No, it wasn't enough that I was starting to feel good about things, when WHAM. It felt like The Alien was going to fly through my stomach and Sigourney Weaver would be running down the hall at work any second now. I started to sweat profusely from my forehead. I was having trouble following my conversation with Aimee. What the hell is going on in my stomach?
This wasn't the first time it happened. It happened last week when I was in Rehoboth Beach on vacation. I just thought my stomach felt like it was going to explode because I tried to eat everything they were cooking on the Boardwalk. I mean EVERYTHING. I was trying to see what I could taste, swallow and get down my throat––my taste buds were getting tastier and I really thought my saliva was coming back a little––and I was full. Hadn't been that way in a while. But after 3 sleepless nights, the pain went away. OK. No more Boardwalk Fries, ice creams as big as my head and coconut fried shrimp.
The look on Aimee's face went from intent on making her point to one of "I don't think anyone's supposed to be that shade of pale." I was trying to gain my composure so I could tell her I wasn't feeling too good all of a sudden. But all I could do was wipe my forehead and try to remember to breathe because the Alien was about ready to hatch. "Are you OK?" "No, my stomach is killing me." "We can do this another time." "Yeah, that would be good." "Can I get anything for you?" "No. I think I'll go to the bathroom."
I wasn't in there long. Maybe a minute. Just enough time for the word to spread that I was in pain and hopefully not on the bathroom room floor squirming like a worm or even worse, passed out. Leah gave me the "you aren't driving anywhere, we'll get you a cab" directive and everyone else was trying to help me. But my mind was made up. I need to get myself the fuck outta here, because Sigourney Weaver was nowhere in sight.
I called Teresa, who called the doctor––our offices are closed between 12 noon and 1 PM––and as I found out when I got home, wasn't feeling so hot herself. Finally, as I was getting into more comfortable clothes, Teresa gets hold of the Doctor's office––but half the Doctors are on vacation. Perfect. "We'll ask our Nurse and she'll call back." (They called back @ 3:32 PM––26 hours later.) Teresa said the nurse could call back in 10 minutes or an hour. We'll give them 10 minutes, then it would be off to Reston Hospital Center.
Thank God I didn't wait. I was in the ER and in a bed with an needle in my arm by 2:30. Exactly one year to the day of my diagnosis. As I looked at the clock in the hospital, I had a hardy chuckle. This is unfuckingbelievable! After an ultra sound and x-rays and some kick-ass pain medication, the verdict was in: gallbladder disease, with gall stones. And for the coup de grau, the PA comes in and says, "oh, they also found a 4 mm cyst on your left kidney." OK, where's the hidden camera. Who's really trying to mess with me here? I'm on some good shit, but this is really giving me a buzz kill.
I looked at Teresa, Adam and Ryan––my two oldest boys who rushed to the hospital to be with me and their Mom––and said, "can you believe this shit?" They had that "Dad's in the hospital again and I'm really trying to be cool here, but this sucks" look in their eyes. Teresa was trying to be comforting and positive but I could see deep down she was worried for me. (I always tell her not to worry and she tells me she'll worry about what she wants to worry about. That's one of the reasons why I love her. She's no pushover.) But hey, I'm still here and I'll get this taken care of just like the head & neck cancer and the skin cancer. Out. Over. Done. This was just my body's way of giving me a "present" on my cancerversary.
Gee, thanks. Rat bastard.