So first off, I want to say this is going to be a two-parter cause it’s a long story, so you need to read part two next blog. It’s a short little story (not!) with a happy ending (is!) so it will be worth your while, I promise!
But, let me get this out of the way. This is a blog about cancer. I know it is a horrible disease that takes so many lives and devastates those who have it and families and loved ones of those that are near it. My mother died of cancer among other complications. As did way too many of my family and friends. It came and went more than once for her. She fought it, had uterine cancer, surgery, radiation, lots of things but was fine. Many years later she had a lung removed but lived for many years after that. It came back again a year after her getting through heart valve replacement surgery and having a horrible car accident, so she may be gone, but she is certainly not forgotten and was a trooper and a fighter and I know she would laugh at this too. (Love you mom!xxxooo say hi to dad, miss you both terribly)
This is the story of my cancer. A much luckier scenario than so many others. But, please, I don’t want anyone to be offended by the humorous touch on such a horrible subject. Laughter is the best medicine and humor is how I handle everything in my life, the good the bad and the ugly.
A few years ago, I found out I had cancer but they caught it early so I’m good. Very lucky. Thanks for the applause, but I can’t take the credit, I couldn’t have done it without the CANCER…. Really, I could have done WITHOUT the cancer…but thank you, thanks for the support… There’s a reason for everything, and thank god for cancer, cause I finally wrote 20 new minutes of material after 20 years. No, seriously, I was so lucky. Except for the part where they tore out all my womanly innards, but parts is parts and when ya can’t use em, ya gotta lose em. Speaking of parts, I think this is gonna be a three-parter.
As soon as I found out, I started telling other comics and everyone I talked to either had their own cancer story or told me about another comic with cancer and I started freaking out. I couldn’t believe how many comics currently have or have had cancer. Then I realized what it was…. it’s the comedy clubs. They’re toxic…. I just want to warn you people, we comics gotta stop working and you need to stop coming here. It’s too friggin dangerous!!! Please step away from the club!!! OK, I kid, don’t stop. Laughter is the best medicine, in fact if you have an illness. Run. Immediately… to your nearest comedy club and get your “meds”. Laugh till it hurts, I swear, you’ll feel better. I’ve many times talked about the author Norman Cousins and his book Anatomy of an Illness. How he helped heal himself of cancer through humor. Good read, check it out.
Anywho…..long story short, so as not to upset the guys with a lot of girly girl talk, I had endometrial endometrial cancer. (uterine cancer). First thing I thought was….Whats a yute (thank you” My Cousin Vinnie ” fans) Actually, like mother, like daughter.
So, I had to have a total hysterectomy, which personally I think should be called a hersterectomy , not a his-terectomy, if you want the name, you take the blame….. if it’s gonna be a his-terectomy, then lets pull your organs out, hey hey hey, I didn’t mean right now mister!! Put that back, or get a room!
So first things first, how I found out…I had some issues. Never ignore your issues. The signs are there and you need to pay them mind!! And that I am MOST serious about. Please don’t ever hesitate going to your doctor if you feel something is wrong. No matter what it is, better safe than sorry always. Don’t self-diagnose. Better to hear “you’re an absolute idiot and a hypochondriac” than “if only you’d have come in sooner”. I am an idiot, but I went in early.
So, I had a little spotting. Nothing really but when you are my age, and you don’t have periods anymore, spotting is an issue. We thought maybe it was an adjustment in my bio-identical hormones. I was taking them for my menopause, which again what are you doing in our “things” it should be wo-menopause, or girlopause, or the pause that refreshes. If you call sweating like a pig refreshing. Yes, lovely menopause, I can’t sleep, I can’t think, I can’t remember anything. I know I just sneezed, so think I just peed. Oh do we even want to go there? We start out in diapers, we end up in diapers. We pee, we have no memory, and we sag. I have wings. On a good blustery day, I can spread my arms and hit about 50 miles an hour. And peeing, fuhgedaboudit!! I shop, I cough, I pee, I run to the car. But the point is there is no men in menopause, well actually there are men in male menopause so I guess I should rewrite this but I won’t!! Let them suffer as we do! Hot flashes… oh this is a whole ‘nother blog!
So back to my original thought… oh yeah, by the way, menopause means you can’t concentrate on one thing at a time either. Have ya noticed that, when you read my blogs? In fact, who left this blog just to pee, ended up looking for something in the fridge, didn’t know why they were even looking in the fridge, closed the door, then said, what did I just put back and do I want some more? Then remembered you were reading something and then tried to find your glasses, thought they might be in the car, opened the door to go out to the car, saw the mail and brought in the bills, started going through them, then remembered you went outside for something else, went out to figure out what, saw the snow shovel and gloves you left out, put them away, came back found your reading glasses hanging on a chain around your neck, and remembered you were reading my blog and now hours later, you’re back??
Good for you, cause I left to go pee too and have been playing with the dog, having a refreshing beverage, decided to go out and clean the dog poop since he won’t do it himself although I keep trying to teach him, and just got back myself. Welcome back to us both!
