Gone Before You Were Here



We had only known about our little miracle for 3 short weeks. Two of which were spent with a lot of worry and uncertainty. I went to the emergency room on August 2nd, 8 days after we got those life changing 2 pink lines, for some light bleeding. Of course the nervous new mom-to-be side of me was freaking out, and the rational side of me was saying, “some bleeding in the first 12 weeks is totally normal, you’re going to be fine, the baby’s fine.” However I still brought myself in to be checked out. My hCG levels came back normal for being 4wks 6days along. I was assured the bleeding would stop anywhere from a few days to a week. It didn’t. I called my OB’s office on day 10 of bleeding and asked if this was still “normal” first trimester bleeding. I was told if there was no pain / heavy cramping, or clots bigger than a nickel, it was normal.

Sunday August 14, 2016.

The day started as any normal Sunday in our house does. Woke up, made some coffee, and hung around in bed figuring out what we wanted to do for the day. It had been raining since the day before and didn’t look like it was going to clear up anytime soon. We decided to go get lunch at this Mexican place I love because momma was craving a burrito. From there we decided on what everyone else seemed to have landed on for the day as well; food shopping. We stopped at Red Box, picked up a couple movies and began weaving around the hordes of people and their little mini-me’s in Kroger’s. I started to feel a little weird. Not quite crampy, not quite painful either. Just, weird. my mood shifted and Julian noticed and asked if I was ok. I said I think so and shook it off and kept shopping. We finished what we needed from there and made our way to Walmart to finish up the rest of the list. Go figure, Walmart carries things I need dietary-wise that a major grocery store doesn’t. About 20 minutes into that trip around 6pm I felt that feeling again. Only it was stronger and located around my right ovary. I thought it may be a gas bubble or something. Since becoming pregnant I always felt super gassy (one of the fun things no one tells you about pregnancy). I figured it was just the burrito coming back to haunt me, no big deal. As we finished the shopping and were waiting online to pay I had to use the bathroom twice in a 20 minute span. I was bleeding a little more than I had been the last 12 days, and this pain was starting to become VERY uncomfortable. It was starting to go down my right leg and halfway up my right side to the bottom of my ribcage, which I still was shaking off as a major gas bubble. We got home and I took some gas-relief pills that seemed to kinda take the edge off. After a half hour the pain / discomfort went away. We put on a movie and about half way trough at around 845pm, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t lay down, I couldn’t walk. The pain was unbearable. Shooting down my right leg and all along my right side. I felt delusional, I spiked a fever, I got so clammy and sweaty I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. The nausea was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I just wanted, needed it to stop. I must have looked like I was having an exorcism from the look on Julian’s face. My poor sweet man had no idea what to do or how to help me, because I didn’t even know what was happening to me. He finally said he was taking me to the ER. I had protested several times earlier. He didn’t know what else to do. I agreed. To the emergency room!
We got to the ER, they took blood, they did a pelvic exam, and an emergency ultrasound where they wouldn’t let Julian stay in the room for or let me look at the screen. I was told “it’s probably just a cyst you didn’t know you had that burst.” The ultrasound tech had extremely good poker face, to which I told her that and she said, “it takes a lot of practice to get this good, especially dealing with situations like this.” Right there. That’s when I knew she gave me a clue as to what she was looking at, whether she knew it or not. We still held onto the hope that it was just a cyst. After an hour of agonizing waiting together alone in my little exam room went by, my doctor came back in. I saw it on her face before she even said a word. It wasn’t a cyst. I was having a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. My baby was growing in my right fallopian tube. S/he never made its way down into my uterus, and I had been given 2 options on how to remove it. Medically with 2 injections, in my butt, of a drug called Methotrexate. Or surgically go in remove my entire right fallopian tube. My heart sank. Hit that cold hospital room floor. Hard. I felt sick and I couldn’t bring myself to even look at Julian. I reached for his hand but I couldn’t look at him or I’d lose it. I felt like such a failure. To him, and to our baby. I couldn’t stop his pain and I couldnt save our baby. I felt awful. You always hear and read about these things happening to other people, but you never in a million years expect you’ll be one of them.
The dr assured me it’s not my fault. Logically I knew that. Of course I didn’t do this. We were trying for a baby, I have done everything RIGHT. I took a prenatal vitamin and added DHA everyday. I was SO good with remembering my thyroid meds to bring myself out of hypothyroidism in order to conceive. I don’t smoke, I hadn’t drank in months. I was eating vegetables for gods sake (if you know me, I don’t eat anything green; unless its an avocado). But the irrational side of me overshadowed the rational side. I was blaming myself so hard. I really hated my own body that night. I wanted to take it off and leave it there. It betrayed me. It betrayed Julian. Worst of all, it betrayed our child. When I could finally look at Julian, all I could say was “I’m so sorry.” For about 2 days, that was all I could say to him. It hurt to look him in the eyes. He was so sad. He said he was just thankful that he brought me in and that it didn’t rupture. We didn’t know how serious this was until the doctor had told us if it had ruptured at home, it would have been fatal to me. So, silver lining I guess?
After the news, all I wanted to do was run. Unless you’ve been in this situation, you can’t even begin to understand the pain, guilt, and sadness that comes with it. I know I was only 7 short weeks into my pregnancy, and I know that stupid saying “yeah, you had it bad, but someone else has it worse.” But my baby had limbs (little buds was more like it, but limbs were forming), its brain and heart were forming. As Dr. Seuss said “a person is a person, no matter how small.” This was our little person. The worst thing someone can possibly say is “you can always get pregnant again.” I know that. But we wanted this pregnancy. We wanted this baby. I never thought that I would have to pick a way to end a pregnancy that I wanted. Seems a little twisted to me to have a doctor sit there and ask you if you want 2 injections (which is what we chose to do) or a surgery to end your pregnancy even though it was life threatening to me. I’m only 5 days into this nightmare and I’m not sure how long it will take me to recover from this.
The purpose of this post wasn’t for sympathy or “I’m so sorry’s”. Far from it. I needed a healthy way to get this out. And I’m a writer. I need to write. To relive it one more time so I can start to tuck this away in my “The Bad Things That Have Happened To Me” file in my brain and start to move on from it. The chances of this happening to a woman is 1 in 80. And now that I was that 1, my chances of it happening again have become 1 in 5. To which my doctor, glass half full kinda guy, said “but that’s a 4 out of 5 chance you won’t have it happen again.” So we are sad, but hopeful for a Rainbow Baby.  The baby you get after a loss. A term I didn’t know until this week, and wish I didn’t have to apply to us. But there it is.



