hearing the words, “You have cancer” that changes you, even if it’s only due to the stigma of fear we have created -rightly so – around that word. And then there is something that changes in you again once you hear that you no longer have cancer.
It doesn’t change you back, but just again. More.
For me, I can already see that I have a much stronger urge to never take anyone or anything for granted. At the end of my life I want to know that I left everything on the field. A friend just posted this quote that sums up pretty accurately what I am fumblingly trying to explain: “I do not want to get to the end of my life and find out that I just lived the length of it. I want to live the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman.
No better place to start than a Samoa Cake, right? Doesn’t get any wider than that! Ba-dum-dum.
So I sent my husband a Pinterest link in his email at work (He loves that.) and kindly asked that he make this cake for me on my 32nd birthday. He said yes. Which I knew he would. To be fair, he probably always would say yes to this type of request, but I knew for certain he would say yes this time. He is in kind of a holy-crap-my-wife-has-cancer-she-had-her-throat-slit-oh-wait-now-she-is-going-to-be-okay stupor lately that has left him even more loving than usual.
Like, he noticed I have a few hairs on my big toe when he rubbed my foot after surgery. (Shut up, you know you do too. …don’t you?) It was actually one of the first things he whispered to me once I was semi-coherent.
Baby, did you know you have hair on your big toe?
Yeah, I know! So crazy, right? You didn’t know it was there either, did you!
Why do you speak to me of this now, husband? I just had surgery. Have you seen your feet? You could braid your baby toe hair. Of course I know mine is there, I just lost all seven pairs of tweezers lately. (Pain meds make me monotone. Enjoy the !!! break.)
The point I was getting to is that after discovering my toe hair (Random aside: We have been together for twelve years. Me thinks I’ve not requested enough foot rubs, it seems.) he tried to kiss my toes several times this week. This man is clearly sick. Love sick. Puppy dog love sick.
It might be wrong, but I plan on using this sickness.
C’mon, people. For good, for good. Obviously. I mean, we all benefit from a Samoa Cake, if we are being honest with ourselves. But yes, I asked him to bake me this “Totes amazeballs!” Pinterest cake because I know there is zero chance of him turning me down right now.
Alright, and I *may* have also used some Macy’s gift cards we’ve had since 2007 to buy several throw pillows for our bed that, even on sale, cost more than what I would usually spend on shoes. I think seeing more pillows on our bed should be the perfect litmus test to see just how strong this wife/cancer scare spell is.
Listen, it’s not my fault I’m stuck in bed trolling the world wide web while recuperating from cancer surgery! Cancer isn’t fair, remember? We all suffer. His suffering is just in the form of rectangular turquoise chevron-patterned throw pillows. He should just be thankful I didn’t push my luck and get one that said Live Laugh Love.
I’m no dummy. Trust me, I don’t want to do anything to break this spell. My birthday is several months away and I HAVE to HAVE that Samoa Cake.
I wonder if he’ll figure out a way to serve it in mason jars…