RSS

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Anniblogsary

Apparently today is my two year anniversary blogging here on WordPress.com.

Woohoo? I mean, I really don’t like the fact that I have these issues I need to blog about, but it is what it is, right?

But no, really, I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve met here, and I’m ever so thankful for that.

I’m off to celebrate with some butter pecan gelato. Jealous much? 🙂

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2015 in anxiety

 

Tags:

Um, ow.

Okay, so I made it through all the medications and such. And I got to the gyno office, where I waited. And waited. And got moved to another waiting room to wait. And went into an exam room to get vitals, then back to the waiting. Then FINALLY into the procedure room, where I got to wait some more.

But the nurse was nice, and after being told what would happen, I told HER what might happen. About my anxiety and my potential for panic attack and/or bursting into tears. AND that my leg muscles aren’t great, so as such…the candy cane stirrups. I didn’t realize the actual position it would put me in, and that hurt my hips A LOT.

Also, apparently warm speculums are not a happy thing for me. That actually hurt like a burn.

I’m really tired and sore and achy. I am going to shower and get into bed. I’m moderately hopeful I’ll be okay tomorrow, because my mother goes for a 2nd opinion and I want to go with her.

More in another post when I’m feeling better. But I wanted people to know that I made it through, no panic attack. Moderate pain during the procedure, but it could have been worse. Thanks to those were thinking of me.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t posted

mostly because I wasn’t sure I was ready to really share. Sometimes I need time to process before I know what to say. Often when I’m in session with T, she’ll say things and I’ll just sit there for a minute before I say, “Oh-kay” even. And then I’ll need to take home what she’s said and really process it.

I’ve been processing the hell out of some stuff.

We went to see my mother’s new radiation oncologist, who was not upbeat about the situation. He, in fact, was very gloom and doom about my mother’s prognosis. She hadn’t had her PET scan yet, but he seemed to indicate that they weren’t likely to be able to “cure” my mother. We spoke with him for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour, and he tried to explain what was going on. The phrase that still eats at me is, “Chance of cure is not high.” It took me a while to think on the fact that just because she can’t be “cured” doesn’t mean she can’t live WITH the cancer. But at that point, we still had no results of the PET scan, so we had no decisions to make. She has since had her PET scan, but the radiation oncologist did not call her to talk to her about his suggested path as he was supposed to. She ended up calling his office three days after the test, talked to the receptionist and left a message (the receptionist said, “oh, it’s always good that the patient calls to remind the doctor he was supposed to call” and she was SERIOUS not snarky!) but didn’t get a call back. So she called her chemo oncologist and left a voice mail and HE called back right away. He said he was going to call the other doctor first thing this morning to talk to him. Then he sent her the written report. But reading those damn things is…hard. So we still have no set path, and at this point Mom has decided she wants a second opinion, no matter what.

The appointment was hard. The doctor put his hand on my shoulder as we were walking out of his office and said, “I’m sorry to give you such bad news.” It made my heart skip a beat. It’s like you aren’t sure what is exactly being said, but when a doctor says that to you point blank, you really get it. On the way home in the car, we were only mildly discussing the appointment, but also trying to talk about other things. I knew my mother was upset–this whole episode has been much worse than the original diagnosis, the hysterectomy, the chemo–so I was trying to do something to help her. I finally wrote on my notepad (I always take notes for her during appointments), “Today you are okay.” I ripped the page off and handed it to her, and I told her to just keep it in her pocket. Every time I see her she shows me that she has it with her. The truth is, today she IS okay. The recurring spots are small and localized (at least from the CAT scan that found them), and she’s not having symptoms. (The unfortunate part is that they are concerned it has made its way into her lymph system…and also that it recurred so quickly after chemo ended.) So my brother and my uncles (her brothers) are all researching and inundating her with information, but I’ve been staying out of it. I’ve been doing what I can do, which is talking about other things with her. Doing other things. Planning other things. When she brings something up about the cancer or the research, I talk with her. But otherwise, I don’t bring it up. She has enough of that from everyone else.

