It’s day 18 of my quest to learn to better love myself and 3 days until my appointment with the neurosurgeon. This is where the serious talk about radiation and cancer treatments will begin. This is where I’ll find out if the blood clot is gone or if I’ll have to continue taking blood thinners and giving myself a shot twice a day. I’m so nervous. There are days when I just believe this is where I am in my life. I can’t believe I’m living this. I’m consumed with fear tonight. I was alright all day but as the day wore on the thought of having to discuss cancer treatments and making appointments with oncologists just overwhelmed me. I don’t know where we go from here. I can’t see me being any calmer as this week wears on. I’m torn between hoping for a blizzard on Friday so I don’t have to go and wishing my appointment was tomorrow so I could just get it over with.
I know there’s no sense in worrying. It’s not as though I can just decide not to have the radiation. This is going to happen no matter what so I’d be better off just taking a deep breath and dealing with it. I know that I am not the one in control and that I should just let go and be brave but I’m terrified. When I think of things upcoming I wonder if I’ll be able to be there. I wonder if I’ll be well. I wonder how long I’ll have to have radiation. I wonder if there’ll be chemo too or if radiation will be enough. I’m scared of the side effects of radiation and even more terrified of the effects of chemo. Up until Dr. Matthews (plastic surgeon) cleared me for radiation these were only thoughts briefly floating by in my head. None of this was concrete because I was not yet cleared for radiation. Now that it’s upon me I have moments when I can barely breath from the fear.
Hey! Good evening kids. It’s going to be a bit of this, that and the other thing tonight. It’s been a while since last we spoke. I caught a cold over Thanksgiving weekend and have been kind of miserable. I did manage to write one politically themed post but I just wasn’t up to writing about recovery this week. I’d say it was kind of nice to just have the common cold this week instead of having cancer and recovering from brain surgery but I spent most of the week monitoring my temperature making sure I didn’t spike a fever.
I spent most of Monday morning making doctor appointments and scheduling blood tests, a Cat Scan, an MRI, a flu shot and a pneumonia shot. In about ten minutes I’ll have to finish drinking my soda and fast until my scheduled 9:30am blood test appointment. I was scheduled to get the flu shot directly thereafter but since I’ve been sick all week that had to be rescheduled until next Sunday, which is the day after I’m scheduled to have both the MRI and the Cat Scan.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get my pneumonia shot on Monday. We’ll see what the doctor says. I get a break on Tuesday I have no doctor appointments scheduled. On Wednesday I head back to the plastic surgeon’s office to see if the two big scabs on my head are ready to come off *shudder*. I’m totally freaked out about this appointment.
I wonder if other people worry about upcoming medical procedures like I do. I’m so consumed with worry that in removing the scabs from my head the doctor will make me bleed. I’m on blood thinners and I’m terrified I’ll bleed heavily and end up in the hospital. I realize that she’s a medical professional and I should put my trust in her but all I can focus (fixate?) on is things going terribly wrong. (I worry in technicolor and I have an amazing imagination) The same goes for the MRI, Cat Scan, flu shot and pneumonia shot. I’m worried I’ll have some horrifying allergic reaction to the dye/vaccine and end up dead or in the ER. I know I should have faith in God and in my wonderful doctors but I can’t seem to let myself relax and put it in their hands. It’s like I blogged about earlier this year in On Flying Planes & Treating Depression. I have no control over what happens. I can’t make the scabs come off cleanly. I can’t even watch because they’re in the back of my head. I can’t control what the dyes/vaccines are going to do to my body. I don’t know how to deal with that. I like being in charge. I like controlling my circumstances. I’m afraid and I can’t do anything to fix that. I have Xanax for the MRI, which they tell me should last about half an hour but I can’t exactly go around popping Xanax every time I have to have a shot or take a pill though I very well may request a full prescription and stay on it during radiation treatments. I’m not sure I’ll be able to tough those out on my own. I can’t bring myself to worry about these in detail just yet.
Once the scabs come off and the plastic surgeon clears me for radiation the neurosurgeon and his tumor team (really, they couldn’t have come up with a better name?) will use the information from next Saturday’s MRI to plan my radiation treatment. No matter what happens I have an appointment with the neurosurgeon to check my progress and to see if the blood clot has shrunk any more on Dec. 17, which is 3 days before my 38th birthday and 8 days before Christmas. I’m hoping for all good news but I’m worried about that too. It’s not as if I can look in the mirror and see if the clot in my brain has continued to shrink. I can’t monitor whether or not the tumor is in there growing as we wait for my head to heal. The uncertainty, the inability to control any of this makes me feel powerless and out of control. I can’t do anything to make anything better. All I can do is wait and do as the doctors tell me to do, take my medicine and have faith in God and the doctors.
I wish I could tell you that I have that kind of faith but I suppose I just don’t. I believe in God, I pray, I go to church. I have faith, I do. I believe that God loves us all and that he’s there at the very darkest moments holding our hands and helping us through. I believe he doesn’t send us more than we can handle but the worry wart in me can’t get past knowing that bad things happen to good people every day and no one gets through live without suffering. I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to be sick and I hate this being powerless to do anything but trust. I don’t want to trust. I want to do. I’m scared and I have moments when I’m overwhelmed with anxiety. I can’t be the only person who feels this way, right?
I read these blogs of people who are going through so much worse than I am and they write so eloquently about their trials and tribulations and how they’ve put their faith in God. I feel so much less faithful than they are. I feel like a coward reading these stories of people facing sickness and hardship head on. If it were up to me I’d run screaming as far away as possible. If you’re one of those people and you’re reading. How do you do it?