Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PTSD, PET/CT, PCP and back to PTSD

The last month has been great - truly.  I have had so much fun, thought beyond one week, gotten my strength (and my vanity - I would like to say I am a bigger person, but there it is, I am not.) back.  For Christmas, Grant got me a heart monitor watch.  It is EXACTLY like the ones that I trained with when I first got out of chemo and had to do physical therapy to learn how to train my heart.  See, your heart takes a beating in chemo.  The medicine is pumped into you and it goes to your heart first.  It is the most efficient way to spread the chemo quickly with the least damage to your veins and arteries.  Your heart being a strong muscle can handle it better than any other organ, but not without cost.  So, when I was out the first time, I had to go to PT to learn how to rebuild my heart strength slowly.  This brings us to PTSD.  The day after Christmas Grant had the watch set up and I got geared up to go for a walk.  I told him exactly where I was going and that I had my cell phone and that if anything happened I would call him BELIEVING that I would have a heart attack right in the middle of the street.  I did no hills and I went for a short walk.  They say the truth will set you free.  I say, the truth will make you feel like an IDIOT.  My heart rate never got above 102.  No risk of heart attack there.  Grant chuckled when I told him thinking I am sure, "Well, so much for immanent death."  The next day, I did the hill out of the valley.  I was in my target heart rate and things were perfect.  In disbelief, I walked faster and harder.  I was told I am never allow to get my heart rate over 160.  I was thinking, "Does my heart rate go to 160?"  I got it there once.  Truth makes you feel like an idiot.  HOWEVER, I now walk the kids home from school and don't panic about it.  I guess my heart like the rest of me has somehow gotten used to this.  I am not sure if that is good, or sad, but I choose good for now.

Hank gave me the month of January off - like really off - no doctors, no appts - no nada. Then, my Doc's nurse from Cyberknife calls and says, we need to set up your PET/CT.  NOPE.  NOT DOIN' IT, NOT CALLIN' YOU, NO!  Three days later I think, crap, I should at least start the referral process.  That can take WEEKS.  That brings us to PCP.  I never had to have a Primary Care Provider, but I did have a guy in Kent that I went to.  I met with him and said, "I am not sure I would take me on.  Here is a list of my doctors."  Handed him the list and even he says, "Wow, that is a lot."  But, to his credit, or stupidity, he did.  I am STILL in process of the referral, but it is going and when I get that done, my scan will be mid February.  Then we got back to PTSD.  It is strange how it creeps up on you.  Mainly, it happens when I am shopping and I say, "I will stop in there and get this.  Who knows when I will be able to get back here."  Truthful answer, the next day or the next day or the next day.  With both kids in school and me out of treatment, I am so free, but I am still in the pattern of being so cautious.

So, now remember how I started this post, "The last month has been great - truly."  And it has, but my great and most peoples are different.  Example:  My parents are old.  I still have a Grandma that is alive.  Medical issues are at our door step - and knocking.  My mom will need surgery, but from everything I can tell it will be fine.  My Dad will be doing some treatment, but from everything I can tell (and I have been to the doctor with him), it will be fine.  My Grandma went to the doc and she is fine despite what the Heath Center tells us.  I may have to sit them down and say, "No, she is ALWAYS cranky, mean, stubborn, difficult, and cantankerous.  It is actually a good health sign."  So, here is my "great" part.  My family (Mom and Dad) were all on the phone after Christmas and we talked about their medical stuff and Grandma.  There was not one mention of me.  When I hung up I said, "Well, that was refreshing."  I am WARPED.  My Mom sometimes says to me, "I do not know how your do this.  Plus, all of this takes so long, why can't we just do the surgery and get it over with.  Plus, I hate waiting in the waiting room so long, can't they be on time?!?!"  My answer, "What choice do I have?  Let's get a good diagnosis before we start hacking at you and the longer you wait the less severe your case is - that is a good sign.  It is a bad sign when you just walk in and they see you, and the next day another doc sees you, and the next day another doc sees you.....get it?"  My Mom has been a trooper like always, but my Dad, well he, is pouting.  One day was I talking to him and he said, "I still do not want to do all this."  NOTE - ALL THIS is about 3 months.  I turn around and look at him.  He says, "I suppose I am not going to get any sympathy from you."  I reply in the most smart alecky way I can, "Y-e-a-h, noooooo."  He responds with, "I still don't want to do it."  By this point, I am exiting the living room saying something like, "Cry my a frickin' river Dad!  I have a stuff to do!"  Now, on this one, I have to say I  am not warped.  I would have done that anyway.

