Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memory Lane

Don't you love how the headline of this "Cancer Guide" reads: TAKE CONTROL...?  As if the reader, the patient, the caregiver has any control over the situation?  As if the controlling action wouldn't just be to say, "Out with you, damn pesky cells, get the eff outta here!"

It made me laugh when I spotted this at the radiation oncologist's office on Monday.  I do love my visits with Dr. Herbert - he is always reassuring and patient.  I left with a job to do:  get to the bottom of my rapid heart beat/low blood pressure.  And thus, today begins the next step of that journey, with yet another visit to my primary care doc.  Scarily enough, I am seeing her 364 days after she told me the chest xray showed a mass in my chest.  364 days.  Tomorrow is one year since the shit hit the fan.

It's all kinds of crazy when I think about what has taken place in the past year.  It was 12 months of ups, downs, twists and turns.  A very large part of me wants to just erase it and move on.  I wish I could pretend it never happened.  Dan, ever the optimist, never fails to remind me of the crazy good things that happened this year, most prominently our trip (c/o For Pete's Sake) to Disney World in January.  And what a wonderful trip it was.

I'm also the proud owner of the super-comfy and comforting Happy Chair along with some other very fantabulous goodies (c/o our amazing friends and family), we survived a kitchen remodel and gained a beautiful new nephew.  We were WELL FED!  I've learned how to meditate, I've become even closer with my husband and son and my parents and I found out how people really feel about me (mostly there's a lot of love out there).  Oh yeah, also, I'm still alive.

So, you know, there's that.  And I mostly try to think of those high points when I'm feeling down in the dumpy and like the universe has it in for me.  Unfortunately for me, those down times come and go like the weather.  Sometimes, there's so much rain, the basement floods.  Other times, the sun is shining and I can open the windows to let the breeze blow through.  Survivorship, as young as it is for me, is really hard.  I'm not sure what I envisioned (or if I even allowed myself to envision myself here) six months ago, but it probably wasn't this.

I bet it was a feel-good, movin-on, livin-my-life, no-one-can-stop-me vision.  As if I would just strong through the fear and the uncertainty.  Yeah, it's not quite like that.  Rainy days are rainy (and coincidentally, quite hormonal.  hmmm.).  Sunny days are sunny.  And there's not a whole lot of in-between.  Some days it's really really hard to feel grateful.  Like when I discover I'm dealing with yet another lingering side effect from treatment - or even something totally unrelated to treatment - that is just purely going to make my life more difficult.

My therapist accurately described this fragility today when she said I really don't have very much cushion between my core and the outside world.  There's no room for more crap, no margin for error.  When the cheese drawer in the fridge breaks, I cannot deal.  When I find out I cannot get an appointment with the cardiologist for a whole month (and that's out of SEVENTEEN doctors in the practice!), I break down in tears.  Some days are like this (terrible, horrible, no-good and very bad).


Dan came with me to see my doctor this morning, as I prefer not to go alone since being blindsided 364 days ago with chest xray results I didn't know I was going to receive.  I had another EKG done, my PC doc listened to my chest, my pulse and gave me a full exam.  She says everything looks a-ok.  Except I have this one small problem:  my pulse is high.  Like, too high.  120 today.  (Plus I have relatively low blood pressure)  It's been like this for a few months now.  Since she's already run all of the primary tests to rule out big stuff (heart damage or thyroid disorder caused by radiation, checking pulse-ox - which was 100% today), she is referring me to a cardio to get a little more specific.  I suspect next stop will be to get a MUGA scan to get a better idea of how my heart is operating besides just taking measurements (which is what they did during my echocardiogram).

a year ago.
I will keep you posted as to the ongoing investigation into my tachycardia (aren't I fancy with all the medicalese?).  For now, I'm off to bed, trying to put the past 364 days in perspective:  breathe in I'm still here.  breathe out I'm still here.  breathe in I'm still here.



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  2. When you submit your book proposal to a publisher, this will be the blog that seals the deal. The past year has taken much away but it has given you a voice that gets stronger and clearer, poignantly telling us your story in a way that makes us want to hear and understand more. The power of your words allows us to emphasize, fury and rally. When the cheese drawer breaks or the cardiologists' booking agents reduce you to tears, just remind yourself-- you're human. And this has required super human-ness. Bravo, Mia. We love you.

  3. Thank You for sharing your journal with all of us!! Mia, You ROCK!!!

  4. you are so incredible and strong Mia - sending love and positive energy your way <3

  5. Oh my god, if I couldn't get to the cheese I'd have to go on some sort of killing spree. Give me a call if you want to go on a walk through Wissahickon soon.