Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crocodile Tears

Before I went to sleep last night, I was lying in bed reading about the treatment protocol for recurring Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I wanted to make sure I had an understanding of the treatment protocol in case I received negative results today. This resulted in horrible nightmares about having cancer.

I tried to start the day with a good outlook. I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and then began my drive to Charlotte. I could feel tension in my whole body and I couldn’t get my mind off of the upcoming appointment. At one point I began to cry, but I managed to compose myself by the time I got to work.

It was a good day at the office. Bernie brought me breakfast. I then went to lunch with the ladies at the office where we brainstormed T-shirt ideas for the upcoming race benefiting the leukemia and lymphoma society. When we returned to the office, we had a little Birthday party with flourless chocolate cake made by Karen – complete with candles and pink balloons!

Afterwards I started the drive back to Hickory for my oncology appointment. My chest felt tight, and I kept taking deep breaths to shake the tension. They took my vitals, and my blood pressure was high. It hasn’t been high at home, and I explained that I was feeling a bit of anxiety about the appointment. She said that was understandable. They were running behind, so they sent me back to the waiting room. Eventually I was called back. The technician that called me back was the same technician that I freaked out on during my first visit when I had the bone marrow draw. He told me to go ahead and put on a gown on my top half. This totally freaked me out because I usually don’t have to put on a gown.

Then I waited for what seemed like the longest 15 minutes of my life. Finally the mid-level (Jr. level doctor who does the initial exam) comes in and says “PET Scan looked great. How have you been feeling?” I immediately break into sobs. I felt like my body had been wrapped very tightly in ropes, and that they were all at once released. I explained that the waiting has been agony. I told her that while you are fighting cancer you feel like you’re doing something, but the waiting after the fact is brutal. I told her that I felt helpless. She smiled and said my reaction was actually very normal. She said it’s completely expected that I worry over every ache and pain and that I have some anxiety about the scans and follow-up. She handed me tissue and congratulated me.

I waited about another 15 minutes to see the actually oncologist. He too said that the scan looked great. He said that we’d do another PET Scan and follow-up in 3 to 4 months and to call in the meantime with any questions or concerns.

So 39? Not such a bad Birthday. I am taking tomorrow off for some de-compression time and will be spending the day relaxing and thinking about the future. It seems just a bit brighter.

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