Living and Dying

When someone dies, why do people make someone seem like they were such a good person when in actuality, they were a terrible person? Why do people want you to make someone on their death bed feel good and “be there” and “tell them you love them” when in reality you hated the person, and if they wanted someone to be there at their death bed being nice, don’t you think they should have been a better person while they were alive and well? I am legitimately confused by this practice. I’m not going to go spewing nice Facebook statuses or IG posts about someone who my family knows fully abandoned me as a child to go play grandma to my other cousins and their babies. My grandma left me around age 7. I’ve dealt with it. I’ve tried my whole adult life to have a relationship with the woman and she just swatted me away like an annoying gnat. She was a bad person long before I was even born. I’m not going into any details but I’m not sorry for my opinions and my feelings about the woman. The rest of my family can blow up FB with positive posts to their hearts content, and I’m sure most of it is true for them, however I had a very different relationship with her than they did. So I will not be all sentimental about her death like everyone “feels I should be”. I’m going to be honest about my feelings, as polite as possible, and if you don’t like it, scroll past it. I don’t need to hear how it’s “disrespectful” because honestly, I was disrespected by her my whole life. I was struggling with my feelings yesterday when my sister called and told me the news. I had a huge range of emotions come over me. First and foremost I have to say I was relieved. Relieved that no more lies and hurt would come from her to anyone anymore. Then I was hurt. For me and for my mom. Hurt because now she will never have the chance to right her wrongs done to us. Everything she knew and knew she could fix went with her to the grave (or afterlife, if that’s your thing). And then I got angry and I think that’s where my emotions settled and unpacked. Angry for everything she did and didn’t do. Angry for the years my mother and then in turn, myself, endured her lies and deception and manipulation. And angry that my cousins all got a grandmother and my sister and I didn’t. Outcasted just because we were our mothers daughters. So I will absolutely NOT sit here and write a sweet loving testament to my grandmothers life and say wonderful things about her just to please my aunts and cousins. (In actuality the only good thing she did for me was to move away and leave my life.) They don’t know what my life was like, and I don’t know theirs. But the difference is I’m not judging them for their feelings and all I’m getting is judgement because it goes against the “proper way” to mourn when a family member dies. There is no wrong way to mourn. You speak volumes of your character and who you were raised by when you judge someone for their own feelings, but I digress.

