Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fighting Fear

Went for a routine CT scan last Thursday, routine as far as keeping an eye on the liver tumors, which have mercifully been shrinking.

I tried to put it out of my mind.  I believe if you imagine negative outcomes, they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I hadn’t heard from the doctor by Monday but around 7:30 that night I got a call from the local hospital’s scheduling department saying that my oncologist had ordered a PET scan, which is a more intensive and comprehensive diagnostic test.

It was too late to call her to get details and but the implications were not good, something must have shown on the CT scan. Because I didn’t know what the results had been, I assumed the worst.  I assumed worse than the worst. All my carefully organized positive thinking flew out the window so fast I am surprised the glass didn’t break.  I was a MESS.   I had hours and hours to agonize over what had been found and each hour had me escalating fear and anxiety exponentially. 
One of the hardest aspects of not having a significant other is having no one to share the burden, to talk you off the ledge.  It doesn't help having my little dog, because she acts sadder than me when I am upset.  The cat only cares that I sit still and provide her with a comfortable spot to sleep on, so  that is not exactly comforting.  On a certain level, I absolutely do believe God is with me and loves me and symbolically holds me in His arms.  But when push comes to shove, there is nothing like a flesh and blood person sitting in front of you encouraging you to calm down.

As early as I could, I sent my daughter a message asking if she could give me just a little bit of her company.  I hate to ask.  She works nights and has two little ones.  But she was over within minutes, after getting my precious Maddy on the bus for school.  Her quiet, sensible cheerfulness made a difference immediately.  We called the doctor’s office to see if we could get some details, but she was with patients and I had to leave a message.  My daughter had to get going before I got a return call, but her visit had made me feel so much better. 
I didn’t hear from the doctor until late that evening!  This was a first where I had been left hanging this way, she is usually incredibly responsive and considerate.
It was not the dire news I had envisioned.  But it wasn’t exactly good news either.  There has been some change in the tumors and she wants a clearer picture, hence the PET scan.  She wants to discuss the possibility of Radio Frequency Ablation again.  That procedure had been considered last spring.  But it requires general anesthesia.  Because MS has partially paralyzed my diaphragm, undergoing general anesthesia would result in me being on a ventilator to breathe for me for the rest of my life.

I have been blessed with the most incredible network of loving friends.  But it is hard to stay strong when you are alone at three o’clock in the morning and your mouth is dry with fear and dread.  So it is back to the drawing board.  I have set myself up a regimen of prayer and meditation.  I am focusing on healing and reinforcing confidence in God to ease my fear.  I need tangible bolstering, so I am listening to affirmations, reading affirmations and setting my timer to regularly remind myself to pray and listen.  I am a walking Affirmation.  I am willing myself to eliminate fear from my consciousness.

When my youngest daughter was an adorably sweet and funny nine year old, she regularly drew me pictures to post over my desk at work.  I still have some of my favorites.  One said how much she missed me when I was at work and she wished she could be with me “the hole day”.  lol  Loved that one.  But the one I framed and have truly cherished all these years, even before I got sick, is this one.  It shows a tiny stick figure in a boat on the sea, buffeted by wind, waves and tornadoes.  Two large hands are stretched out over the figure and the words say “God will always protect you!”:

I have it in front of me now, my much needed reminder.  Please Lord, I pray, let me feel your comforting presence around me.


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