About Nicola Dickens, Blogger, Social Media Creator, WordPress designer, Cancer Patient and Cannabis Patient extraordinaire
I think I have a unique and interesting story, and I really hope you do too, but if not, no hate needed; we are all here to live our lives as someone is watching to pretend that our menial lives mean something in this large, vast of space around us. By “space,” no, I don’t mean actual distance; I mean tech space. I have been asked to write a biography for so many different projects that I’ve worked on, but until recently, I always changed my persona online, but I have had my “aha” moment. For those of you that haven’t had one, you got to have one!! OMG they are out of this world, you’ll get really focused, you’ll start plugging away, and all of a sudden, you have 15 pages of written material. I know where to start my blog, and I’m ready to do my profile for the first time in my life. How did I have this “Aha” moment (you know I’m going to tell ya, but first my story)? Cancer and Cannabis go together like stoners and munchies, but did you know cannabis used to be a commonly prescribed medication before big pharma became the “go-to” for doctors and patients alike.
I am a 42-year-old woman with two grown-ass adult sons. Yes, this is my first job and the hardest of all. Wow, if I can live through 20 years of teenage boys, 4 different types of cancer, even more pain than I thought I could handle, other cancer treatments, Pills, pills, and more pills (in the 90’s narcotic medications out the ass more and more people getting hooked on opioids, and everything else.
I had my first cancer fight in the ’90s; it was cervical cancer (relatively easy, though); laser oblation surgery keeps your feet up for the weekend, go back to work Monday morning kind of thing. I hadn’t had any kids at this point and I still very much so wanted my 2 boys (kind of funny my brother and I sat down when we were younger, and I remember him saying he didn’t want kids, and I wanted 2 boys I didn’t want my girls to go through what I was and I have 2 boys and he has two nephew’s).
So I was in a relationship and planning a wedding when I started to bleed very heavily for the first time; the pain was so bad it dropped me to my knees, I had no idea what had happened. All I knew was that it hurt, and I needed help. My fiancé at the time rushed home to take me to the ER because, you know, we were young adults, and we knew everything except how to dial 911; go figure. By the time I got to the hospital, we had found out I was having a miscarriage and had to have an emergency DNC and have a biopsy. They kept me in the hospital overnight, I think when it was all over with, back then if you’re keeping your pills down, if they don’t have any more tests to run, and you are stable, you got kicked out none of this week thing unless necessary. I get a call from my Dr’s office telling me to come in we have to talk. If any other doctors are reading this, this is the worst thing your office can do to us patients “we need to talk about your results come in, and we’re not going to tell you until you come in. STOP THAT!) The stress alone wears us out. Yes, we went to the doctor, and yes, I swear it felt like I had been sitting there for hours when I was finally called back. The doctor proceeds to tell me the diameter of the biopsy that he took, color, shape, and blah blah blah. This poor doctor, let me tell you his nurse is standing on one side of the table, my tummy is open for the pushing test (does this hurt, Ya know hell ya it hurts why do you ask, you can feel my body jump duh) and she is intently trying to get a piece of fuzz out of my belly button, ya I said that right my belly button, next to the nurse was my mom oddly looking back and forth at me. At the foot of the table, the nurse was my fiancé intensely listening to what the doctor was saying because, again, we are young educated adults, and we know what we’re doing (I know I’m laughing with you). The Doctor is at the top of the table, looking over me and everyone else in the room. He broke it to us that it would be tough to get pregnant because of the amount of Endometriosis I had, and cysts were popping like mush, and they had to go back in a couple of times to clean out my uterus.
By the middle of 1996, we found out I was pregnant again. We did a home pregnancy test. I waited 2 months before going to the doctor for prenatal, mostly because I was scared if I said anything, I would have lost him too) Everything was going great, and I went to my first prenatal visit with my oldest son, and I was able to hear his heartbeat, and by this time, we were already married (not that it matters, but so that you did know). And then here it comes, the doctor takes you into the back office to talk to you all, and back then, it was really cool the physicians gave diaper bags filled with baby essentials. These programs need to come back if it’s not. Then there was the suggested reading list, and I started reading. At that time, my husband was not a reader; I don’t think he used a book for anything other than a coaster or fly swatter the entire time we were married. So these books what to expect when you are expecting and so on; first off, they have some good information, and I’m happily reading them, the downside, will somebody please pull all of these writers together and give clearer advice OMG. If you don’t have kids, I don’t want to hear your opinion unless it’s a suggestion and polite, and I’m still not going to listen!
November of 1996 came around, and I started calling Braxton hicks, so I was rushed to the hospital because my oldest son wasn’t due until the end of February. We were terrified I was going to miscarriage again. They got me hooked up to every machine in the hospital, and I felt like I was going in to be electrocuted. OMG! After about an hour of this fun adventure, they started taking machines off me and explained that the endometriosis is changing form, and I had a couple of options 1. Take the rest of the time off work to have my son and stay on bed rest. 2. Continue to work but with the doctor’s refusal. Or 3. Another DNC and try again in a year. Needless to say, my husband and I never saw him again.
