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2004-07-17 - 7:44 p.m.

Here's the deal:

My sister, Myra Mains, is having a nasty health scare. This means we are all having a nasty health scare. We don't know what the outcome of this will be yet. We are still being dragged around by the heart strings and tortured by the medical community, who are NEVER in as big a hurry to *know* as the patient and the patient's family.

The car accident Myra was in revealed a problem she didn't know she had. She had a bunch of xrays to make sure all her parts were ok after the recent wreck. The hospital called her at work on the 8th or 9th of this month and told her there was something suspicious in the lung area and more tests were needed.

Myra is a long term smoker and has caught much hell from me and from our parents about this destructive, life stealing, filthy habit. She went in for a CT scan of the lungs. The scan showed that something abnormal was indeed in her lungs and not only that, whatever it is has made itself at home and roamed all over her lungs.

Now she has to have a PET scan which is used to identify whether a nodule in the lung is benign or malignant. It will show if anything has spread outside her lungs. It will either rule out cancer, or stage it.

On the good side, she is lucky, because most people don't know they have lung cancer until they are a hopelessly severe case with full symptoms. She is totally asymptomatic and never would have known anything was amiss if it were not for the car accident. If, God forbid, she turns out to have cancer, it is hopefully in the earliest stage where cure rates are high.

Also good, this could be nothing more than scar tissue. She has abused her lungs for more than 20 years. Scar tissue happens. When you smokers out there are having your 2 annual episodes of bronchitis brought on by your crazy need to suck carcinogens into your innocent lungs, you are creating scar tissue. I am hoping to God that it is only scar tissue.

They are likely to not do this PET scan until the middle of next week. That's why I decided to go ahead and write this today. I am having a hard time writing in this journal without telling the truth about what's going on. I haven't posted in 2 days. I tried, but I couldn't come up with anything to say and wasn't ready to let this be known. Myra asked me to go ahead and spill it.

IMPORTANT REQUEST:

Please don't pour on toooo much sympathy, because we will both lose it. Also, if you know any horror stories, please don't tell us about it. We need just positive stuff right now. We're hanging by a thread here. If you know any stories about people who had a horrible scare like this and it turned out to be nothing, please... do tell. If you know any kind of good news, give it. If you know some great stories of people who had this same thing happen with a happy outcome, sock it to us. Wish her well, tell her you'll be praying, say something encouraging, but nothing scary or heart wrenching, please.

We will keep you posted on this as soon as we know anything. We've all been destroyed around here for a good week, but yesterday, for some reason, the three of us (Myra, Bink, and me) have all felt more hope and less fear. Our current peace of mind is very precarious. We could all be in the pit of gloom again at any moment. I think we have managed to put the fear on hold until next week when she gets the PET scan. Next week we will either be elated, or 10 times as scared.

I've learned a lot of stuff about lung cancer and what a deadly silent killer it is. If you are a smoker, try to clear your head for a minute and seriously think about how it would feel to be going through your regular daily life and find out you have something all over your lungs.

You can be thinking about what you're cooking for dinner one minute and wondering who is going to raise your children in the next. It goes from some vague tragic thing that happens to "other people" into harsh fucking reality in a quick second and once something like this happens, you cannot believe you kept on doing something that is KNOWN to cause death and disease! It all gets crystal clear in a nanosecond. As soon as it looks like it may be too late, bingo, you can see what you should have done. It's not something to take a chance with.

Myra is kicking herself right now. On top of being scared, she feels guilty, because we have all begged her to stop smoking and she now can see so clearly how stupid it was to continue and how much easier it would have been to forgo smoking than to have to live this situation. I was more realistic about the dangers than she is, but it has even become more real to me, the rabid non-smoker. I now feel guilty that I didn't just kick her ass until she stopped. It's impossible to make someone else stop smoking if they don't want to, but when something like this happens, how do you not think "I should have done something"? Smoking causes people to die. It's serious.

Now I have to think about the possibility of losing my sister. I have one sibling. We are supposed to live together when we are old. When our parents are gone and our kids are grown with lives of their own, we'd have each other. She has to think about what happens to her kids if this doesn't turn out well. I will raise them in that event, but we are not going there. We are hoping this is just scar tissue. We will even take some emphysema... and you know the situation BLOWS when you are HOPING for emphysema.

Yes kids... when you find yourself hoping for some emphysema, your life has taken a wrong turn.

One more source of hope is that Myra is only 35 and it is not common for someone so young to have lung cancer. It happens, but it's not common. Usually, people are diagnosed between 55 and 65 and usually, they are too far gone to save. We are not near that age group yet, but I'll bet my bottom dollar I won't be willing and happy to face disease and death, even at 55 or 65. I'll still want to live. And so will you, smoker friends.

The parents do not know this is going on. It is best for them to not have to twist in the wind like we are doing, waiting for the medical community to get around to helping us. We want to find out what we're dealing with and then let the parents in on it. Myra thinks they are going to lecture her about how they told her not to smoke. I think they are just going to be devastated. Too devastated to blame.

Now, when her crazy ass pulls through, we're all going to tell her we told her so. But that is for later.

So that's how it's hanging in Teetsville. Not good. Not good at all.

spring - fall

14 This comments thingy doesn't work now because I let my paid membership lapse.

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