One Step Forward, One Step Back

Hello, hospital!

When I left the hospital, we scheduled a lung biopsy because it was the easiest place to grab a tissue sample…as opposed to the brain. I’ve heard you’re not supposed to remember what happens during the procedure, even though you’re awake, but I remember almost everything.

I got an IV with some medication to sedate me so I’d be calm wouldn’t feel anything. Then came the lidocaine. The doctor can either go up your nose or down your throat. It kind of freaked me out to go through my nose to get to my lungs, but they tried to stick some cotton swabs (filled with lidocaine) deep in my nasal cavity. Lucky for me, my nasal cavity was too small, so they had me breathe in a mist of lidocaine to numb my throat.

I remember the entire procedure until the very end when the doctor told me it was over, asked me some questions and said he was going to go talk to my mom. I remember him telling me he was going to go talk to my mom, but I have no clue what he asked me prior to that. I even remember him coming back in the room and asking, “Do you remember what I said?” And I had no flippin’ idea. What I do remember is the annoying cough I had for two weeks after the procedure. But thankfully, it didn’t feel like your typical ‘chesty’ cough, so it wasn’t intolerable. Just a little pesky.

Luckily, the biopsy was negative for all disease (even the big ‘C’), so I was put on steroids again. Of course, they don’t work their magic right away so I my vision (which had been 20/20 my whole life) was 20/100 for several months. And it couldn’t be corrected with lenses nor with surgery. My acuity was 100 away from being legally blind, which is too close for comfort. Not to mention, I had to depend on rides – like a 15-year-old, licenseless child – but I got plenty of quality time with my mom, so that was nice!

TCW’s December issue was riddled with typos that I otherwise wouldn’t have made or at least would have caught on a normal day. There were times I felt defeated, but I carried on and while forging ahead on the January, February and March issues, I adjusted to my terrible vision by zooming Word documents to 200 percent and using size 32 font just to see anything in a relatively normal way.

Throughout winter, I blew up again while on the steroids and was completely embarrassed to be seen in public. But when you work for TCW, you’re pretty much the face of the magazine. So while I still had lunch meetings and attended after work events, I did shy away from cameras. Not only was I ashamed of the way my face looked, but I could actually feel my skin stretching to oblivion. It was uncomfortable, sometimes painful and lasted the entire three-and-a-half months I was on the steroid (for the third time).

Keep reading after the photos…


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About Carrie Williams

Carrie Williams is TCW's managing/digital editor. She manages day-to-day editorial operations of the monthly print publication, website and social media outlets, contributes to a variety of feature articles and directs a team of interns, freelance writers and bloggers. In early 2013, she led the redesign of of TCW's brand strategy. Her blog, "Carrie On," is a blog of reflection and discovery, discussing how to push through life when you’re handed one too many curveballs. And finally, Ms. Williams is also executive director of the TCW Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting underfunded women's and children's organizations.