Sweet Home Alabama

Dec. 2, 2013.

My lungs feel pea-sized. I can’t breathe. I’m short of breath, and I’m hyperventilating.

Anytime I breathe too much air, shocking pains run through the upper left area of my back.

The altitude from the flight clearly didn’t work well with my left lung.
Helga, stop squishing it and let me breathe.

I’m so close to begging mom and dad to admit me to the hospital early, but I don’t want to freak them out.

I just take slow and steady breaths.


Dec. 3, 2013.

“I have 99 problems and a tumor is one…”

I’m making up my own lyrics that describe my story, and I am cracking myself up. I’m so excited to finally meet Dr. Cerfolio, the man who will save my life, that I begin having my own party in the patient room.

He walks in and hugs me before doing anything else. Man, I love him already.

He pulls out a chart of the lung, starts circling things, writes what he thinks I may be diagnosed with and I stop listening. Not because it’s too much to handle, but because he knows his shit.

This man exudes confidence that I haven’t seen from any doctor I’ve visited so far.

I trust him already. He needs to take ribs out, I’ll gladly turn over and let him do what he needs to do. He’s the man. 

Also, if models take their ribs out just to look skinnier, then who the hell am I?! Pshhh, I can do this!


Dec. 4, 2013.

Biopsy numero dos.

This time it’s different. They’re doing an EBUS, which is basically a bronchal scope. They go into the major bronchal airways with an ultrasound device and take lymph nodes out to get more samples of Helga, my tumor.

I lay in another hospital bed. This time I’m in a huge room with 7 medical nurses. Multiple screens surround my bed and I freak out a little.

“You have a rare case, huh?”

The pulmonologist walks into the room and says, “Why are you here? These tumors only exist in old, dying people.” Well, that could be taken as a good or a bad thing.

The nurses around me ask more questions and they’re all frowning. It certainly doesn’t make me feel any better. I sulk a bit and feel a little sorry for myself.

That quickly fades as I hear laughter behind me. The pulmonologist reads Dr. Cerfolio’s email out

loud. “There’s a beautiful 20-year-old girl who’s coming to you today. She’s very personable and ta


lks a lot. She’s precious.”

I smile knowing that I can make other people smile – even in such horrible situations.

I’m ready to rock and roll. I’m nervous, but ready.

Another IV? Another dose of the Twilight drug? I mean, I’m doing this like it’s my second job. I’m not saying that I particularly like it, I’m just getting more used to it.

Let’s do this.


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