CHAPTER 3 – #Painfully-Waiting
Alas it was time for Cookie to leave and I was left to fend for myself again. My house seemed like a prison. I was not willing or able to leave and face the real world but at the same time I felt suffocated and could not stand to be in that space all alone. Also the memories of the attempted suicide in my kitchen, the Turkish police, the ambulance, and hospitals: had left me wondering if this place was really my home. So far it seemed like only bad things were happening. There was nothing positive at all about my being there in that space. For the first few months I slept in the living room I was so paranoid. I finally got an alarm system and screens put in but the paranoia was always there. It never went away.
The following week I went back to work. I was not ready to physically but it was more bearable than being at home. Furthermore, I was waiting on my results and would eventually need to speak to my manager – worst case scenario. My surgeon said it would take a few days for the results and so I called and was told they still were not ready and to call back in another couple of days. A few days later, I called (this was now 10 days after the surgery) and I was told they were running spatial tests. Spatial tests??? What the fuck are those??? Of course no explanation from the doctor’s in Istanbul… that was the afternoon of February 13th, 2015. I called Hannie right away. I knew that he would be able to give me some insight. From the tone of his voice I could tell it was not good. (http://www.nature.com/labinvest/journal/v95/n4/full/labinvest2014155a.html) we both knew then and there that I would have to tell my boss that I was going to cancel my trip – 6 weeks of training – in DC. I mustered up the courage and went to his office.
My manager knew about the surgery but of course did not know the reason. I was not ready to tell anyone yet so I just said that I was still waiting on the results but that it would be best to prioritize my health and stay in Istanbul. He was fine with it. Very understanding. I got out of there as quickly as possible as I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I felt like I couldn’t breath. Like I was being crushed. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. When did everything change so brutally and painfully? Why did I need to worry about possibly having a fatal illness? I was only 32! It was then that Zina became one of the most important people in my life. She showed up at the exact right moment. She was placed in my life for a reason. . [Zina is someone that I will never be able to stop thanking for the rest of my life. Had she not been there through my hardest moments I really do believe that I would not have made it. I would have given up and fallen to pieces.]
I ran into her as I was headed to the bathroom to cry. She took one look at me, asked if I was alright, and very quickly and graciously, took me to her desk, gratefully hidden away from the others. She asked me what was going on. I told her everything. What struck her the hardest was that I had been doing it alone. The doctors visits, the waiting, the mental instability, and somehow manage to keep it together. From that day on until I left for London, I never went to another appointment alone. Zina was always there. She was my rock. She took notes for me, asked questions for me and even cried for me. I was a zombie. I was in shock. Everything felt so mechanical. I was in a different universe. A different headspace. I had black out moments randomly throughout the day where for a few seconds I did not know where I was or what I ahead been doing. My mind was so overwhelmed that I could not function. I was literally in the twiLight zone and could barely wrap my head around what was going on. Wait I may have cancer? They are running extra tests? What the fuck are spatial tests? Why don’t they just tell me something???
The waiting is what makes it all worse. We have all be there where we think ‘oh my goodness, if I have not already gotten the results there must be something wrong with me.’ ‘why isn’t the doctor calling?’ ‘what could it be?’ ‘am I dying?” I even went as far as to write my Eulogy. You might think that makes me sound crazy? Well I will share it with you in my next chapter. I had no idea what to think and at the time not many people to confide in. My brother, Zina, Cookie and Nicole kept saying just wait and see. You do not know what it is so stop making yourself crazy and just wait. It’s like telling a 3 year old that he needs to wait to go potty because mommy isn’t done getting her nails done! And you know what happens then right? Yup. Explosive diarrhea everywhere!