Sunday, January 4, 2015

Never Put Anything Up Your Nose… December 2014

“Don’t put that up your nose!!”  I don’t know if it’s my mom’s voice I imagine or some TV mom screeching out the fact that nothing good comes out of putting something up your nose.  We’ve all heard the story of some goofy little boy putting a carrot or maybe even a marble into the deep, darkness of his nostrils and ending up with a trip to the ER.  Being that I was a perfect little girl (OK, maybe not perfect, but certainly not a boy) I never felt the urge to try this.  But somehow, as a 45 year old woman I thought it would be a good idea.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t just think to myself, “Oh fun, let’s put something up my nose.”  And when I did, it certainly wasn’t a carrot or a marble.

The day I put a wadded up piece of paper towel and stuffed it up my nose, it wasn’t in order to make someone laugh, but the story is actually kind of funny (in retrospect, of course).  I did this seemingly ridiculous act out of necessity.  As the cancer continues to regress, the hole in my sinus cavity continues to grow larger leaving me without much of my palate.  Oh goody.   Well, actually, that IS good and definitely worth celebrating. Psalm 34:16  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.  It is great news that the cancer is shrinking, but that leaves me with complications…let’s just say leakage.  Even as I write this now (at 5:30am) the coffee drips in a slow stream out of my nose.  So, for a moment I have to put down the pen in my right hand (because I’m certainly not putting down the coffee in my left) and wipe the dripping coffee from my upper lip.  My own personal drip percolator of sorts (did I just cross some sort of line with that comment?!)! 

OK, back to my point.  The moment I decided to stick a wad of paper towel up my nose was when Molly and I were sitting at our counter bar eating dinner.  The drainage from my nose is always worse when I’m eating or drinking.    Unfortunately for Molly who sat beside me, I was eating broccoli.  Now this is unfortunate for several reasons, including the fact that it smells horrible and she hates it.  But the most unfortunate reason is that my nose began dripping yet another slow, but steady stream, this time in a broccoli green (gross, right?).  Welcome to my life J  Well, my precious girls have become very accustomed to the fact that my nose dripping is just a fact of life, and they ever so sweetly swipe their finger across their lip as a sign to me to wipe it off…our own little secret code.  You see, the nerve damage caused by the tumor and subsequent treatments left me with limited feeling on the right side of my face, so most of the time I don’t even realize it’s dripping.  That is why I am single handedly keeping Kleenex in business, because I always have to have something in my hand to wipe it away.  

Interesting thought that is.  Makes me sometimes wish I could just wipe it all away.  The cancer, the chemo, the radiation, the pain, the side effects of it all, and just go back.  But I can’t wipe this away, and honestly I really wouldn’t anyways.  I was faced with difficulties and continue to be, but that was God’s plan for me, and that my friends, makes it perfect.  In my moments of weakness and frustration, I can almost see God motioning to me with the whisper of the wind, to wipe the rest of it away.  To wipe away the doubt and the fear and frustration and to know that these are momentary afflictions that lead to eternal glory.  Matthew 10:27  What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

But for that moment all that I was wiping away was broccoli.  So,  rather than having to wipe after each bite, I decided that I could eat more freely, without having to deal with leakage, if I had a semi permanent solution (the aforementioned wad).  And I have to say that for a while, it was working well.  The moment it all went bad was when Molly motioned once more, and I realized that my solution was no longer effective.  I went to pull it out (with tweezers, of course) and discovered with shock that it wasn’t there.  I had turned into that panicked little boy with the marble up his nose, in the form of a 45 year old crazy lady with a wad of paper towel lost into the sinus abyss.  I could feel it stuck somewhere between my nose and throat.  Did I try to blow it out or suck it in?  Unsure of where it could end up and what kind of problems it could cause, I instantly imagined the embarrassment of trying to explain this to an ER doctor.  Luckily, calmer heads prevail in my household, and Will said that we should call Charlie.  You know Charlie.  My angel in the form of a dentist.  He is familiar with my condition and could give me advice.  So we called him on his cell phone and left a message.  He called back almost immediately, and told me to try a neti pot.  It wasn’t until that didn’t work that he called me back again and said he consulted with his friend, a pulmonologist I believe, that he was presently dining with.  Oh no, sorry, Charlie (remember the tuna commercials??). Keep in mind that last year he came to my rescue on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  Now I’m interrupting his dinner too…over something so stupid.  Luckily for me, he didn’t care one bit. 1 Peter 4:11  Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.  They both concurred that if I wasn’t able to get it out, that it could wait until I saw my ENT.  So, with that in mind, we just called the ENT on duty and explained my situation.  His response was no different and with that I decided to relax and resume with the continuous tissue/nose connection.  As I got up to go to bed, I heard Will ask, “What is this?”  The faint green color gave it away.  It was the culprit we had been looking for up my nose.  On the ground.  We still don’t know if it fell out before all this happened or after.  But the moral of the story remains the same.  Nothing good comes out of putting something up your nose!