Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fear of the Unknown...

Heading into my 5th chemotherapy (tomorrow morning) and my feelings are racing in all different directions. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I have to get that mid picc line again and I know it’s going to hurt, or because just when you start feeling a little better, here comes more poison treatments.

Maybe it’s because of the dream I had 3 months ago that still haunts me. Where I walk into the house as if I just got home from work, but I notice the house is quiet and empty. Sammy (our dog) doesn’t rush to me to greet me like he usually does tail wagging furiously with smiles waiting for a doggie treat… Sarah doesn't come running saying "HI MOM! Guess what happened today?!". Bobby doesn't come down the stairs saying "hey, ma, what's for dinner?"... I’m defiantly alone in the house. I look around and notice all that is in the house is a couple pieces of large furniture. The kitchen table, one couch, the TV upstairs… the tv in the bedroom… everything else is gone. No paperwork, no books, games or videos on the shelves… I think at first, Oh my gosh! We were robbed! But wait. They really cleaned out the place, pile of bills and all, and left the big tv?…. Then it hit me. I was dead. I was a ghost. I didn’t know for how long. And apparently my husband and daughter had to move for what ever reason. Where are they? Did I tell them I loved them? Can I still? What do I do now? And I woke up in a pile of sweat and tears.

Or maybe it was what happened a couple nights ago. I got up, one of the many times I do, in the middle of the night (as I have been for weeks) and went to the bathroom. I passed the mirror, as I always do when I make my way to the toilet, but something caught my eye and I backed up back to the mirror to do a double take. I HAD MY OWN HAIR! It was long as it has always been! I just stood there in shock and disbelief thinking, THANK GOD! Thank you God! It really WAS all just a horrible horrific nightmare! I just sat and stared at myself a while. Tthen I woke up again. I reached for my head. I felt skin instead of hair. I was confused for a moment as to which reality was really real. I was hoping I’d ‘wake up again’, but when I didn’t, I realized, the nightmare is what is actually real reality. Disappointment doesn’t describe it.

Maybe it’s because after this I head into a different world of reality which is unknown to me, of surgery and radiation every day. Maybe it’s because I happened to catch an episode of Desperate Housewives which I haven’t seen in a really long time, and one character is battling cancer. She only gets a few days where she feels ok before all her chemo starts again. (will I have to go through chemo again? Probably.) Her wig slips off, and totally turns her husband off…. I haven’t seen the show for a really long time and don’t know what kind of cancer she has or what her treatments actually are, but it sounded to me like it was a life long chemo treatments. Hmmmmm. Life long. Just HOW long is “life long”?

Maybe it’s because, this is a beautiful summer and so far, I’ve missed it all. My daughter is missing most of it because I usually did something with her every week and now I can’t. I’ve missed outdoor birthday parties and important graduation parties because I can’t be in the sun, I can’t get “warm” because I could start bleeding somewhere from even thinner blood. I can’t be around anyone that just might get sick in the next couple days, because catching anything right now, would be deadly for me. Glad I didn’t have tomatoes for those couple weeks! It was a God send that I didn’t have any on hand, because I usually do! I don’t think I’m supposed to use mosquito spray, because that’s more chemicals, yet, I can’t let my affected lymph node arm get a mosquito bite…

Maybe it’s because I read the blog of a young woman’s battle with cancer. So so young, just married and hopes of children. Her entire marriage she battled cancer. But at the end of her blog are her husband’s words. She passed. He still writes of her and her accomplishments and how much he loves her. Months later it’s hard for him to write because it still stings so. I should be thankful I have a great husband of 15 years (which I was totally down for our anniversary) and we have the most beautiful, compassionate loving child…. But instead I pitty myself because I don’t want to lose what I have. And I spend so much time worrying & feeling sick, that I’m allowing myself to miss the now.

Then I have thoughts of, was there cancer they saw on the scans but didn’t want to tell me about? Hoping that “positive attitude” & chemo might take care of them like their placebo studies? Was there some they missed? Every day I have strange physical feelings & pains and wonder, is it normal? Is the chemo killing me? Is the cancer growing? Going away? Staying the same? Will those odd pains go away? Will they always be there? When I have my ovaries out, will the hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, insomnia, go away? Or are those things here to stay? Will the radiation cause an entire host of other problems I’m unaware of? Will we be able to afford treatments in a couple months? In a couple years? If we can't....

