I'm a meticulously private person, which is weird when considering I host a blog, am a producer, and have a good following on social media. If you notice, I'm able to still hide myself despite the notoriety by writing about topics other than myself, not being the sole focus of photos, and posts on my social media outlet, featuring the work as opposed to be featured in the work. Yet sometimes I feel the need to open up a little and let people in. this is one of those times.
I just got back from my mother's oncology appointment at NYU Langone (amazing facility and staff btw) with an update on her condition. I didn't want to wait to write this as I wanted to capture my raw emotions as I experienced them, to be able to look back on these entries and relive these moments. Writing is also a major form of release for me, though I don't have a journal or anything to convey my thoughts and feelings. I have a photographic / eidetic memory with certain types of thoughts, so a journal isn't necessary.
I guess 9 /11 claims another victim, even so many years later. I attended school at BMCC and my mother worked for the State during 9/11. She wasn't there that day but I was, saw the 2nd plane fly over my head, crash, the chaos. I don't think anyone could forget that. I went back to school 2 weeks after it happened and my mom went back to work about 1 week after 9/11. She worked closer to the WTC than my school, which is telling as my school was only 3 blocks away. Fast forward 22 / 23 yrs, I'm in the WTC Health Monitoring program for chronic Rhinitis and now my mom was JUST accepted for Bladder Cancer. Of which after removing her bladder, right lymph node and having a hysterectomy, the Urothelial tumor have spread into her lung. Chemo to begin again soon, but it's a losing battle, we know. My father passed away from Pancreatic Cancer back in 2007 but he wasn't in my life that much so it wasn't felt as strongly as this eventually will.
How am I coping? I'm tough, extremely strong female. I don't like showing too much emotion in front of others, including the small circle of close friends I have.I don't want my mom to see me cry, so she won't get triggered and start crying or having to relive the past 7 year battle with this cancer shit. I'm used to fending for myself, being the brave soul who ventures out and has crazy adventures, etc. I'm resilient, smart and all that. But really, I wanna just break down and cry. Run into some big, strong yet gentle man's arms and just let him hold me, silently, for hours...
How's she coping? It's hard to say. But she has companionship in Gaea, her 18 yrs old (young) calico cat. Gaea was once my cat when she was 6 months old, I adopted her from my old job, the ASPCA. I was going through a rough patch & wanted to give her up for stupid reasons which I'll keep private. My mom said she'd keep her, and here we are, 18 yrs later & that cat looks like a frigging kitten, is amazing at watching over my mom. The 1st convo we had when we got home today from the oncologist, and really discussed a bit of the future, my mom said she worried who would take care of Gaea when she's gone. That's the FIRST thing she thought about. Of course Gaea will stay with me, that's a no brainer, but man, if you have a fur-baby or are thinking of getting one, don't hesitate, get more, adopt don't shop, it'll save your life, your heart & your sanity someday.
This shit is exhausting to say the least, always having to hide myself, keep my thoughts to myself, etc. I'm not an open person (I'm a Sagittarius on the Scorpio Cusp fyi, and both signs are very mysterious and hide things too well. But we're trustworthy, loyal to a 'T', bold, don't like sugar coating anything, and will know if you're trying to BS us. So buyer beware, I'm totally equal parts of both). Again, I'm NOT an open person, I show people what I want them to see, but I agreed to let you all get this tiny glimpse of me.
Anyhoo, my mother starts chemo in 2 weeks. It'll be a different chemo than last time, less heavy on the kidneys but stronger potency against the tumor. Won't know the effect or anything until she starts treatment and future follows up. See how it goes, see if the tumor, this one fucking little tiny menace that causing all this BS, will shrink up and never come back. But we all know it will. Someday, which could be 1 month or 10 years, we never know. But someday, that little shit is going to come back and take her from me, from this world, from this universe..
Let's rewind. She first got a tumor, low grade, back around crica 2016 / 2017. There was a weird feeling, like constant pressure in her abdomen, some blood while going to the bathroom and she told me back then, she knew this was something. She received BCG a type of oceanic bacteria that teaches the body that cancer cells are bad, stop growing them! This worked for about 7 years. Fast forward, her original doctor, NOT anyone from NYU Langone, but a private doc, missed something and it spread throughout her bladder and one half of a right lymph node. He didn't have the technology these large hospitals have, not his fault and not our fault we didn't think to get another opinion as things went well for years. So doctor said there's he can't do anything further and referred us to NYU Langone which was such a game changer. If you're sick, I encourage you seek 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th opinions, go to reputable hospitals where their research and technology is far advanced! If you were at 9/11 between sept 2001 and May 2002, get into the WTC Health Program STAT!!
NYU Langone helped; is helping as best they can. They cut out organs, added more immuno therapy, etc etc. Now they're helping using genome typing to find out the genetics of the tumor so they can see what drugs it's resistant to or will be more effective without my mom even having to take the drugs, in addition to the chemo that is. They also will try her on that new experimental game changing drug from the UK that's effectively curing a large amount of cancer. The UK also has a soap made by a fucking brilliant teenager that cures skin cancer! The stuff the UK has on cancer treatment / cures are game changing, the stuff America has on AIDS / HIV treatment are, again, game changing. She is considered to be stage 4 which isn't yet terminal but it just means the cancer spread to an organ other than where it originated. So she has bladder cancer urothelial cells from a bladder she no longer has, in her right lung.
I plan on writing 2 or 3 more blogs about this to depict my thoughts / our journey as things progress and a final one, when this chapter finally ends. I wrote this straight through, no edits so sorry for the grammerical mistakes. See? I didn't even spell 'grammatical' right.
I did not post every part of our story here, but I am cognizant of others out there, going through this as well. So please feel free to reach out to me, privately, on my social media or here in the comments, slide into my DMs as it were, if you need help, advice, recommendations or help on entering the WTC Health Monitoring program or VCF 9/11 Victims fund. I am all about knowledge and thoroughly educating people, helping where ever I can, so I don't mind if you reach out. sometimes, talking with complete strangers is easier than talking with people you've known for eons.
Advice for now, live, LIVE your fucking lives to thee fullest! Don't wait until you're old to take that special trip, don't wait to tell someone how you feel about them, be brave, do something scary everyday, build that confidence, build yourself up, learn to ditch those toxic asshats in your life so they don't pull you down with them and drown you.
I always tell people you have one life, ONE. It doesn't matter your religion, your race (though there's no such thing as race really. science fact, look it up), who you are, what you are.. Or even if you believe in reincarnation, you will only have this one life, this one chance, in your one body, with the one varying groups of people you will interact with throughout this one life. You will never have this again, so appreciate it, learn from it, live with it.. Ciao folks...