I'm having a PET scan today. As I write this I've already gotten through my first needle of the day because I had my mid-cycle blood work done about an hour ago. Thankfully my blood came out willingly this time so that's positive. I was anticipating a lot of digging around and playing musical phlebotomists so I'm really relieved to have it behind me.
I'm getting tired guys. I'm physically tired because of the Chemo, but I am getting so mentally and emotionally exhausted. God willing (biology cooperating?), I have only 2 treatments left. In the beginning I had anxiety over the unknown. I thought that with time and experience I would become desensitized and that the desensitization would mean that by the end of my cancer treatment I'd be an "old pro". Being an "old pro" in my mind meant I would reach a point where getting poked with needles and other medical procedures that were previously challenging would become no different than shaking someones hand.
Instead, I'm experiencing some kind of increasing hypersensitivity. It makes sense--my body is registering that it is being poisoned and is rebelling, big time. I'm in an almost constant state of fight or flight and anything hospital related, even just figuring out who will pick up the girls from school elicits powerful nausea, physical shakes, and tears welling up in my eyes. Sometimes I'm not doing anything cancer related but suddenly I'm tasting saline like I do when they flush my IV at chemo even though that's impossible, because I don't have an IV and I'm safe at home. Sometimes the aching in my arms makes it so that all I can think about is being poked with needles, but they are not willful thoughts. When these things happen I feel like such a loser. I feel so out of control. I feel like I should be able to make it stop or that if I was being truly positive and truly brave none of those things would happen at all.
And yet, I am being poisoned. It is good poison. It is saving my life. Unfortunately, none of that changes that my body only knows it's being poisoned, and it wants out. My body is begging me to run away and save it from the poison and it's pulling out all the stops to try to force my hand: anxiety, nausea, flashbacks, exhaustion, anger, dizziness, you name it. No matter what it tries, I have to tell it no and walk back into the fray over and over. My body and I, we are at war with each other right now and it's hard because it's a fight I can't escape. Not only can I not escape it, each skirmish leaves me feeling less capable of fighting the next. I feel less capable, but I am NOT less capable. In the fight between body and spirit, I will only allow my spirit to win, but gosh it's hard.
In the beginning my cancer was essentially an intellectual exercise. The idea that I have about an 80% chance of surviving 5 years after my diagnosis sounded like a guarantee. It was so easy to be positive when cancer was an idea and the discomforts were minimal and fleeting. Now cancer is very real and relentless and believing I'll beat it takes a great deal more convincing. 80% isn't as comforting anymore. I do still believe I will be ok, but it is hard work to believe. I'm believing it because it's the right thing to do. This is seriously where the rubber meets the road when it comes to meditating on my blessings and turning to my faith. It's easy to think that those things aren't working anymore when the fight starts to really challenge me so aggressively. It's easy to think I was being naive and that those things never actually worked at all when I'm experiencing fear or despair or pain or I can't be totally in control of my thoughts and feelings. I wasn't being naive. Meditating on my blessings and turning to my faith are working and they always worked because I keep doing what I have to do, no matter how I feel.
I'm having a PET scan today and a CAT scan on Friday. The results will determine if I really do only have 2 treatments left or if I'll need more. Please, God, please don't let me have more. I don't know how I can possibly take any more. I don't know how I can possibly keep forcing myself to believe if they say I still need treatment. I don't know how, but if I have to, I will. I will do whatever it takes to kill my cancer. I will keep believing we're killing the cancer no matter what those PET and CAT scans say.
Can you do me a favor? Could you pray for me? It really helps, and I really need it.