This isn't going to be my normal "approach fear with questionable humor" post because I think this day deserves some type of somber recognition that 365 days ago, I didn't think today would exist.
One year ago was a Sunday afternoon and my hypondriatic (not a word, but doesn't it sound like it should be?) self decided a COVID ER was worth getting an answer to a nagging pain in my side and a slight fever. You can read all about that clusterf*ck of a day here. You guys, I was so uneducated on my cancer and my future that I SPELLED EPITHELIOID WRONG.
What does today signify to me? I truly did not think I would be here when I was sitting in that ER bed. The tumor was so large and in such a shitty location that I just didn't see an out. Googling my cancer made my scenario feel even less hopeful. I'm writing today because I truly cannot believe that now I sit on my couch with no evidence of cancer in my body. I'm blogging because this isn't all just due to luck, it's due to a lot of people to whom I will be indebted as long as I get to wake up every morning.
Thank you, Kaiser. Thank you for setting me up in a private ER room that night with snacks, Ativan and zero questions when my off-shift brother charged into the room. Thank you to ER Dr. Snyder for continuously asking my brother for follow up information on me. Thank you for seeing that there was a better choice outside of your system to do my surgery and making sure I never saw a single bill for it. Thank you for allowing patients to choose any doctor they want, which has provided me with a great sarcoma specialist in Santa Clara. This is how healthcare should be for every single American.
Thank you, Dr. Corvera, for looking at my case and seeing a challenge you wanted to accept. Thank you for walking my husband through everything after a hugely long surgery and spending 45 minutes conveying your excitement over how well it went. Thank you for giving me more days on Earth than I had hoped. Thank you to UCSF nurse Devin Bacon for making me feel like a superstar and continuing to check on me even to this day.
Thank you, County of Los Angeles for ensuring your employees have damned amazing healthcare access and time off to take care of their shit. But thank you mostly to my colleagues who covered for me not only during my surgery recovery, but when I had to take a few days off to deal with the news in a haze of weed gummies and anti-anxiety meds.
Thank you, friends who not only reached out a year ago, but those who continue to stick by me today. To the ones who contributed to my fundraiser in June: a fundraiser you recognized as one specifically tailored to just my cancer at a research organization that just wants to see a few more treatment options for people like me. I think about that fundraiser almost daily, because each donation was from a person committed to watching me enjoy a longer life. Thank you to my friends and family who walk me through each scary time without the, "Be Positive!" "You're fine!" " but instead the, "Whatever it is, you've got this" "I'm proud of you," "I understand why you're scared." Cancer is a little bitch, but what it's done is narrowed my group of people down to those who I treasure beyond words. I really hope that I can start doing a better job of showing you all that gratitude.
Thank you, Ben. For everything. There are so many words, but I'd rather tell you at the Piatti bar after a carafe of Chianti because I'm far better at expressing myself then.
What now? I still get scans every three months (and really need to figure out a way to not shut myself inside my home in a cloud of massive anxiety during each one). This is absolutely not over and may have not even truly begun. But I'm still here and I'm healthy right now. I get to face my fear of a post-COVID return to work, facing colleagues in a very small bubble of an industry who know about this past year and hoping it won't change their view of me. I get to *maybe* think of a year from now. I get to have some hope, something I truly would like to spread to fellow sarcoma fighters who find their way to this blog.
TL;dr - Thank you. <3