My Necrotic Ovary

It’s a good title for a grunge song, right? “My Necrotic Ovary.” Belongs as a lyric along with the other mediocre lines in “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Yes, mediocre. “A mosquito, my libido.” These words changed the face of music in the 90’s? Give me a break. At any rate, it’s not of importance cause no matter how I try, I only hear the music to “My Funny Valentine,” when I sing, “My Necrotic Ovary.”

I haven’t written in a while. Not that there hasn’t been a lot going on.  There was and is the pandemic. Unprecedented and all that - home schooling, masks, gloves, Lysol, toilet paper, vaccines, Delta variant, etc. We got a COVID dog. Penny. She’s a French bulldog and her name on the adoption website was Paris. Would you have expected anything less from this Francophile? She’s perfectly flawed with a crooked jaw, a tongue that hangs out, deeply affectionate and pissed on our dining room rug so many times we had to get rid of it. Not the classiest French lady. Maybe she’s French Canadian.

On June 19, 2020, I got sober. Just quit on the spot. Some of my metastases are in my liver, and my bloodwork wasn’t ideal, so I told my friends to hold me accountable and I quit to spare the liver. I’d had enough to drink for a lifetime anyway, and now I get invited everywhere because I’m a free, sober Uber. I keep waiting for the cops to pull me over with my carload of drunk concert-going friends. I’m dying to take the sobriety test, walk that straight line and yell at the cops, “That’s right! I’m sober, bitch!” It’s my competitive nature. I think law enforcement would appreciate the spirit, without having drunk the spirits. (See what I did there? 😉)

I moved to a vegan/plant-based/anti-inflammatory diet in July. So, I drink water and eat grass. Sometimes for shits and giggles I throw in a grain. No, honestly, it’s not that bad. It’s more comical than anything. The Parisian-wanna-be doesn’t do wine or cheese. Course when I do return to Paris, I’m throwing out all these dietary restrictions for the duration of my visit. They’ll go the way of my nipples, my first two sets of breasts and my right ovary (don’t worry, I’m getting to that fickle, almond-sized organ).

In February, UConn Health loaned me out to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to participate in a drug trial that was aimed at targeting one of the mutations in my tumors. The drug tore through my lesions, decreasing them by 26% in the first six weeks. My tumor markers were the lowest I had seen in nearly nine years, and I was posting numbers close to a healthy human being. But cancer cells are smart little bitches, and the metastatic ones are like Jeopardy!’s all-time champions. The metastatic ones are wicked smart. And I do mean wicked. My drug was killing the cells with that one specific mutation, but the other mutations caught on quickly, and caught UP quickly. They filled in, where the dead ones left off. Less than four months later, I was back where I started – same lesions, same size. On the bright side, I got to leave the state of CT for the first time in over a year to participate in the study. Turns out, not much had changed on I-90 in Massachusetts.

Mid-summer I reported back to UConn Health and started on my newest drug. The first cycles of my bloodwork look good, the drug appears to be working and aside from some painful foot and hand callousing and burning, the side effects are relatively minimal. I’ve been going about my usual daily activities, driving kids to and from every practice under the sun, and I’ve felt really healthy and strong.

BUT clearly I did some nasty “eye for an eye” or crazy voodoo shit to someone in a past life because I keep handing over body parts to the karmic gods. Last Wednesday, I was going about my business, walking Penny, when I felt such malaise that I actually contemplated calling Dave and asking him to pick me and the dog up at the end of the block. Within two hours Dave and I were in the emergency room, with me writhing in pain, hollering in agony and holding a death grip on the bed rails of the gurney. I can tell you, but I can’t fully articulate to you, the mind’s journey when you are admitted to the emergency room, with the worst pain of your life, in your abdominal area (near the liver) when you are living with stage IV cancer.

Of course, the story didn’t end there. And despite the unbearable pain, middle of the night surgery, and inconvenient recovery, the story’s end is a good one. I got my ovary in a twist, cut off all its blood supply, and therefore it was removed. The nurses in recovery called it a “gnarly” specimen. The doctor’s assessment was, “torsed, black and necrotic.” Also known as twisted, dark and dead. Kind of like the karmic gods humor.

But I’m still laughing.

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