hypo day

hypo day

0e21a9bd-71df-4a45-a01c-012c29df4ad7This is a real and raw look at what someone who suffers from the aftermath of “the good cancer”:This is me after being awake for hours already today and after 4 straight days of hypothyroidism insomnia where I’ve gotten 6 to MAYBE 8 hours of sleep in those 4 days. This is what we call a hypo day, my friends. Puffy face, there’s not one part of my body that does not hurt, swollen hands and feet, and it took every ounce of my energy to get up, pee, and make a cup of coffee. Just bc they removed my tumor and I’m on “a little pill”, does not, in anyway, make my life any easier. My life is hard. Almost every morning is a struggle just to get out of bed. My hair falls out, my skin on the tips of my fingers are usually dried out. My nails go through these ridiculous brittle and sensitive to the touch cycles. I have dark circles under my eyes constantly, my eyebrows don’t grow right anymore, I get angry easily over stupid shit that doesn’t even matter most of the time. I get irrationally upset over things. I gain weight no matter how well I eat. I hate when people tell me “just move more” “if you exercise you’ll feel better” “You just need to eat better” (that’s the worst especially when they have NO idea what I even eat to begin with; which by the way is mainly a gluten/dairy/soy free diet. I rarely snack, unless I’m PMSing). Trust me, if I could exercise without needing 3 days to recover every time, I’d do it! I grew up active, I grew up dancing, gymnastics, running cross country and track, lacrosse and field hockey, volleyball. Being active was my life. It’s how I made friends. I’d give anything to be like that again. But I need time and peoples patience and understanding. I don’t want or need sympathy. Empathy would be nice. I am not my disease, I HAVE a disease that is incurable. I ace no thyroid. There is NO cure for me. Hypothyroidism without actually having a thyroid is vastly different from someone who has it WITH a thyroid. There are all sorts of things out there to get your thyroid functioning again. It is literally impossible for me at this point since I was robbed of mine 2 years 7 months and 19 days ago. Everyday I wonder what I’ll feel like or if I’ll be able to sleep that night or for how long I’ll be able to sleep, will my joints hurt tomorrow, will this pinched nerve in my neck that causes severe pain down into my elbows and hands to the point where I can’t even hold a pencil sometimes ever go away (yes this pinched nerve is a side effect of my disease I just learned this a month ago)? I cry almost daily because I just get so frustrated that I’m about to turn 30 in March and I’ve only been living this way for not even 3 years and that I have the rest of my damn life to go still. Dealing with this everyday knowing it’s NEVER going away. Some days are better than others, don’t get me wrong. Some days I almost feel normal. But it’s always in the back of my mind, I always wonder at least twice a day “will I have an issue today? And what issue will it be?” Once you get cancer, any kind, you live your life in a state of fear. Questions like “will it come back?” “how many ‘good days’ will I have in a row this time before I get another bad day?” “When I have a bad day will it last all day? Come and go al day? Will it last longer than a day?” Those double or triple bad days are killer. You have nothing left. You feel like your body has been ran over by 18 Mack trucks and dragged for miles. Its not always a conscious fear though, but it’s definitely there. Everyday. So today, this is me. This is my hypo day. I’m exhausted but can’t sleep. I have a puffy face, lips, hands and feel. A raging headache, elbow joint pain. Limbs that fall asleep far too easily and bouts of crying fits bc I know this is my life. This is what I have to struggle with daily with no help from anyone because no one CAN help. The only way anyone can help is to just support me, not make me feel like I should just “get over it” or “take a good nap and have a salad and go for a walk” like I can just eat some shrubbery and walk it off. I’m still learning to deal with this and navigate all of this. I need time and the days that I’m down, rationally I know those bad days wont last forever, that I’ll eventually feel okay again, but I need those days. To feel down and let myself cry and feel shitty. I pretend all those other days that I’m good that it’s good for me to let it all out once in a while and let myself feel the pain I’m in. It is most definitely not the good cancer. No cancer is good cancer. I had to endure 2 surgeries to complete a total thyroidectomy, and go through a tracer round of radioactive iodine, a crazy and almost tasteless low iodine diet for 2 weeks, 2 shots of thyrogen to make me go full blown hypo in 2 days, and a full blown round of radioactive iodine treatment and another full body scan, but I’m alive. I don’t pity myself and I don’t feel bad for myself. It happened to me. I don’t know why, no one ever really knows why anyone gets cancer. I have a few therorys though.

my new normal is way more terrifying than anticipated ..