And that is exactly why this will be a three-parter. In fact, it may be a four-parter now that I’m traveling the roads of my brains nook and crannies. Cause I haven’t even gotten anywhere yet and this is almost time to quit.
In fact, anyone remember what the hell I was saying? Oh yeah, spotting. See, I do eventually find my way back. So the original thought, adjusting my hormones for the spotting, that didn’t do anything. So then, she sent me for an ultra sound, and that showed fibroids. So my doc, a great gal that I love and respect, says we can do a myomectomy. That is a surgery used to remove fibroids and part of the uterus. But since most fibroids are not cancerous and many women have them, I said how bout just cleaning? I don’t want to dump any parts yet. So it was onward for a d and c… for you guys, that’s a spring cleaning, sweeping the womb, vacuuming the house….whatever.
So after I wake up from the d and c, feeling awesome, my doc says, everything looks great, went well, and she will send it to the lab. And home I go for a meal. Even though they already gave me lemonade and cookies. Never skip a meal, worse than skipping an issue.
The next day I’m going to a birthday party for my 85 year old aunt and in the car, on the way, I get the call that they found cancer. Damn those cell phones. Sometimes I yearn for the days when you left the house and you left your communication behind. Nobody texting you, emailing you, calling you. You were just out of contact for a while. Today the kids sit right next to each other and text, oh my god, look up and just speak, how insane is that? We were totally out of touch, incommunicado, when we were your age, walking to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow, barefoot,OMG, Now I am my mother!!! And now that I’m saying it, how did we live like that?? I remember as a young comic going out to road gigs and getting lost and having to get even more lost by getting off a highway and looking for a phone booth in some secluded area where you knew freddie, or jason, or one of those freaks was just waiting for you to get out of your car all alone and chase you with an axe all the way to the comedy club.
Anyway, the doctor calls (and of course now my cell phone goes into my dashboard so anyone in the car hears your conversation) but it was just me and the hubby, and the doc tells me they found cancer and I freak out a little, just a little, AARRGGGGHHHH!!!! Luckily I wasn’t driving or other people would have had more problems than me. Now what? I certainly don’t want to ruin this great old gal’s party we are going to which means I have to pretend everything is fine. So of course what would you do? I started DRINKING!!!!! I don’t mean as a career. I didn’t crawl in a bottle and now this is my AA intervention story. I just mean for getting through this party.
I drank to forget, to try and party, to not ruin the party, and hoped I wouldn’t drink so much that I said obnoxious stupid things like “stop having fun, I have cancer, what is wrong with you people????” But I didn’t, I just drank to take the edge off, to try and have a good time and celebrate the great life aunty had and prayed I would live as long and have as great a life as she did. But you do question it all. Why me? Or really why anyone? As we all know, sometimes it just happens. I don’t care what you eat, what you drink, whatcha do, that damn cancer just shows up. Good person, old person, healthy person, young person, a$$h@le!! Anyone can get it. You should definitely try to do all the right things for your body, but you can’t blame anything or anyone when it happens. I’m healthy, I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 45 years. WHY ME? Well, my mom fought it, so would I. It’s a negative waste of energy. Half the battle is attitude I believe. So I started thinking, cancer shmancer, ahfungoo, which loosely translated means….up yours! Of course, I think that was the alcohol speaking.
So I get through the party, drunk as a skunk and stressed to the max. No one knows but my husband, and the party is over, kisses and hugs, keep my mouth shut, and home I go. I immediately get scheduled for tests. I was going in for an MRI which if you’ve had one, is kinda like being in one of those road runner cartoons where some giant bird is whacking the sides of a bell with a huge sledge hammer while your head is inside. beep beep. The good news is, they let you wear headphones to listen to music and try to drown out the beating. Yeah, that helps, you can still hear the stressed anxiety overdriven beat of your heart!
OK, back to the mri, yes, it’s cancer, yes, they found it, now go and get it! Right now. KILL, Kill, Kill my cancer, Kill my cancer. (Please use the proper Eddie Murphy voice when saying that! LOL. But the decision was to take everything out, ya just never know when that one pesky vicious freakin’ cancer cell sneaks into the pond, swims upstream and decides to pollute the waters of my ovaries.
So I am scheduled for surgery within 3 days. And of course, now I’m on the computer everyday (trying to get my medical degree) by looking up everything I can about cancer…because I am a doctor, or at least I could play one on TV….. anyway I’m trying to find out what it is, how’d I get it, what can I do, what are the stages, who can I call, and are there alternative forms of treatment, and my HMO said, yes there are alternative forms of treatment. but you’ll need to find alternative forms of payment……thank you very much, helpful as always.
OK, this is it for now…. To be continued…. Stop the presses…..Stay tuned. See ya next week, same bat time, same bat station.
Oh and by the way, Have a Very Happy Easter or Passover everyone!!