Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dealing with the Fear

This afternoon, I see the oncologist. And (according to my nurse, Teri) start chemo again. Since last week when I arrived home and heard from the oncology folks about the rise in the blood level, and then having the CT scan, I have felt like I was moving in slow motion. I am walking and talking and yesterday, I even went to work for the full day, but it feels completely crazy to me, like a very bad movie or a dream I just cannot seem to wake up from.

I wrestle with thoughts of my imminent mortality. I try not to, but they are there, present with me every minute. When I cry, it is a kind of anticipatory grief I have over not living long enough to see Sofie in middle school or going off to college.

I know I need to have a positive attitude. It helped me a lot last time. But somehow, last time (was that only ten months ago?) it seemed manageable. It was "contained". I got the big drugs to keep it from spreading. But spread it did.

I am no fool, I know livers are pretty bad places for cancer. And I know that Western trained medical personnel, no matter how kind and well intentioned, are trained to fight with all the big guns, even if the battle is not particularly one they can win.

I am jumping ahead, I know I need more information. But I have always been pragmatic. And I have considered my mortality many times. I know I want to have quality of life, not additional months of being totally sick. My daughter deserves that. I deserve that.

Jamie is still in the middle of her treatments, next week is number four. We are trying to organize all this chaos so that she can have her needs attended to also, while she is trying to support me. She went with me for the CT scan. She is going to the doctor's today. Our lives are open books, more so than when we were together, I think.

The fear seizes me in the night, as I try to sleep. Last Friday, the day I found out about the lesions on my liver, the rain poured down. I listened and thought of the rain as my tears, since I could not let them flow, not that night. Fear is so powerful.

Today, it is crisp and cold, but clear. A nice January day. I was obsessed with trying to get my teeth cleaned, as you are not supposed to do that on chemo, and I just had not gotten around to getting it done in the past four months. But alas, nobody had an opening. I tried my old dentist here and then walked into two other offices, cold calling. Sympathetic, yes but no spaces. Who knew dentists and hygienists were so darn booked up?

I guess that pales in comparison to the other things I have to think about.

I have found myself (over the weekend) in purge mode. I look at the piles of miscellaneous paper and stuff I have accumulated and wonder why I bothered to keep it. I think the short range plan is to trash a lot of stuff over the next few months. Whether I have long to live or not, my office will be organized!

I will let you all know what is going on, as I know more. So many friends from here and across the country have offered to come, to help take care of me/us. I feel surrounded by light and goodness. But still terrified.

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