Oh, and I am reading again.  I remember when one of my cancer buddies - the one with the lego cyberknife - started reading again.  He read the Book Thief.  I had read it a few years ago and I remember it like yesterday.  It is in one of my top ten (of which I only really have five).  But, the chemo has cleared and fatigue no longer keeps me from reading.  I read the Night Circus (five stars) and I am now, on Auntie Jane's recommendation, reading Where'd you go Bernadette? with my bookclub.  I love reading.....

Last thing, my boys are hilarious   I am laughing most of the time.  I could go on about them for days, but I will leave you with this.  Mason and Nolan watched the movie "Frakenweenie" by Disney last evening.  It is about a boy's dog that he brings back to life.  Well, Mason took it hard and cried and cried for Africa.  I tried to make him feel better and thought he just needed to sleep.  Then this morning, he comes into my bed to cuddle and is STILL sad.  I had tried all the usual things - nothing.  I wanted to say, "Remember when we were starting to take Africa to the vet and you kept talking about when she would die so you could get kittens?!?!?!?"  Heck, Africa was in the car with us while this was going on!  But, I didn't, being a parent teaches you restraint cause I was never like this before!  Anyhoo, I sat him up and said, "I have to tell you something."  BIG BREATH.  "Sometimes things are just meant to be and no matter how hard to try to not have something happen, it does.  Remember, when we got Molly Moon and Hannah June?  Remember that day? (He nods.)  Well, Mason, I need to tell you that I had gone to the shelter before I took you and your brother that day.  (His head tilts.)  Let me back up....after Africa was gone and we had Cutie Pie, I was happy with just having one outdoor cat.  I petted her twice a day, no litter box, no nothing.  I was in treatment and I was tired, but you boys kept at me about getting kittens. So, I went to the shelter and made sure there were no kittens that met all of our requirements before I took you."  (Head up and eyes burning into my skull.)  Okay, okay, not my proudest moment...let me finish....40 mins later, we showed up and after looking and determining that there was nothing, we were going to leave, and the woman said, "Oh, two kittens just came out of surgery, they will be available tomorrow."  Remember that Mason?  (He nods now smiling.)  Remember how those two little kittens meant all of Mommy's requirements - under six months, sisters, not black.....(Now nodding happily).  Well, see?  I tried hard, but there they were, and how could I not listen?"  "Listen to what Mommy?" he asks.  "Listen to Africa on God's lap, telling me it is time to let go and love those two kittens.  (pause)  Now, you see, they were supposed to be ours.  To ignore that would not be right."  "Do you think Kokanee (our other cat that died a few years ago) was there too?" he wonders.  "No, Mason.  She was too much of a spaz.  Now, get ready for school and no more of this.  Life moves on and we have to move right along with it. Oh, and by the way, Mommy was sneaky right?  Did it work out for me?  (He shakes his head now smiling.)  Yeah, well, it won't for you either!"  He hugs me and kisses both Molly and Hannah (who have congregated on my bed with us during all of this) on the head and then skips downstairs to eat.  Me?  I am holding my hand to my mouth trying not to make a sound.  Tears streaming out of my eyes.  PTSD sneaks up again.  "Can I have cereal??" Mason calls from downstairs.  I wipe my tears and call back, "Of course, you can."  Life moves on and we have to move right along with it.

Love, Ang


Anonymous said...

Hi Ang,
It is wonderful to hear about your month and being able to read again! That was so hard during Steve's cancer... we are both book lovers and neither one of us could focus and escape into the pages of a good book for a few hours. Enjoy your health, walks, kids, kittens, books and yes even your PTSD : )
Best Wishes,

auntie jane said...

Hey there girlie! Great to hear how well things are going!!! Sounds like lots of exciting things happening...the reno and all.
I'd love to work on the duvets covers together. Would be fun.
Love ya, Jane

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