It has been a crazy month of emotions. I was never really able to relish in the fact that my tumors were gone because I was sucker punched with the shock of having to get radiation.
Not only was I scared of radiation (and still am), but the surprise of having to get it brought back every doubt and fear about the reality of cancer and mortality. I was in despair for a couple of weeks. Not just sad – in despair.
By the second week, I knew I had to make some changes in my thought patterns. Mike and I talked a lot about spirituality and discipline (especially of positive thinking), and I began to work on myself.
That week was a difficult one. I had 2 doctor’s appointments each day. Monday’s was with my recently assigned radiologist. I’ve never been so deflated in a doctors office before. Usually I am so turbo, gung ho, ready to fight. This time I was quiet and sad. Thank God Mike was there to be my advocate and thank God the doctor herself was incredibly competent and empathetic. When she told me the astounding news that radiation will give me a 95% success rate (of no recurrence), I BURST out into tears, bawled my eyes out and cried “thank you so much!”
That Wednesday, I met with my GI doctor – Dr. Stollman himself – Fecal Man. The man with a plan. The inventor of the Fecal Transplant.
That’s right people. You heard it correctly. There’s only one way for me to get rid of my C-Dif infection. I have a superbug that is immune to antibiotics. It won’t go away. After 3 months of super antibiotics, my last resort is to get a “fecal transplant”.
Our bodies are biomes – ecosystems that have a balance of good flora and bad flora. When I was hospitalized last Christmas, I had no immune system and couldn’t stop bad flora from taking over. Because of the chemo, my immune system was never strong enough over the following months to fight the bad shitty flora (pun intended). So, I have to find a donor who has balance in his flora. They eliminate all of my shitty shit and replace it all with the donor’s perfect shit. Can you guess who the ideal donor is? Hint: it gives a whole new definition to the word “marriage”.
This Dr. Stollman was the most positive, confident doctor I’ve ever met. His science is entirely backed by research and his numbers are amazing (>90% success rate). He asked, “do you know how I know this is going to work for you?” “Because you respond positively when you are actually on the antibiotics. Do you know why else?” “9 out of 10, baby. That’s the success rate. 9 out of 10.” Not only did he give me a whole new realization on what 90% means (it means HECK YEAH BABY), but he told me that I am the poster child for C-dif.
He then asked me if I would like to be in a documentary film. No lie.
Picture me in your health class movie, on your latest Sutter Health billboard (just kidding), or on Discovery or PBS in a medical movie about “War In Our Bodies” and how medicine is starting to figure out ways to kill super bugs without the use of antibiotics. I’ll be there. Filming and the procedure with my donor (aka Mike) take place this Friday at 2pm. I’m in contact with my producer as we speak. Watch out No Name, the C-Dif Poster Child is in the Bay Area now (but thanks for the pointers in the contract).
By the end of the appointment, I was not only hopeful, but LAUGHING. This gave me something to grab onto. Something to laugh at and smile about. And that “9 out of 10, baby” reassurance can be applied to radiation, too. So although I will most likely need therapy at the end of all of this, at least I’ve come out of my despair. I’m a crier now, but not depressed. I just REALLY feel emotion – happy, mad, frustrated, sad..you name it. It comes out. I’m trying hard not to keep it in. Im trying hard to find things to be positive about – and make myself smile.
PS. And friends make it all that much easier. Love you guys.
PPS: And Mike, thanks for all the shit you’re giving me.