Conversation of Death

I survived my work week!  I work 3 or 4, 12 hr shifts, 7am to 7pm, every week as a RN in an Emergency Room.  I am a charge nurse and usually walk 6 – 8 miles per shift.  One day I did walk 11 miles.

Emotionally, I wasn’t sure how I would handle this work week .  Most coworkers still didn’t know or realize what I had experienced the previous week regarding my skin cancer. I would notice many just looking at me with a questioning look.  Only a few asked me how I was doing and/or feeling.  For those who asked the question, ” what is going on?” I appreciate your asking and then taking the time to listen.

My face was almost healed.  Just a small healing sore below my eye.  The side of my nose was hardly noticeable.  My thigh healing but only hurt when I pulled the healing sutured area the wrong way.  Sitting and then standing up sometimes caused a sharp pull of sutures.  More than once I went into the restroom to be sure I hadn’t ripped out a suture.

My most memorable moment was a cancer patient who arrived by ambulance.  She came to us because she had increasing SOB (shortness of breath).  This SOB started after her doctor inserted a chest tube to drain fluid that was filling her chest.

She was beautiful!  She had a bright smile on her face and very alert eyes as she was rolled thru the ambulance doors entering our ER.  Her sparse hair was only about ½ inch in length.  Grey/white strands of hair that stood straight out. 

  I assigned a room to her in the area where critical and sicker patients are evaluated.  I went into her room to see if I could help her assigned RN.  She was still smiling and the 3 of us started a conversation regarding her and the care she was going to receive from us.

She told us she had been healthy all her life and was diagnosed 5 months ago with stage 4 lung cancer.  She had seen her doctor due to feeling SOB and coughing.  She had never smoked nor had lived with a smoker. 

This woman then spoke of dying.  She wanted us to know she was not angry. She expressed her acceptance of death!  “Feisty” is what she called herself and said that is what keeps her going.  Speaking of a cancer group she attends and spoke of the sadness and defeat most members displayed and spoke of.  She told us when she spoke of her taking her own life she was snubbed and told she had given up.  And she wasn’t going to do any more Chemo since the 1st round left her deathly sick.  She was upset that she allowed the doctor to insert the chest tube. 

Still with that beautiful smile, she looked at me and the other nurse and asked what would be a good way to end her life.  The other nurse and I then looked at each other.  I was wondering what the other nurses view was regarding someone ending their life and she probably was wondering the same about me.  I told her to goggle that question and she would find many sites that would offer suggestions and ideas.  She said she had been saving her pain medicine, Morphine and asked how much would she need to take to cause death.  I told her if she googled end of life she would also read about medications and dosages.  She let us know she understood we couldn’t answer her questions but thanked us for the idea of using her computer to find the answers she needed.  I told her that if and when she decides her life is to end she needs to be sure no one will find her until her body has died.  I explained that if EMS responds and brings her to a ER we will be legally obligated to resuscitate her since suicide is not legal. 

She laughed and told us that she had recently moved to our state, New Mexico.  She had been living in Oregon a state that had a right to die law and thought NM had the same law but quickly found out it did not. 

The other nurse left the room leaving this woman and I to talk.  I pulled up a chair and told her of my recent health issues. We shared our views on life, Birth, Living and Death, all a part of everyone’s life.

 We spent a very short period of time together and you touched me greatly!  I will remember your beautiful smile & eyes and your feisty spirit! I pray you find the answers you are looking for.

To My Husband

Yesterday, I told my husband, Randy that if he ever feels like all this is too much for him then he can/should/need to leave.  I want him to be able to look at me and not cringe inside.  I do not want pity.  I do not a partner that feels that he has to stay out of obligation.  Randy looked me in the eye and said ” I love you! I didn’t marry your face.  I married you!  I will be with you, right beside you, regardless of what is too come” 

I listened to this song this morning and thought of me, him and us. 

Randy, I love you!

