I'm sort of nervous about this upcoming scan but trying to be present (as in conscious). The reason for my nervousness is that the last time I had one of these scans it wasn't any fun. (Big Fat Duh) I was getting ready for eight days vacation in Hawaii the very next day. When "they" said it might be cancer the whole universe started sucking so loudly I could hear a huge whooshing sound that didn't stop for several months. I felt devastated, as if my life were over. I felt very alone -- no one could go through this with me or for me, which really pissed me off. They could only stand by and watch. It's like you want to scream out for your mom but she can't hear (not that she ever would listen to me in the first place); no one can hear you. No one can do anything for you but stand faded in the distance. Yet I still had to go to Hawaii and have a great time which, by the way, I didn't. Knowing that the day I returned from vacation, I'd was going to have surgery put a teeny, tiny damper on the trip.
The first part of the vacation I had several days of diarrhea -- the kind where you can't hold it, the kind that interferes with fun, the kind of diarrhea that makes vacationing near an available, working toilet, the absolute best part of any vacation. I also got to see my son, Danny. That was good. And I got to see Mauna Kea and I got to see the Punaluu Bake shop where they have the malasadas which I ate one of, but what the hell? It tasted like bread with sugar on it. (What do I know, I had diarrhea that day but that didn't stop me from trying one of these grease buns.) We barely made it back to the car - that was how expressive my bowels were from traveling to Hawaii, thoughts of cancer, thoughts of surgery and fried dough with sugar. Truthfully the highlight of my trip -- was the bakery and that big candy factory. Oh, and the end of the diarrhea was the coup de grace to my hourly misery.
I have an email into my (as she refers to herself) double-dipping (two kinds of cancer PLUS lymphedema from cancer surgery -- you go girl!) friend, Kathy, so she can give her perspective on the upcoming scan. Kathy's very pragmatic about these sorts of things, tests, scans, chemo, doctors, life. She still gets chemo once a month and probably will get chemo for the rest of her life. She recently told me her latest life (living) goal -- the goal she must reach before she croaks. Recently she was irritated to hear about some drama surrounding the next and latest Harry Potter movies. She must live to see them all! I told Kathy I'd drag her corpse even though I don't care much about Harry Potter movies. I'm just that kind of person. I told Kathy that my first goal is Senior Tuesdays at Ross (I have 3 years!) and it's not that I care about shopping. I just gotta have a goal!
I'm not supposed to spend time in a panic because it's a waste of energy and adds drama. I'm supposed to get on with my life (see goal in above paragraph). When it comes to taking care of myself I want to be able to be relatively self-sufficient, going to my doctor appointments by myself though this scan appointment momentarily had me asking Chris to accompany me. No one is going to give me any results that day. Why do I need someone with me? Last night as I lay next to Chris in bed, he was snoring and I started to weep because I felt sad for myself (not because he was snoring though that is always a possibility). Then I remembered that my nose would plug and I hate that so I had to stop crying.
Why do I feel so frightened? It's not that I am dreading new icky results because I am not. My fear stems from when I went through this CT scan the first time they filled every hole in my body (except my nose and ears) with contrast. I also had to drink some crappy tasting contrast -- too much of it. Then they take you in a room and make you lie down on this table (the industry calls it a couch) that's only slightly intimidating because someone already mentioned the dreaded word cancer the day before so nothing can intimidate you now. Then the technician tells you to roll over while they put more contrast up your butt (the industry calls this "rectal contrast"). Then they inject dye in a spot near your neck. And they tell you to "hold it" (which means you can't breathe or let any of the liquid squish out of any holes) while they slide you under the scanner.
And you lay there. And you hold 'it', and you hold your breath, your emotions and your bowels and you wait. And when it's all over you get to do it again and again and again for probably the remainder of your life. And you are grateful that this technology exists so you shut up and you do what you have to do because the only other choice is not to have a choice.
Ole Diarrhea face, Hawaii, 2007