Ohio: Day 6. So far, I’ve been doing alright. Although, it’s kinda like being on vacation because we haven’t started our new jobs yet. I’m sure once I start working tomorrow it will hit me that this is my home now, even though we have set up our bedroom and unpacked our boxes (for the most part anyway because I mean, who really fully unpacks 6 days after having moved? Right.) The last week has been just exploring around town, and taking car of things; changing the car plates from NY to OH, opening our first joint bank account for vacation and rainy day funds, food shopping, stuff like that. Plus, we moved in with my boyfriends sister and brother in law and the day we got here, they actually left for New York for 4 days, so it’s just been the two of us and it’s been so great. We haven’t really had that much alone time since February. I missed it. A lot.

Today was the first day I cried. it was for a lot of reasons. One I’m not getting into. The others are the realization that I live here is setting in with my first day of work approaching tomorrow, and I’m starting to miss my parents and my sister. They may not think so because I haven’t really spoken to them much this week, and I’m not sure if it’s because I couldn’t make the call because it would hit me I’m not going home and I needed space for my adjustment, or if I felt they needed a little adjustment time, or both. Probably both. I’m actually sitting in our decent size walk in closet with the light off typing this while still wiping away tears from a pretty serious breakdown a little while ago. This is harder than I thought. Why I’m sitting in my closet, I’m not sure. I usually hate closed dark spaces but for some reason I found myself crawling my sorry crying ass in here and closing the door behind me. Maybe I just needed to shut the world out for a little bit. Listen to my own thoughts and just breathe for a minute. Either way, it just felt right to hide here for a while. And I realized, I’m terrified. more than I’ve let on and more than I’ve told anyone. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have one person here. That’s it. For a person like me, that’s not good. I’m clingy and annoying and now that I’m alone in this state with no one else around me to absorb some of that, my boyfriend is screwed. That scares me. I left EVERYTHING in New York. Not just family, but my doctors who I’ve been with for 2 years who know me, my therapist who knows more about me than most people I’m close to in my life know about me. She knows things I haven’t even told my mother. I know I can call her and we can still have our sessions, but its not the same. I also have NO space here (aside from the closet, which no one has even looked for me yet by the way. It’s been 30 minutes) to have a phone call where I would need to talk about things I don’t want anyone here knowing. Not even my boyfriend. So I’m nervous to start my new job tomorrow (who isn’t ever even a little bit nervous about day 1 though?), I have an appointment with a new doctor at the end of July for my thyroid and I’m so nervous to start with a new physician who knows nothing about me and what I’ve been through in the last 2 1/2 years. My anxiety is through the roof.

It will get better, I just need to give it time and adjust. Patience is a virtue (or so I’m told).

moving blues setting in

The countdown has begun. We leave for Ohio in 6 days. I have very single emotion one could have before a big life change. Basically I want to hide in my bed under the covers and wait til it’s over. Can someone just do this for me?! As any respectable grown woman-child would say, “I don’t wanna!” I mean of course I want to move, and I’m super stoked that I get to go through this with my best friend and soulmate. I wouldn’t uproot my entire life for just anyone just to be with them. We see a real future together, I love him more than I could possibly explain. So that’s making it a bit easier. Knowing I’m going with someone who will have my back and support me and hold my hand and wipe away my tears when I get overwhelmed. But it doesn’t make leaving the people I love and grew up with any less painful. I’m trying to keep everyones tears (including my own) at bay. I’m not ready for people to cry yet, and I’m really not good at dealing with people when they cry. Especially my mom.

Leaving my parents and my younger sister is going to be so hard. I’ve lived at home until my late 20’s. I’ve been spoiled and taken care of for so long (too long?). I need to do this, I know moving out and moving on to make my own life is normal, especially at 29 years old, but I feel small pangs of guilt for leaving everyone behind. I’ve known since my early teens, 8th or 9th grade maybe, that New York wasn’t the state I was meant to stay in forever. Its not my “forever home”. I was lucky to grow up in the town I did and go to the schools I went to, but I was always different from other kids. I wasn’t “rich” or should I say, I didn’t come from a rich Northport family. I didn’t get things handed to me. If I wanted it, I had to buy it. My friends couldn’t understand it, they didn’t comprehend that I couldn’t just ask my parents for money. I started working at 15 on weekends and after school if I wasn’t on a sport at the time. I bought my first car on my own. While other kids were getting handed BMW’s and Audi’s or new Toyota Camry’s or whatever the cool car was in 2004, I was in a used dark blue, dent resistant (tested by my lacrosse and field hockey balls several times. oops), Saturn station wagon I bought for $600. I didn’t go to prom, for various reasons, but mostly because I just couldn’t afford it. So I was aware of how expensive life was fairly early on, and it only got more expensive as I got older. Now flash forward from high school to 11 years down the road. I’m now in a very serious committed relationship with an amazing man. We talk about our future and that future includes a child, maybe two. We did the math, we can’t afford the life we want, or think us or our future child(ren) deserve. We don’t want to have to have two jobs just to support a family or to afford a house. What’s the point in that? Why have kids or buy a house if you’re always working to afford them but can never spend time with them? It just didn’t sit well with us. We have visited his sister and brother in law in Ohio a few times, the company we work for is out there. We thought, “hey, we could try and transfer, see what happens.” Well one discussion lead to another, which lead to him putting in for a transfer and actually getting it. So I took a chance and applied for an associate position in the department his sister works in in the same company, and to my complete surprise I got that too. All good signs, right? I think so. Everything just seems to be falling into place perfectly like the worlds best played game of life tetris.