We said we’d walk together
Baby come what may
Back from the twilight
Should we lose our way
As we were walking
A hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind wait for me

Swore we’d travel together
Darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other
Stay in stride
Each lover steps on
So differently
So I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind wait for me

Everyone dreams of
A love lasting and true
You and I know what this world can do
So let’s make ourselves be
That the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind wait for me

There’s a beautiful river
In the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough
Soon we will wed
Should we lose each other
In the shadow of the evening dreams
Oh, I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind wait for me

Wait for me
If I should fall behind wait for me
Wait for me

I am a…

I am a daughter….                                                                                                                    I am a grandaughter…                                                                                                              I am a sister…                                                                                                                           I am a cousin…                                                                                                                         I am a wife…                                                                                                                              I am a mother…                                                                                                                         I am a aunt…                                                                                                                             I am a grandma…                                                                                                                     I am a stepmom…                                                                                                                     I am a woman living with skin cancer. 

I am a woman that is living!

email from my daughter

Any one of these is usually a sign of hidden or un-expressed anger:

  1. PROCRASTINATION IN THE COMPLETION OF IMPOSED TASKS
  2. PERPETUAL OR HABITUAL LATENESS
  3. A LIKING FOR SADISTIC OR IRONIC HUMOUR
  4. SARCASM CYNICISM OR FLIPPANCY IN CONVERSATION
  5. OVER-POLITENESS OR CHEERFULNESS, ATTITUDE OF “GRIN AND BEAR IT”
  6. FREQUENT SIGHING
  7. SMILING WHILE HURTING
  8. FREQUENT DISTURBING OR FRIGHTENING DREAMS
  9. OVER-CONTROLLED MONOTONE SPEAKING VOICE

10. DIFFICULTY IN GETTING TO SLEEP OR SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT

11. BOREDOM, APATHY, LOSS OF INTEREST IN THINGS YOU ARE USUALLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT

12. SLOWING DOWN OF MOVEMENT

13. GETTING TIRED MORE EASILY THAN USUAL

14. EXCESSIVE IRRITABILITY OVER TRIFLES

15. GETTING DROWSY AT INAPPROPRIATE TIMES

16. SLEEPING MORE THAN USUAL-MAYBE 12-14 HOURS A DAY

17. WAKING UP TIRED RATHER THAN RESTED AND REFRESHED

18. CLENCHED JAWS- ESPECIALLY WHILE SLEEPING

19. FACIAL TICS, SPASMODIC FOOT MOVEMENTS, HABITUAL FIST CLENCHING AND SIMILAR

20. GRINDING OF TEETH – ESPECIALLY WHILE SLEEPING

21. CHRONICALLY STIFF OR SORE NECK

22. CHRONIC DEPRESSION – EXTENDED PERIODS OF FEELING DOWN FOR NO REASON

23. STOMACH ULCERS

SAFE ANGER RELEASING TECHNIQUES (with my thoughts)

  1. PUNCH PILLOWS
  2. LIE FLAT FACE DOWN ON THE BED, SCREAM INTO THE PILLOW AND BEAT THE
  3. MATTRESS WITH YOUR FISTS.
  4. STAMP AROUND THE ROOM PUNCHING AIR WITH YOUR FISTS AND SAY, “I’M ANGRY”

OVER AND OVER. I’m going to sound like Rain Man!

