You’ll never believe what happened now. Never in a million years.
It’s not enough that my body has suffered through booby amputation, no pain medication post-surgery, constipation, diarrhea, mouth sores, and baldness. We HAD to add insult to injury.
As you may remember, part of my treatment program engages a “Wellness Plan” which, for me, includes hiking.
Hiking gives me energy and fuels my soul.
So, on a beautiful, sunny morning, I went on a wonderful hike with friends and our dog Buzz. The exercise and fresh air felt great. I came home and took our 4 3/4 daughter to school. Then, ate a good breakfast and even took a nap.
Well, well, well. I woke up with unexplained pain in my left shoulder. It was a stabbing, very sharp pain. I thought it was FBC related (rational thinking, I supposed).
I went to the bathroom to look in the mirror at my shoulder because I couldn’t figure out what in the world was causing the sharp pains.
To my utter shock and bewilderment, I saw a F-bomb TICK sticking out of my shoulder. The F-bomb insect did a face plant into my shoulder. My shoulder! It’s lower torso was sticking up in the air.
I am not kidding. I could not make this up.
I’ve lived and hiked here for six years. Never a single tick.
I finally get back on the trails and a F-Bomb TICK climbs under a scarf and two layers of long-sleeved clothing to suck the blood out of my bony shoulder.
Well, let me tell you: The joke’s on him for getting a mouth full of my chemo blood!
At this point, this whole situation is a comedy of the absurd.
A little background: growing up in the middle of Indiana, Hoosiers are exposed to ticks all summer long. Despite growing up with them, among them, I have always had an issue with ticks. They freak me out. Completely and utterly.
So, when I saw the little F-bomb sticking out of my shoulder, I immediately went into a dissociative, multiple personality state and argued with myself about who and how to get it off of me. The conversation with myself went like this:
- “YOU GET IT..”
- “No, I haaaaate ticks.”
- “I DON’T CARE. YOU HAVE TO GET IT OUT.”
- “I caaaaaan’t!”
- “DO IT NOW.”
- “FINE. I’LL DO IT. WILL YOU AT LEAST GET ME THE TWEEZERS?”
Fortunately, the stronger of my two personalities won the argument and I found my best tweezers and pulled the sucker (pun intended) out.
When I told my Oncologist about this (immediately post-extraction), he said that though the list of cancer and chemo insults is potentially endless, he hadn’t thought about this one. He collaborated with my Internist to discuss what I should do.
In the meantime, I immediately took a long, hot, soapy shower followed by a wild Google search to learn about Lyme disease.
Were you already thinking about that?
I bet that Oncologists don’t spend a lot of time discussing tick bites at their annual conferences….just a guess.
This morning, I went to see my Internist. Little did I know, he is a tick expert.
We looked at photos of ticks (I’ll spare you from these) and, as if in a lineup, I identified my assailant as a deer tick. Contrary to the locals of Santa Barbara, Lyme Disease does indeed exist here (though rarely). Rarely is the key word.
Since being diagnosed with FBC, I’ve seemingly had every possible “rare” reaction. SO, my Internist decided to prescribe an antibiotic to prevent Lyme Disease…just in case. As I was leaving, he told me to keep a close eye on the bite spot for signs of infection. Oh, FFS.
Stay tuned for the next episode of “The Perils of Pauline.”