The same day my mom was getting her PET scan, I was in with the gyno CRNP talking about MY fantastic upcoming procedure. Apparently the next step for me is something called a hysteroscopy. Where they put you in stirrups and shove a camera and a tube past your cervix into your uterus–which they fill up like a water balloon with some liquid–and poke around. They also take “material” for biopsy to see what’s going on. This is done in their women’s procedure center, attached to their office, which fortunately is attached to a hospital. So I get to be awake, but I’ll be having all kinds of medication. Now I’ve had a biopsy before, but no camera. This is supposed to take a little longer and likely be more uncomfortable than just a biopsy because the camera is larger and there’s more that needs to be done. In preparation for this fantastic voyage, I get to start my week by taking 800mg ibuprofen today, 2x a day, for two days. That’s today, by the way, and I’m home alone. So I have no Hub to be my safety person as I take my pills. I know it sounds weird because we’re talking about ibuprofen, but I haven’t taken ibuprofen in 15 years. I take nothing, other than the occasional antibiotics and only recently that stupid progesterone. I don’t even take tylenol or aspirin. So I get to take that ibuprofen with lunch, then again with dinner. Then 2x tomorrow, as well. AND I get to take something weird tomorrow night to “soften” my cervix in preparation for the camera. And then morning of the procedure, I get more ibuprofen AND a beta-blocker (which the doctor says is FINE with my PVCs) in preparation for counter-acting the epinephrine I’ll be getting directly into my cervix during the procedure (which causes people to be “jittery” and anxious!). I’m so unhappy about all these medications, I can’t even explain. I’ve been blocking this whole thing out until this morning so I wouldn’t have to think about it. I asked if they were going to be monitoring me, and the CNRP said they’d do my blood pressure ahead of the procedure, but during they basically just visually monitor me…and depend on ME to tell them if something is wrong. I wanted to laugh and cry, because those of you who are anxiety sufferers KNOW that we don’t interpret things–like pain, breathing, heart rate–properly when we’re anxious. Now the doctor DID prescribe me a couple of ativan pills in case I needed (or wanted) to take it the night before or morning of the procedure. I’ve had ativan ONCE in the hospital ER when they were putting me into the MRI. I don’t remember much about it, but I’m worried if I take the ativan (0.5mg) the morning of, I won’t be alert enough to tell them if something is wrong. I’m open to opinions on that from those of you who have experience with ativan.

I’m also concerned about being in that kind of horrible position for an extended period of time, due to my muscle issues. The CRNP keeps telling me that recovery shouldn’t be bad–lots of women go back to work the next day, some even go “shopping” the same day she told me–but I have muscle pain after going to an annual exam because of having to keep my legs open without any kind of support. So the CRNP offered me “candy cane” stirrups, which I found out later will sort of hang my feet in the air rather than me putting them into stirrups and having to keep them balanced. No idea if the candy cane stirrups will be better.

On top of all of that, I am trying to ignore the potential result of the biopsies they might get. This part has been really really hard, because it scares me the most.

I’m feeling overwhelmed between what’s happening with me and what’s happening with my mom. The potential scheduling of my procedure caused me so much stress because I KNOW it’s going to take me a couple of days to recover, and I was worried that my mother was going to have an appointment during the time I was unable to get around to go with her. I tried to work things out, but we had no idea what timing was going to be with her scan and her results and etc. As it turns out, because she’s considering a second opinion, I should be okay by then to go with her. And if not, my uncle (her brother) has really stepped in to attend appointments…he has some medical background, so he understands things differently than we do.

So just the length alone of this post should indicate my mental state, eh? If you’ve read all of it, thank you. If not, no worries. I just needed to be able to vent AND put this all done for posterity.

(and for record’s sake, my PVCs have been milder and less often in the past two or three days. I have no idea why.)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Decide to stop

I wish I could. I wish I could just decide to stop worrying. If I could even just decide to stop worrying about ONE THING. I wish I could.

I’m nauseous a lot these days. I thought it was the hormones that did it, but the pills are over with and so is my cycle. Why am I still nauseous? My stomach is less than happy, but that’s not terribly new for me. Today I’m sitting here waiting for Hub to come downstairs to lunch and I get jaw pain. I feel nauseous and I get jaw pain. Past couple of days my arm has been bothering me. My left arm. So we all know what those things mean, right? My heart. There’s got to be something wrong with my heart. I’ve been to the cardiologist, and he’s told me he sees nothing wrong (other than these fucking PVCs). It’s a recent visit, so what could have changed between then and now. Not much, I suspect. But still, my health anxiety ramped right up like it was never gone. Not that it was GONE, just that I’ve worked really hard to try to deal with it. I haven’t yet worked myself into full panic mode here, but that doesn’t mean feeling the way I’m feeling now is easy. It sucks.

I have this imbalance issue. If anyone has ever been on a boat and then when you get back onto land, you feel like you’re still on the boat. The ground under you feels like it’s moving and uneven. You walk like you’re drunk sometimes. For most people, their balance system readjusts soon after being on land (soon ranges in length of time, but for most people their system DOES readjust). For me, I had no boat ride, I just got the imbalance. It never really goes away, but sometimes it’s less noticeable than others. And sometimes it’s way more noticeable. Since the hormone jump, I’ve been dealing with it daily, walking down hallways and holding onto the walls. Always touching something nearby to ground myself from falling over. I don’t usually fall, but it often feels like I’m going to. It also makes me feel weak and out of control of my body. It’s not fun. This isn’t a health anxiety thing…I know what this is (or at least what the doctors tell me it is) and I’ve lived with it for 15 years. But like I said, sometimes it’s way less noticeable. Right now, very noticeable. It affects a lot of what I do and how I do it. This is really part of the reason I stopped driving, for fear that this imbalance turns into vertigo (which it has a couple of times) and for fear that the imbalance will affect my ability to react while I’m behind the wheel. I have driven the past couple of weeks, but not much. I would really hate to lose that accomplishment.