  1. WRITE A LIST OF “I’M ANGRY BECAUSE…” STATEMENTS.
  2. BEAT THE BED WITH A RACQUET OR BAT. Does it have to be the bed? Wouldn’t a husband be just as well?
  3. BUY CROCKERY FROM CHARITY SHOPS AND SMASH IT IN A SAFE PLACE (BEWARE OF
  4. LYING PIECES).
  5. TURN UP THE MUSIC REALLY LOUDLY (INDOOR, IN CAR…) AND SCREAM OR SHOUT.
  6. IF YOU CAN GET TO A DESERTED BEACH OR MOUNTAIN, YOU CAN SCREAM YOUR HEART OUT. If I could get to a desired beach or mountain I wouldn’t be so angry now would I!
  7. HARD PHYSICAL EXERCISE EG. RUNNING, SQUASH. DO AEROBICS, VISUALISING
  8. PUNCHING AND KICKING THE ABUSER.
  9. GET AGGRESSIVE WITH THE VACUUM CLEANER.
  10. SLAM DOORS AND POUND UP THE STAIRS NOISILY
  11. FOR THOSE WHO SWEAR THINK OF THE MOST OBSCENE WORDS YOU CAN, TO INSULT WHOEVER MADE YOU ANGRY. (Not to their face) Damn!
  12. WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR ABUSER – TRY BEGINNING WITH “I HATE YOU”.
  13. SPEAK OUT IN ANGER TO THOSE AROUND YOU.
  14. CREATE AN ANGER RITUAL EG. BURNING AN EFFIGY OF THE ABUSER. Isn’t this considered VooDoo around here?
  15. DANCE AN ANGER DANCE.
  16. TAKE A COURSE IN MARTIAL ARTS.
  17. IT IS OFTEN EASIER TO GET ANGRY FOR SOMEONE ELSE THAN FOR YOURSELF. IMAGINE A CHILD YOU LOVE BEING TREATED THE WAY YOU WERE.
  18. DIRECT YOUR ANGER ONTO THE CAUSE – THE ABUSER – AND AWAY FROM YOURSELF.

ULTIMATELY ANGER IS A POWERFUL FORCE THAT CAN HEAL.

Dreaded phone call…

The dreaded phone call with my pathology results came this morning.  I wanted my answers but didn’t want to hear the news that I was already expecting!  After the nurse confirms it is me, she is speaking too, on the phone she starts telling me the pathology report.

Hip lump biopsy…positve basal cell skin cancer!

Lower R eyelid…positve basal cell skin cancer!

L nose…positive actinic keratitis.

Her fist question, “Are you familiar with basal cell cancer?”  I want to reach thru the phone and smack her upside her head!  What kind of question is that?  My chart is full of MY history regarding MY basal cell cancer!  As usual, I remain polite and answer, yes I know about the skin cancer.

She says the doctor recommends I have MOHS surgery (Mohs micrographic surgery is a minor surgical procedure and special method of removing skin cancers using local anesthesia (numbing). The majority of cases are performed in the physician’s office. Mohs is a very precise, highly detailed technique whereby small layers of skin are sequentially removed and immediately examined under the microscope until the samples indicate that the skin cancer is completely removed) for the eyelid and that office will call within a week to schedule the appointment.

An appointment is made with my doctor to remove more skin and tissue on my left thigh for 4/3.

The actinic keratitis was taken care of when the biopsy was done last week so nothing further needs to be done to the  left side of my nose.

In the few hours, since this phone call, I have experienced many emotions!  I mainly feel angry!  This whole thing just pisses me off!  I know I abused my skin for many years but so have a lot of other people.  So why am I one of the unlucky few that gets to have my skin cut, burned, scarred and butchered!

The eye lid basal cell removal will be an awful surgery!  Layer by layer will be cut away until all the cancer is removed!  Having the cancer removed is a good thing but having my lower eyelid removed is not something I want to experience.  I am not a vain person but I don’t want to be disfigured and stared at by family, friends and strangers!

My incision on my L thigh is already 1 inch long so now it will probably double in size and I can go thru the healing process again.  Having this scar on my leg isn’t much of a concern though.

I keep wondering how I am going to work throughout this mess?  Luckily I have an already approved time off 4/8 thru 4/18.  I was supposed to be vacationing in the Bahamas but now will be vacationing sitting in a doctor’s office and at home taking care of my wounds, physically and mentally!

Feeling better!

Today, I feel better and almost normal!

Blinking of my right eye lids does not cause pain.  The swelling is decreasing and the redness is disappearing.  I was afraid the redness was turning into an infection.  My fear was MRSA.  Small amount of drainage from wound but it is not green or pussey.

I plan on keeping a band aid over the sutures on my thigh.  If I move the wrong way the band-aid seems to keep the sutures from pulling.  I learned this the hard way.  Yesterday while at work I moved my leg wrong and felt a ripping tear. I ripped my sutures, I thought!  I quickly went to the restroom to heck and the 3 sutures were intact and nothing looked torn or wrong.  Band-aids were placed over the inscion  once again.

Next step tomorrow….the pathology results and decsions to make!