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  • Writer's pictureKate

Official Diagnosis: I Have a Kick-Ass Cardiovascular System

Updated: Apr 22

Okay, update and musings on the similarities between contractors and highly specialized cancer doctors and what do to if you are grounded for a month. And a couple other things. In a word, a rambling post.

The chemo and Car-T cell treatment that required me to spend five weeks in Houston did a number on me.

Super low red blood cell counts which caused a blood clot in my lung, That means no flying for a month. I am taking blood thinners which will take care of the blood clot. Still, I had to cancel my trip to New York for my grad school class reunion this past weekend (Apriil 18-20).. I learned all of this the preceding weekend (April 12 and 13th--at least my taxes were done!)

So, no trip for me. However, I DID get to attend one part of the class reuinon via Zoom and that, actually, was surprisingly rewarding. Like the actual reunion, it did reconnect me with some of my classmates and has motivated me to do a better job of staying in touch with the classmates I've stayed in contact with over the years.

AND the no fly rule means I have to miss Spring Bank for work day this coming weekennd! Which means I miss all the conversation , entertainment and casseroles.

So, encouraged by my intrepid friend Niki, I am putting in an island in my kitchen here in Park City.

I've completed my speedsheet with what I need to buy and what needs to get done. I've met with Niki's contractor and have visited a number of show rooms for what I do want.

Now, here is the similarity between cancer doctors specializing in rare diseases and contractors. Once the hump of the work is over, they lose interest. I mean, not TOTAL interest, they are still taking care of me. But y'know, they have sicker people to take care of, so I'm lower priority. And I am GLAD that I am in such good shape! To be clear, I am going to have to continue some treatment for the more treatable cancer they believe is still in me and they can't be totally sure if they've blown all the really nasty stuff out, so I am still waiting to hear what my ongoing cure is going to be like. Which is a little nerve-racking.

I talked to other friends who have been cured of cancer and also have experienced the phenomenon of how it feels to be a lower priority patient. Mainly, I think it is funny, but I won't include that in any stand up comedy routine that my MD Anderson doctors are attending because I am extremely and forever grateful to them for saving my life. But, I do have an irreverent streak in me that is just impossible to suppress and I don't want to suppress it anymore!

However, this is a reminder to everyone to be a very aggressive patient. If I hadn't been a patient who asks questions, I would not have gotten the blood test at one of those walk in clinics that revealed that some of my blood counts were so low that the doctor who read them called me and told me to go straight to the ER. I was supposed to DJ that night. That meant tha that an hour before I went on the show I had to text KPCW and say "I am going to the ER, I can't DJ."

And the thing is, I was filing in for another DJ who had gotten laryngitis!

And at the ER they redid the blood tests and were like, you're at risk for a blood clot in your lung. So they did a CT scan and yup, That's what was going on.

So thank God I'm a pushy broad. I'm being a pushy broad in other parts of my life and that is really irritating folks who were used to the not-making-waves Kate. And I'm like, well, this is the actual me, and it's the way I'm gonna stay.

Now I know some of you might say, Kate , you were a pushy reporter But in those instances I was being pushy in the name of whoever I was working for. That's the difference.

Ditto I could be a loudmouth at parties. Again, that was just at parties where everyone was being a loudmouth and I just blended in.

Being pushy means getting on podcasts, writing essays about myself and even blogging about myself with you guys--because you give me support. But all of that violates the Wisconsin modesty ethic and the don't-ask-for-help ethic I was brought up in. You're not supposed to call attention to yourself . You're supposed to help others.

Well, you can talk about yourself but it is often in a passive aggressive way. And I HATE it when people do that. So I am putting boundaries between myself and people who are passive aggressive with me. And working hard at being direct myself.

Guess what. AI has a passive aggressive filter. And I'm using it. I'm even using it on myself and you know what? Sometimes I'm a little passive aggressive too! Well, no one ever said being self aware was fun!

Anyway, I think being a pushy broad is lifesaving.

So yesterday (Sunday) I was cleaning my garage (having a garage is both a gift and a responsibility) and I was moving stuff around and running to Ace Hardware to get storage bins and I felt winded again. And I thought, you know, maybe I should have them check my blood again--because during my ER visit, the doctors had considered going me a transfusion.

I also was scheduled to DJ yesterday afternoon--again, because another DJ got sick.

So, on my way to KPCW to DJ, I stopped at the walk in clinic again.

I had to say, "Can you get me out in half an hour, please?" And I explained about having to totally cancel DJing l the weekend before. And they were SO patient with me! They let me come back after my show.

So I had more tests done--blood tests, EKG, walking test-done yesterday and the doctor who read them just called me.

She told me that I am going to have to give my body time to recover from everything it's undergone. It'll take 90 days. So, taking iron, eating red meat and being patient. Guess what's the hardest. Anyway, now I know I can't try to run Imogene this year. I'll just volunteer.

Also, she said, looking over notes in which I told the PA at the walk-in clinic about doing power walking in which I mostly walk but do intervals of jogging.

"You are in really amazing shape!" she said, given the low levels of this and that in my blood. "You have a kickass cardiovascular system."

So, that went into my gratitude journal! And this blog (now am I being passive aggressive? Oh dear, a new rabbit hole for me to burrow into!)

Meanwhile, back to pitching essays, podcasts and learning about Facebook advertising. And writing! And loving the life that the original diagnosis drop kicked me into!

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