What a day, part two
I've known I've needed this surgery since February, but I've had some challenges to get it done. I only work part time, and stretching a part time income to cover a full time life has its challenges. Part time work is not what I'd prefer, but in this economy, it definitely beats unemployment. I've had to plan when and how I could take the time off. My company, like most, doesn't offer insurance to part time employees. I've tried for years to get independent health coverage, but insurance companies refuse to cover me. For awhile, I was able to get Tenncare, my state's Medicaid program, but I was one of the many people they dropped. It was through Tenncare that I was able to join Weight Watchers which contributed to my 100 + pound weight loss that has now been maintained for four years. I actually used insurance when I had it to get healthier, which made it easier for me to get a job and be productive. I've often wondered if I had been able to continue if I would have lost more weight and broken that barrier of medical obesity which disqualifies me for independent insurance. (That was my mini-rant for the day.) Tenncare has made it harder for people to get coverage though.
For a woman without minor children, the only way to qualify is to have either breast or cervical cancer or be at a high risk pre-cancerous stage of either. My condition was called endometrial hyperplasia, a pre-cancerous abnormal thickening of the uterine lining. Now the cervix is part of the uterus, but that specific part was in sound health. It was just centimeters above it where things were going wrong. On a very simplified level, a tiny distance determined my ability to have health insurance.
So enough with the back story, I went to my doctor's appointment. The three hour drive from my tiny town in west Tennessee is gorgeous, especially on a beautiful early fall day, and it took away a lot of my stress from my pre-dawn morning events. I am severely directionally challenged and had Googled directions the night before. There was only one problem. My doctor's clinic has two locations, and Google didn't send me to the right one. I love Nashville, but hate driving around it. It's a city connected by circles of overlapping highways, and if you get on the wrong circle, God help you. The inside part of the city isn't much better, and with help from the clinical staff, I finally got to my appointment two minutes before I was supposed to be there. The full on panic attack had me dripping sweat, so I could forget about that looking good for confidence thing.
Finally back in the doctor's examining room, it was confirmed that I'm healing well and the ongoing soreness, fatigue and abdominal issues are par for the course. What I also found out was that my tissue tests showed that my condition had progressed, and there were definite cancer cells found, though they hadn't advanced to a visible to the naked eye level. What this means for now is two gynecologist appointments a year instead of one for now and there will be no hormone therapy for menopause. My immediate reaction was, "I am one of the lucky ones." If I hadn't had a period that left me hemorraghing with blood rolling down my legs for a week, I would have thought my other symptoms were just normal for perimenopause. I could have ignored seven months of daily spotting and other heavy periods, and this thing would still be growing inside me.
My mood was nearly giddy when I left, heading to nearby Franklin, where my sister lives. Franklin used to be a small town of beautiful historic houses, but it has grown to a large, sprawling suburb. There I got to visit with my nephew, and after my sister finished her work day, she bought me two new and much needed tires for my car. While waiting at the tire shop, I was reading The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry. His beautiful prose on reconnecting to the sacredness of the land of his childhood home took me to a place of deep tranquility. I was sitting outside on a bench. Traffic was heavy, loud and the odor of new tires and engine fumes filled the air. I could have chosen to be stressed and annoyed. It didn't matter that I couldn't see, hear and smell the woods of the fields and hollows that Berry, a master of the mot juste, was walking. I had one of those times when I knew that all places are sacred even when we people scar them. In the most mundane of settings through an exceptional writer, God showed God-self to me, and I felt awed and humbled.
Back to my sister's house and a laughter filled dinner with her family, and it was time for me to hit the road. Now my sister had already spent a good chunk of money on me today. As a get well gift a few weeks ago, she gave me a new iPad 2. Earlier this year, she had given me a Kindle. As a parting gift yesterday, she gave me a cover for the iPad and a gift of cash. I haven't had a paycheck in over a month now, and well, it's been tight around here. She had already paid my last utility bill. Another relative bought my gas for the drive to Nashville and home for the day. All of this made the first hour of my drive home rather challenging because the tears would not stay contained.
I got home about 10:30 last night. My stomach was hurting. I was stiff and sore all over. There was still more water to mop up. Almost all of my makeup and many personal supplies had been ruined in the plumbing snafu from the morning. The cat had managed to open the refrigerator door and have a little food raid while I was away. My dog, who is now ten years old, had not made it through the day without an accident.
All I could say was, "I have been blessed."