Tonight my mom and my older cousin Britt took me out to dinner for a girls night with my sister and Britt’s two little ones Kendell (9) and Peyton (6). Okay, they’re not really little, but they’re MY little ones. Kendell has known for a while that I’m moving and the last few weeks she’s really understood what it means. Peyton not so much. Which is better. I can’t have both of them understanding it. It’s bad enough Kendell does. I’ve seen her almost once a week now for the past month and she’s stuck to my side like glue the entire time. Asks me why I have to go and why I’m going. Tonight she laid it on thick and it broke my heart. I had to think quick of a way to make her feel a little better, and I honestly never thanked the universe more for technology than I did tonight. I told her she could call me or FaceTime me any time she wanted to. That seemed to satisfy her for now. Its breaking my heart leaving those two. I’ve been in their lives since they were only hours old. I’ve watched them grow up and it’s sad to know I’ll only get to see them grow up through pictures and a phone screen most of the time now.

All of this will be worth the p11401308_10207049562867642_360230574975015305_nain I feel now later when I’m able to have the life I want for myself without really worrying about if I can afford something or not. I’ll be able to work for a paycheck to live comfortably between paychecks, instead of working to just survive from paycheck to paycheck like I do now. I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life with someone who feels the same way about me as I do about him. On to a new adventure.

The only risk in life is not taking one.

my first blog post ever

So let me just start by saying, this is my first blog post. Ever. So go easy on me. Or not. I thrive on constructive criticism. Just a little intro to who I am and what I’m about:

My name is Nicole, I’m 29 years old and I am 2 years out from a Thyroid Cancer diagnosis as of June 19th. I’m currently in transition of making a huge move from Long Island, NY to Columbus, OH with my boyfriend.
I want to make a difference in the world with my writing, or at least try to. I have finally figured out what I want to do career wise, about 10 years later than we are “supposed to” figure that out. But good things take time, right? Better late than never in my opinion. I have landed on writing, publishing and editing. Words are powerful, and I want to use mine.

I have a million thoughts flying around my head like a chaotic word tornado, that it’s hard to capture them and form them into fluid coherent thoughts sometimes. I think so much. Some say too much. I can’t help it. I’m a thinker (an over thinker), and I analyze things far too much sometimes, which oddly has helped me on some occasions. I’m just going to say that I’m really not sure how to start this blog. For someone with so many words in their head constantly, the right words are simply eluding me for this first post. Which is extremely frustrating being that I had so many ideas when I created this, and as soon as I put pen to paper .. fingers to keyboard? I guess thats more fitting, my mind went blank.

I want to have this blog touch on the big things in my life. So to simply outline what I mean by “big things”, they are:

1. the big “C” and the empowering (most times frustrating) feeling of self-advocating

2. moving 10 hours away from family, friends, and everything I’ve ever known my whole life

3. finding family that was kept from me selfishly by other family members.

I pretty much have those things happening all at the same time right now, it’s no wonder I have a hard time putting words together. Aside from having a chronic illness of hypothyroidism as a result of the big C i mentioned earlier, that actually does effect my thinking sometimes, I’m amazed I can even speak some days when my mind is constantly all over the place.

So bear with me for the first post or two until I get my footing here. I promise things will get better! Just hang in there and trust me. I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know you, why trust you? So far this is pretty mediocre at best.” And you’re absolutely right. But If you hang in there a few posts you’ll see I’m really not that terrible at writing. Like I said earlier, constructive criticism is more than welcomed, it’s actually highly encouraged! Constructive though, don’t be mean. We should all strive to build each other up, not tear each other down.

My goal is to post once a week, maybe more. If there are things you want to know, or things you’d like to see me write about, you can absolutely ask and request. Depending on the question / request, I may or may not answer. But I will do my best; I want to build our relationship. I will follow your blogs as well.

til next time,