Drugs, Hugs and Losing My Jugs: A Breast Cancer Journal - May 26, 2015 - Timber

This is the tenth entry in a 31-day Breast Cancer Awareness Month exclusive series featuring the real journal entries of breast cancer survivor, Jessica Sliwerski. Read the previous entry here.

Today was a very exciting day.

More exciting than yesterday and yesterday I saw “Pitch Perfect 2,” so it was obviously quite exciting. But today was more exciting.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I was so restless. I straightened the apartment. I folded laundry. At one point, while talking to my mom on the phone, she said, “What are you doing?”

“I’m beating the pillows,” I said. “They need fluffing.”

“Go to bed,” my mom said.

So I tried to go to bed.

I took a shower.

I washed my hair.

I massaged my breasts — per my physical therapist’s orders — not because I actually enjoy it.

I drank more water.

I took two meds (.5 mg each).

I crawled into bed achy and tired and sore and sad and tried to listen to classical music and tried to sleep, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t sleep.

I waited and waited and breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth and then in through my mouth and out through my nose.

I tried to faux meditate.

I cried. I couldn’t stop crying.

The more I wanted to sleep and the more I couldn’t sleep the more anxious I became because I couldn’t sleep and I was so tired and so sore, so bone-aching sore.

And then I had a really good idea. A flash of brilliance, really.

Why not eat some weed?

I have some edibles. Chocolate. From my dealer. He hooked me up shortly after my diagnosis because he was worried about my anxiety and because even though he’s a drug dealer, he has a good heart.

“Here,” he said. “Take these. Do not eat more than half a square.”

I’d never done drugs before, but felt weirdly powerful having these marijuana edibles in my possession.

I told Jules, our nanny, “See this chocolate? This is weed. Don’t eat this chocolate unless you’re off the clock.”

I then buried it towards the side of my designated chocolate drawer while Jules probably wondered, not for the first time, how the fuck she ended up with such an awesome family.

So one night I was particularly anxious and Kyle and I thought it would be a good idea to try the edibles. I ate half a square as directed and nothing happened. I was very disappointed that my first time getting baked, at the age of 33 and solely because of breast cancer, was such a bust.

For days I bitched about needing a new drug dealer. My dealer was officially fired. “You just need to eat more next time,” he said.

So that’s what I did last night. I couldn’t sleep and weed is supposed to relax you, right?

So I ate an entire square and then went back to bed. And then I woke up early this morning because I needed to pee. I dizzily walked to my bathroom. And that’s the last I remember.

I woke up to Kyle hitting my face, yelling and splashing water on me. I was wedged between the toilet and the counter, a space that’s less than a foot wide. I had smacked my head on the counter en route to the tile floor. My ass was hanging out of my Lululemon sweatpants, my body contorted at a weird angle.

“I’m dying,” I thought. “I overdosed and I am dying.”

Kyle was freaking the fuck out and I was completely helpless. I couldn’t move, which sucked because in my head I knew that I really needed to get my pants on. I heard him calling 911 and all I could do was moan in pain and worry about everyone seeing my butt. The paramedics were on their way and they would see my butt.

But I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t open my eyes. Everything was spinning and dark and hurting. Kyle pulled my pants up. An ambulance came. Paramedics burst into the apartment. I couldn’t talk.

Kyle kept telling them I just had chemo. He tried to tell them all the drugs I was on, but in my cleaning frenzy last night I had carefully put everything away in places that only made sense to me. I was muttering names of other drugs. I did not mention the weed.

I was worried I would be in trouble, that I would go to jail.

The paramedics lifted me off the bathroom floor. I was so worried about my mastectomy and my chest and that they would hurt me. I just needed to protect that area.

They put me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of the building. They put me in the back of the ambulance. They asked me more questions. And then I worried that if I didn’t tell them about the marijuana they might not be able to actually help me.

“I ate marijuana,” I whispered.

“What?” the paramedic asked.

“I ate marijuana. I’m sorry,” I started sobbing.

They started laughing. “That’s OK.”

Not for the first time, I was grateful I live in New York City, where people just don’t give a fuck.

“You’ve been through a lot,” the woman said, soothingly.

We got to the emergency room, a mere six blocks from our apartment. I blacked out again and don’t remember much except waking up to Kyle holding my hand and murmuring to me, soothingly rubbing my hair.

My bones hurt. My head hurt. My neck hurt. I was so nauseous.

“I ate the edibles,” I told him.

“What?” he said. “Jess…”

And then I blacked out again. I remember an EKG. They lifted my shirt and placed the little stickers all over me and I remember being so ashamed of my incisions. I didn’t want anyone looking at my cancer scars.

I remember another doctor quietly talking to me about my breast cancer and how sorry he was; how young I was; how unfair it all was.

I wept. And then everything was dark again.

The doctors did a CT scan. They took out my diamond earrings. I was worried they would be lost.

The doctors were so kind and so gentle.

I wished I looked prettier. Such a dumb thought, but I wished I didn’t look like an emaciated little boy.

I wished I didn’t look like cancer.

And I wished my underpants were on correctly. Kyle had pulled my sweats up, but my panties were in the most bizarre, uncomfortable knot.

They gave me an IV with fluids and an anti-inflammatory drug. I didn’t want pain killers. The IV and fluids were burning cold. It hurt more than the chemo. I whimpered in pain. My tiny veins are trashed.

I spent seven hours in the emergency room today, much of it I don’t remember.

My grandmother showed up; she’s visiting from California. I had such grand plans for us today and my overdose foiled those.

“What’s the diagnosis?” I heard her ask Kyle (she used to be a nurse). Kyle demurred, mentioning chemo and the meds.

“I did too much pot,” I mumbled.

At some point I do remember deciding I was done and ready to go home. I needed to officially pull up my underwear and get the fuck out of dodge. I needed to see Penelope, who apparently was up to her own shenanigans this morning. She figured out how to take off her diaper.

So while Kyle tried to hold down the fort between the paramedics taking me and our nanny arriving, Penelope managed to completely blow out her diaper and then role around in her filth in her crib while playing with her diaper.

We are keeping the marijuana but I am not allowed to touch it.

My Fitbit has been confiscated. Kyle “has it” and that’s all I know.

My grandmother force-fed me Swedish pancakes with so much butter and fat and deliciousness.

And then I slept the good sleep for hours.

Jessica Sliwerski with grandma and Penelope
Me, Penelope, Grandma: Home from the emergency room and so happy to be with my baby. Grandma is making me Swedish pancakes in an attempt to help me put some weight back on.

And though I’m still faint and in pain and it hurts to move and my head is very, very sore and I am really rather embarrassed, it could have been worse.

At least I didn’t pull a Penelope today. She’s so gross.

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All photos courtesy of Jessica Sliwerski

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