I went to work on the way home from the doctor and discussed with them that I would need to take this time off. They were really awesome. They even threw me a baby shower on my last day before maternity leave. As November was ending and December was starting, I kept having more and more Braxton hicks. We found out that I was very anemic and being placed on precautions. I was really having a hard time with the pregnancy and was ready to ask how much longer I had already been hospitalized 4 times before it’s safe. January 10, 1997, I had my last one-week checkup; the doctor said I had already started to dilate, and it’s time they couldn’t stop it this time. Here we are again first time parents, come on say it with me “We knew everything” the doctor asks us do you want me to call an ambulance, we (Smart Young People) say no well, take the freeway over 45 miles away. (Yes, we were dumbasses) We finally pull up to the ER with cops behind us. It looked like we had just robbed a bank) Now here’s the visual we pull up to the ER where the ambulances go, 2 cops I believe come squealing in behind us by this time my husband is out the driver truck door, leaving door wide open and engine running, running around the truck like a crazy one man Chinese fire drill game (mind you we were both early 20’s and he was already losing his hair looking 10 years older than me) I’m screaming in the front seat of the truck trying to get the door open just trying to get out of the truck before I felt like I was going to poop myself using every swear word I know, Now picture this little 5 foot 4inch 120lb girl that looks like she’s 16 very obviously pregnant the looks in those cops eyes was pure fear, they asked my husband what was going on asked us for ids they ran those, came back and asked the doctor’s if everything was ok and normal they just wanted to make sure, doctors said nope pretty normal, and then the officers pop their heads in the crack in the door to hand my husband back our id’s and the cop looked him dead in the eye and asked “dude you ok we protect men from women to”. It was funny and for a great laugh but wouldn’t you now it labor stopped, everything stopped, the nurses called the doctor he came in ran some tests our son was in no distress, I wasn’t as dilated as before, so they monitored me for several hours and sent us home. I had a couple of excellent days because we had a microburst touch down where we lived. Grounds people were out we didn’t have electricity for a few hours. Still, other than that, it was beautiful, I would be cleaning the house and finishing decorating my oldest sons room and a balcony. I had the sliding glass door open, and I was lying on the floor smelling the fresh-cut grass and fresh trimmed roses under your window. The air was brisk, so as you smelled in the fresh trimmings, it was cold and sweet like a guest home in the forest. My husband had gone back to work, and he always left between 5 am and 5:30 am, and it was January 14, 1997. Suddenly, I have this rushing of urine or something sensation, so I did what any reasonable person would do is sit on the toilet (hahaha). So I’m sitting there, and it’s not stopping. I’m frantically looking around thinking phone cordless phone (yes, kids cordless phones are phones that plug into the wall, and you can walk all over your house with no cord definitely not as cool as the cell phone, so thank an older person if we didn’t like the idea of those so many phones wouldn’t be where they are today). Upon finding the phone and paging my husband, then calling his work, then calling the owner’s personal phone all in like 5 minutes, even if he were trying to call me back, I would have had no clue. Still, it was his fault I couldn’t get ahold of him fast enough lol that 2 edge sword sorry guys love ya but … ya… I’m talking to the owner’s wife, who then proceeds to say I’m an expert at this I’ve had. I don’t remember how many kids and blah blah, so she asks me where I’m at right then. I tell her to sit on the toilet, and she screams, gets off the toilet stand in the shower. You don’t want your baby to fall into the toilet, so of course, now that she has scared the unholy shit out of me just by yelling because this was a relatively calm conversation, up to this point, if I didn’t shit him out then I’m pretty true I was safe. Still, I got in the shower anyway. My husband is in the car racing home to get me to the hospital again because brains didn’t connect 911, phone, call, duh. After 12 hours of labor, my oldest son was born 6 weeks early, feisty, always ready to call me out, always willing to learn a little from me at times, but just like me, strong-willed, passionate, inquisitive, looking for that one thing that makes him shine bright.
My youngest grown-ass man came right after treatment had started for uterine cancer, I wasn’t feeling well for a week or two, and I kept bleeding. We couldn’t figure out what was going on at this point in my life. I had already had divorced my oldest son’s father when my son was a year old, I had met a man that worked for my father, and he rented a room to me when I left my first husband, he had two older girls from a previous marriage and my son. They got along ok. The best toddlers could do. I had some issues with daycare and work at the time, so he allowed me to use his house as an in-home daycare. I then took care of his daughters and my son and started living the married lifestyle. I started to get sick again. I started bleeding for 6 months straight. The pain was excruciating. I was going to an OBGYN that prescribed a medication that wasn’t thoroughly tested for me. I ended up with a 30-day allergic reaction, SO yes, this means I took 100mg Benadryl every 6 to 8 hours. I had an epi-pen to use every day because it was a time-release medication and then monitored 2 to 3 times per week at the hospital for the allergy until the 30 days were up. All you get out of Doctors is we have no way of knowing if that’s going to happen to you, it’s a fun “job” managing my own healthcare crazy, but I do pretty well.