I feel like I’ve fallen backwards, both in how I feel physically as well as mentally. I know how clearly one is connected to the other. It’s easier to feel good mentally when you feel good physically. My challenge is how to disconnect the two and learn to feel good mentally even when my body doesn’t play along.

Does anyone else rock forward and back when they feel anxious? Or jitter their leg(s)? I have always rocked to try to distract myself from the anxiety. The leg jitter? That’s more to get the excess energy out, I think. I’ve been doing both more often, which is another sign that my health anxiety is getting the best of me.

Why do I worry so much about my heart? My parents and maternal grandparents have (had) no heart issues. My father’s parents both died of heart problems, but it was either when I was very young (too young to understand) or before I was born. I don’t know why the focus is there. I’ve always been overweight and I wonder often if I feel like I’m punishing myself for being overweight by worrying about my heart. Like being fat equals dying of a heart attack. I don’t know. I wish I could figure out how to forgive myself for being fat to see if that would help me let go of the health anxiety. But again, that’s something I am working on…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boob mapping (ultrasound)

Follow-up to my Boob Squish post.

I had my pelvic ultrasound this morning (which got rescheduled because we had icy weather). The CRNP tried to call me this afternoon, but I was at my breast ultrasound. By the time I got home the office was closed. The tech confirmed the big fibroid (not surprising) and a thickened uterine lining (also not surprising considering my history). She did confirm that no impingement on my kidneys or anything, so that was good. The question is, what does the CRNP want to do next. No clue.

I went out to the Boob Mapping this afternoon. Once again, I had to sit around and wait for my appointment. At least it was only 20 minutes this time, in comparison to almost 45 minutes last time. The tech had me change into the gown and she took me into the ultrasound room. When she was setting me up, I asked her if she had a roadmap for where she wanted to go and she said YEP. But that was pretty much all the small talk I got. And because of the location of the machine and how I was lying on the gurney, I couldn’t see a damn thing on the screen. She concentrated on a couple of places on each side of each breast, goop going everywhere. Then she handed me a small towel, told me I could “clean up” and said, “You can lay there or sit there or whatever. Be back!” and she left the room.

If you are reading this and you are a radiology tech…take the extra minute to explain WTF is going on. I had no idea where she went or why, or how long she’d be gone. I was left sitting in this tiny, stifling, darkened room. Alone. With a blank machine and only my imagination. I finally realized on my own that they must have been having a doctor review the ultrasound. But I had no idea how long that was supposed to take. Why were they taking so long? Why was no one telling me what was happening? Was a doctor going to talk to me? If a doctor came into the room with the tech was that good or bad? Seriously, one extra minute of the tech’s time would have given me 10 minutes of less stress if I had understood what was happening. I tried to do deep breathing but the room was so small and so stuffy that I couldn’t do it.

Finally, the door opened and the tech came in with another person, who introduced himself as a doctor. Was that good or bad that he came in? Routine? Bad news? WHAT?! I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my throat and I wanted to scream. If the tech had told me this was routine, I might have heard everything that was said, you know?

Luckily, the doctor explained that one side of one breast was denser than the other breast, which was the reason for the ultrasound on that side. They found nothing concerning. The reason for the ultrasound on the other side was that the mammo picked up something and they wanted to see it better. He said between the mammo and the ultrasound, they feel strongly that it is a cyst (fluid-filled, he said — I said I seemed prone to cysts, since I have a long history of sebaceous cysts…he seemed uninterested). Benign. Nothing to worry about. Everything looks clear, he said. He asked my age, asked if this was my first mammo, and then told me they’d see me in a year. Nothing to follow-up on before then. He smiled and told me to have a good evening. I thanked him and tried not to be to profuse about it. The tech directed me back to the dressing room and told me to have a good day. I rushed to get dressed and went out to find Hub. I told him all seemed clear.

Then when we got home I had the voice mail from the CRNP at the gyno. Since it was from 3pm, I knew it wasn’t about my breast ultrasound because I hadn’t even been called back at that point. She only told me to call back, no other clue.

In the meantime, last night, I slept NOT AT ALL. I had a small panic attack, mostly because I felt like my heart was going too fast and was too loud. I couldn’t lie down. I couldn’t rest. I tried really hard to meditate with deep breathing, which I feel like I was actually able to do. But as soon as I stopped breathing and tried to lie down to go to sleep, my heart started pounding again. I started worrying that I was having an arrhythmia, because I felt like my heart wouldn’t slow down. So I had to be up at 6:30 this morning to get ready for my first test, and by 5am I was still awake. I dozed off for about an hour, then was awake. At 6:30 the doctor’s office called to reschedule my first test because of the icy roads. I dozed again from about 7-8am, then I was awake. It was a sucky night and I feel exhausted. I hope to make tonight a better night.

Tomorrow it’s my brother’s colonoscopy and my father’s acupuncture appointment.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,