Throughout this entire experience with chemotherapy, no two treatments went the same. Each time, something different went wrong, or my body reacted different. 3rd chemo, I actually got near a whole week where I had some energy. Not a lot, but more then I’ve had. This last time I was really looking forward to having at least a week where I felt better and hoped to spend time with Sarah. But it didn’t work that way. I had absolutely no energy. I could force myself to sit up and watch a movie one day, or sit outside (in the shade) for an hour, or start to do dishes (couldn’t finish them) but that would tire me out for the rest of the day.

As I move toward more unknowns, which kind of doctors do I need next? Where do I find them? What will my test results & new scans show? When can I go back to work? I’m becoming more and more frightened. I’m a control freak. And a control freak needs those answers ahead of time. I have no answers. Therefore, I’m totally out of control.

I hope I’m not getting bitter. These are just things that float through my head, and sometimes they come in and out so fast, I really feel like I’m going insane

Yes, yes, I know. Sit, relax. Meditate or do yoga…. It’s really really hard to do that with a daughter & husband home all day and feeling crappy. Although, they just went out now…. And look what I’m sitting here doing.
Perhaps I should put the rest of this time to better use.
Thanks for listening.


gayle said...

Everything you are going through, everything you are feeling, other people have felt them too!I hope you find this comforting in some way - to know you are not the only one that feels this way during treatments (remember I volunteered with many cancer patients)- BY THE WAY - Desperate Housewives - the chick survives, and is fabulous - The chemo is a poison, and that is why many people choose to go an aternate route. It is easy to understand that poision kills, but it does not just kill the cancer. you are sick because the posion in your body is making you sick, not just the cancer! Come on, you are not just a control freak, you are COMPETETIVE - fight this bitch and WIN! I know how hard it is to stay positive, BUT IT DOES HELP YOU STAY STRONG - and the fears that you have, remember, FACING THEM AND FIGHTING THEM IS STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS!! Not facing reality is weak! So OK, you have cancer, that is just ONE thing- big, yes, overwhelming, sure, but overpowering, NO WAY! NOT FOR YOU!!Dreams well, Joan of Arc had dreams - some say she made the choice to believe her visions came from a higher power - but what if she was wrong? what if she saw what she was taught to believe - well, we are taught to believe that cancer kills - sometimes that may be true, but many other times, it is not - so , MAYBE your dream was that you and Bobby and Sara have moved into your dream house, and you are just looking back at a time when you lived there and faced everything that you lived through there. NO MORE MESS, well, that is Fabulous! No Bills, Means Cancer is gone and no more medical bills to worry you! One thing I know, is that you will never lose your family and they will never lose you. You will NEVER worry about them if you are dead - READ YOUR BIBLE! You have misread this dream you had, because you are thinking about the cancer, not the truth! YOU MUST STAY WITH US _ DO NOT FALL INTO THE DARKNESS OF FEAR! I LOVE YOU!!
Sammy is in our prayers too!! Love you all - g

C. said...

Wow, what do I say to this other than what I've said all along. You can do this. I'm not basing this on just meeting you, I'm basing this on over 30 years of friendship. You get this mess out any way you can. Let the Dr take care of the parasite and you take care of what's in your head.

As Gayle said,"Everything you are going through, everything you are feeling, other people have felt them too!" Yep, there have been some that have been taken down by it, but there are others who have overcome it all.

A coward feels fear and lets it take over. A hero feels fear and conquers in spite of it. Go ahead and face that fear. Put it in its place. You are a hero. You always have been.

Years ago, when things were going badly for me someone gave me a copy of the serenity prayer....God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

It's all any of us can do, Carol. Not one of us knows when that big book in the sky will turn to the page with our name on it. Who says you will go before me? Who says I won't get hit by a bus tomorrow.

If you don't mind I'd like to share one of my Dad's last lessons for me. Don't be afraid. Don't let fear rule your life. Don't skip things because rain is predicted...go ahead and give it a try and if you get wet, deal with it then. Isn't that being in control?

So much of life is dictated by fear... isn't that a shame.

By the way, the chick on Desperate Housewives is just fine:)

Love you Babe. Keep fighting the good fight.

Rhonda said...

I just want to echo Gayle's comment. You are very strong and you are a fighter - I know how easy it is to feel defeted but you can overcome. I read something writen by a woman named Cathy Goodman, Said she found ways to laugh everyday. She rented movies and watched everyday, Laughter helps us by reduceing stress and giving us something else to focus on. Laugh so herd that you cannot do anything else, then when you go to sleep you'll be thinking about funny rather then sad or depressing. Try it, if nothing else you get to smile for just awile. How can that hurt?
Love Ya! You are always in my thoughts and prayers

Susie said...

There is never a day you are not thought of!