It was around the first of the year in 1999 when I went to the doctor. I was under a lot of stress. I had my oldest son in the hospital with RSV pneumonia. My grandfather passed away, oddly my father’s father had passed away when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son, and yes, when we found out I was pregnant with my youngest son and my other grandfather passed away, my father did ask to make sure I was done having kids, lol and yes I was. Back to finding out I had to go to urgent care in a hospital during the day, I was helping with my grandfather’s arrangements well, after some tests, they found abnormal cells from a pap smear and said they were going to have to do a biopsy to test the cells but did I know I was pregnant, yep I’m sure you guessed it the only thing I could think to say was what the fuck, and I cried. Now yes, this is where I cried when most would have been happy, 1. Cancer screens start again. 2. The waiting game. You don’t want to think about the first two big ones if the test is negative, no need to stress if they are positive then I got some research to do, again 1999 technology wasn’t what it is, and you didn’t know what to believe. So during this waiting time, your thinking, ok, I’m pregnant. I guess I got to figure something out here then, oh wait for tests, so hormones temper calling dr. office every day all the kids running a successful business. It hits out of left field, the pain dropped me to the ground screaming, but I had a secret weapon this time. I had built up the daycare to a full business, and I had one of the best assistants in the world. She was my best friend and mother figure. She knew how to call 911… so after 2 days in the hospital with more tubes than I had the first time, knowing I’m 2 months pregnant and I wasn’t losing my baby! The first part of the pregnancy, I didn’t do too bad I was on a safe treatment for him and me we thought, I had the sick all the fucking time morning sickness, and we just kept a very close eye on me, I had to take the precautions about getting sick primarily because I worked with kids. As I went through my youngest son’s pregnancy, we had a name picked out for him. Still, my new husband at the time would joke and call my tummy George just being playful, the reason I mention this is because in August 1999, we found out I had been carrying twin boys, and I started cramping and bleeding, and we believed from the treatment but aren’t really sure. Because they were identical, you deliver both together, the doctors put me back on bed rest and medications, and I gave both on September 17, 1999.
They gave my youngest to my husband and started cleaning me up with the twin. I hadn’t had any pain medications until after my son was born, but they gave me a lot then I was floating. They could have done anything to me at that point. They had to do a tubal ligation at the time they couldn’t risk another pregnancy. While my husband and I were making our choice of treatments, they admitted me to the hospital for 5 days with my youngest, this was the first time I was ever alone with my youngest son, and I was going crazy, with my oldest he went to the nursery sometimes not a lot. Still, so I could take a nap, or shower, or whatever, then they bring the baby back to the room to you, OMG no, that’s not how it worked two years later they wouldn’t take him to the nursery if you had to sleep, oh well if you needed a shower oh well if they just brought you back from biopsy oh well. I wanted the hell out of that hospital. It sucked, so if you had a better experience, hold on to it because the stories can worsen.
By January 2000, I am back in surgery for a partial hysterectomy and chemo for uterine cancer. I did my first real rounds of chemo and just wanted to die. Take me out back and shoot me wasn’t a joke back then. I had signed a DNR. I didn’t like my quality of life, and I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was hooked on some pretty serious pain medication. I was going through another divorce, and I couldn’t get my drive back. That personal reason I woke up in the morning I was floating through life. For too many years, I took the meds, and the doctors’ treatments told me to take, I lived, but I wasn’t awake about life. In 2007 I was back in surgery for the removal of ovaries and everything else because the endometriosis removals (6 over the years) showed the progression of cancerous endometrial cells growth and had also metastasized Interstitial Cystitis inside of the bladder, which causes very painful bloody urine, Yeah, could I get a fun disease like turret’s or something I could have fun with that, no offense intended. Still, I would like that one.
This brings us to today. I have stage 4 bladder cancer, with Interstitial Cystitis, Ulcerative Colitis, Gerd, depression, anxiety, I kicked a drug problem, I’m compassionate, I’m passionate, I have been able to stop most of my medications, feel better, and get so much more accomplished in one day sitting in my home office loving my job! So my “aha” moment, I know I didn’t forget I told you I was going to tell you, now that you had heard my story, my “aha” moment was when I started cannabis and let my inhibitions relax, I started looking around and learning, learning about me, learning about people, and learning how to take a tragic tale and show my viewers the beautiful story just inside.