My name is Latrice and I'm from Chicago. I was diagnosed with breast cancer metastatic to the liver on Sept. 28, 2018 at age 43. From the day of my diagnosis, my approach to cancer has been to disregard the word "cancer" and focus on the symptoms.
I have no idea how to cure cancer, and I know that it can’t be done quickly. But that’s what my oncologist is for. But abdominal pains? That can be rectified more quickly. When my oncologist told me of my diagnosis, my only response was “I am having abdominal pains. Is that something we can resolve today?” She looked at my mother, who goes to every oncologist appointment with me, and looking shocked and confused asked, “Did she understand what I just told her?” My mother, holding back tears (from the news) and laughter (from my response), told her, “Yes, but her stomach is hurting.” But, that’s how I think. I stay in my lane and work hard to fix the problem at hand.
So, during my second trip to the hospital through ER, my brother knew that my health was getting really bad, so he immediately flew in from Maryland to support me and my mother. I don't remember the details of that hospital stay, but unfortunately my brother does.
Apparently I wasn't concerned about why I was in the hospital, or the fact that I was admitted to intensive care directly from ER – where I spent the night. My focus was on two things.
(1) Why is hospital staff telling me to get rest but “constantly” coming into the room, turning on the lights to draw blood? That’s not really helping me rest.
(2) Why was I sent to this floor and not to the cancer floor of the women's hospital? That’s where I stayed during my first trip to the hospital, and they have much nicer accommodations. Apparently I complained a lot about my hospital accommodations to my brother and my mother – not realizing how intense intensive care was – to the point that my brother was constantly wondering “What is wrong with my little sister?!”
So here we are cramped in this hospital room. One of us complaining about accommodations, another praying that I get better faster, and my brother wondering what the heck is wrong with his sister (and at this point at bit curious about what’s on the cancer floor of the women’s hospital). After my intensive care needs weren’t so intense, I was moved to the cancer floor of the women’s hospital for one night before being released. And I was actually excited. Although he understood my request a little more – larger room, beautiful city view from the window, room service menus instead of specific meal times, and more comfortable accommodations for my overnight guests. But it was still the hospital.
In retrospect, I understand that my focus should have been my health. Maybe even the desire to go home. But to me, the doctors were handling my health needs, and I couldn’t go home until they released me. So the problem at hand was my hospital room.
Hey, no one said cancer gave you rational thinking!