In Sickness and in Health

Battling cancer with love, medicine, and the Giver of both.

Good-bye Medi-port

A little over a week ago Josh and I walked into the hospital for an appointment to remove my medi-port.

YAY!!!!!!

Before we went in, they told me I would receive only local anesthesia for the procedure.  I was a little leery of that idea.  When they put my port in they at least put me in twilight zone.  But it was actually fun being wheeled into an OR and being awake the whole time.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  The procedure didn’t take long, maybe 20-30 minutes.  I felt him tugging and pushing and pulling.  At one point something squirted into the air but I have no idea what it was.  It didn’t seem like blood.

A year ago, a simple procedure like this would have had me in a panic.  I was so exhausted from transplant and things as simple as CT’s made me feel anxious.  No matter how unreasonable the anxiety was, it was real!  Anxiety has been an issue for me all my life and I learned to deal with it to some degree.  But when I hit rock bottom physically I no longer had the capacity to ‘deal with it.’  I won’t go into all the details here.  But I wanted to write this part of my story and share it with whoever might be helped or encouraged by it.  The long and the short is that for several months after the transplant, I had an ‘as needed’ anti-anxiety medication called Ativan.  It helped a lot for those times I was too weak to hold things together.  When that ran out last December, I was getting better but knew I still needed something.  Because Ativan is a narcotic they didn’t want me continuing on it.  I discussed with my doctor the possibility of going on a daily medication explaining that I think I need something more.  He agreed and started me on Paxil and I’ve been on it ever since.

It was a journey to adjust to the idea of being on an anti-anxiety medication.  Before deciding to go on it for sure, I was in a turmoil.  At times I wasn’t at all convinced I needed it.  I was getting better.  I thought I’d be fine.  I wasn’t suicidal for Pete’s sake.  Other times I saw how weak (physically and emotionally) I still was.  I sought the counsel of friends and family over this time.  I will never forget what one friend told me.  She said, “Jean, you don’t have to be a hero!”  Thanks to the advice of friends and the support and leading of my wonderful husband, who knows me best, I took the plunge and have been thankful ever since.  It was a slow change, but once my body was fully adjusted, I could tell a world of difference.  I was much more happy and peaceful, often catching myself singing around the house.  And guess what?  My white-coat problems are basically nil.  I can walk into a hospital and finally have a normal pulse.  I didn’t know if that was ever going to be possible.

I’m not one to enjoy cure-all proclamations and I don’t get excited when people start naming all the benefits of whatever they’re on (sorry, I guess I just did).  I have a lot of cynicism and can smell a placebo from a mile away. 🙂  Some of my own benefits from this medication may be in my head, but when things improve without me even thinking about it, I’m pretty convinced.

Believe me, I’m not proud to be on a medication like this.  Neither am I ashamed.  I needed it and I took it.  And that’s just the way it is.

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Living

Well!  As my husband alluded to in the last post, I am enjoying spring and absorbing it all I can.

I thank God over and over for what He has restored and the life I am able to live now, knowing I have no guarantee of the future.

I am living life fairly ‘normally’ at this point.  Gardening, landscaping, housekeeping, and even playing some church softball.  About that…

Softball was never my favorite sport or one I was very good at, but I used to be able to at least hit a pitched ball.  The other night I thoroughly embarrassed myself by playing with a bunch of men and one other lady (church people).  I stepped up to the plate, a little hesitant with it being several years since I played, but decently confident I could hit.  I struck out.  ‘Just a fluke,’ I thought.  ‘I’ll get it next time.’  I have no idea how many times I was up to bat, half a dozen?  I never even ticked the ball.  Not once.  I’m still mulling it over.  My husband graciously suggested it got to my head.  “Watch the ball all the way in,” was repeated numerous times by well-meaning advisers.  A kind gentleman suggested I try T-ball.  ‘In some ways it’s harder,’ he assured, ‘but it really helps with the hand-eye coordination.’  I died inside!  I wanted to tell him that my hands and eyes have always been pretty good buddies, just not tonight.  And I DON’T want to be treated like a kiddy beginner, thank-you very much.  I felt this strong compulsion to explain to everyone that I’m not usually this bad.  But you know how that goes.  It kind-of falls flat in the face of current reality.

I declare, chemo did a number to my brain.  Hah!  No one really fell for that either.

So…the conclusion of the matter is that sometime my husband and I are going to go to the field ALONE!  He will pitch to me and I WILL hit that ball.

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