“I’m Pac-Man. I’m a hungry, empty ghost.” — Mae
If you are old enough to remember the beginning of Pac-Man, you will understand the chomping sound over the music that rattled your brain. It was the 80’s and it was addicting. And it apparently has survived all these years. Not a good sign for me
In mid-May, I began to bleed and had tons of stomach pain. This continued for weeks. First a trip to my gastroenterologist, then the ER, then a referral to a GYN.
I first found out I had “C” in June 16, 2022. Perhaps it was the shock, it didn’t really register. The GYN nurse called and said I needed to come in because of the results of a biopsy.. When Tai (my hubby) and I got there, the doctor nonchalantly handed me a piece of paper with the words, “You have cancer. You need to see an oncologist.” That was that. What???
From that moment on, every time I thought about it, I could see that little Pac-Man guy chomping away at my insides. Relentless.
Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp .
My dear friend, Pauline told me to visualize a zapper gun zapping them out of existence.
Zap , zap , zap .
The problem was the more I zapped, the more Pac-Man appeared.
Chomp, chomp. Zap, zap. Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp.
She told me to replace the Pac-Man with something positive I love, like flowers . But I’ve never been able to zap them all. So far, Pac-Man wins.
I was referred to an oncologist, who I call Dr. Sam. The unfortunate part was I could not get to see Dr. Sam until June 23rd. Most people will think that is fast, and looking back it probably was. It didn’t feel like it when every 24 hours felt like infinity. By then, I’d been bleeding and in a lot of stomach pain for over four weeks, never letting up. It already felt like it had been going on forever. My anxiety level kept climbing.
I was in pain, and there was the constant Chomp . chomp , chomp . Advice from family and friends started to pour in: “Get a second opinion,” “Go up to Moffit,” “Go to the Sylvester center in Miami.” “Don’t let them give you chemotherapy.” “Take the chemo if it will save your life.” “Try holistic measures instead.” I have no doubt that all these people meant well. They only wanted what was best for me. But it was overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do.
Still, Chomp, chomp, chomp.
In pain and at an anxiety level off the charts, I decided to go the ER at Sylvester Cancer in Miami. Tai put me in the car and we drove the 2 1/2 hours over there from here in Naples. Daughter Terri joined us there, but they would only let one person in with me. The ER did nothing except take my vitals and give me some fluids. After many hours, they told me I was being discharged because all my vitals were good. I lost it – literally. I refused to sign the discharge papers. Two supervisors became three. Arms crossed at the foot of my bed, they said if I did not leave willingly on my own they would have security physically remove me. What could I do? By then I was screaming: “Fix me. Do something.” There answer was, “That’s not the way it is done.” Of course, they may have been correct, but try explaining that to a hysterical, freaked-out woman with cancer.
All the while, Chomp, chomp, chomp.
Eventually we left, and after spending the night with Terri in Miami, we drove straight back to our ER in Naples. The pain was excruciating.
Chomp, chomp, Zap, zap, Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp.
Finally, that ER (3rd in two weeks) gave me something to move my bowels. And wow, the pain was gone. I still had the bleeding and it didn’t cure the cancer, but at least I could breathe.
At last, it was almost time to see Dr. Sam. Let’s save Sam for the next post.
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2 thoughts on “Me versus Pac-Man”
Your bravery in sharing this is off the charts. I know it will help a lot of people facing the same kind of problem. I’m waiting to get into outpatient surgery for a biopsy on my throat Sept 13. That means I’ll have waited a month just to get a biopsy so I know what you mean about timing. It seems not to be urgent to other people. Thank you for sharing. You are in my prayers and your family.
Thanks Leta. And my prayers will be with you too.