Today’s Thoughts…

April 5, 2014// Happy Birthday To Me. I am 47 today.

I was 43 when I was diagnosed with cancer. In what was I’m sure a coping mechanism, as soon as I heard the words, ‘You have cancer’, I took away my future. It wasn’t so much that I thought for sure that I would die; rather I refused to think about it at all. I refused to think in terms of anything past two weeks. The world beyond that simply did not exist. At the same time, that little part of me that wasn’t living in the two-week bubble had very specific thoughts about 47. No idea why, but that seemed like the line to cross. Either I would make it to 47 or I wouldn’t. Well here I am.

That little white post card, folded in half and sealed, came in the mail yesterday. The one from my GYN/Oncologist saying my recent pap smear was ‘within normal limits’. I didn’t feel the rush of relief this time like I usually do. Likely due to the PET scan scheduled this coming week. I don’t really have specific symptoms indicating the cancer has reappeared or spread, but I think it’s natural to be concerned. Or completely stressed out, freaked out, a nervous damn wreck. My thoughts are around my bladder. Don’t know why.

I finally had my nephrostomy exchanged yesterday. I suffer from a degree of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as I’m sure most women who’ve been through this do. Mine manifests itself  primarily in my inability to lay flat.  Odd as it sounds, it seems lying flat, particularly on an exam or x-ray table, seems to bring an unreasonable response – all the fear and anxiety I had during cancer treatment comes flooding back. Probably some deep psychological connection to being secured on the table during radiation therapy. Regardless, I tend to have full blown panic attacks in that position.  Because of this, I’ve had to be sedated for the tri- monthly tube exchanges.

Major milestone for me – I climbed up on the table, flipped over on my tummy, and took it like a trooper while they pulled the old kidney tube and inserted the new one. Ok, I couldn’t lay exactly flat; I lost so much flexibility from all the radiation that my body just doesn’t stretch like that anymore. I was more propped on one elbow at a slight angle to my side, but the point is I did it completely awake with no anesthesia or pain meds at all. And remained calm. Of course this was the time they had trouble getting it out. Seems it knotted up at the end. Took some time and much manipulation to get it unknotted – the tech finally just pulled. Ooouchhhy! But the new one slipped right in and I got up and walked away. Very proud of myself.

Trying hard to enjoy my birthday, concentrate on the weather that is finally not dreary and cold, and not think about the PET scan looming in the near future.

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2 Comments

  1. ‘missingmycervix’, I am proud to share a birthday with you! I have never put much stock in astrology but have to admit – I’ve known a handful of people with birthdays between April 4th and 7th, and we all share similar traits. We tend to be strong and intelligent, not afraid to be individuals, although always a little aware we don’t completely fit in with ‘the group’. Above all, we are winners! This experience will always be with you, but I have no doubt it will one day just be one of the things that happened to make you the person you have become. Keep posting!

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  2. missingmycervix

     /  April 6, 2014

    Wow what a coincidence, April 5th is my birthday as well, I just turned 22! I too developed a psychological disorder from treatments and everything… Not psd but something called vaginismus which makes my 4 month paps very difficult. I’m almost finished reading all your posts, I can relate to a lot you say. Can’t wait to read more!

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