My writing today will be as real as it can get. Just pure emotion. In real time.
9am: Can’t bring myself to wake up and face the day. There is a heaviness of dread. Can’t wait for the ordeal to be done with. Why do I have to have this rope of anxiety?
10.20am: Ready to go. Wish I could be calm like so many other people and not have anxiety. It makes me feel embarrassed and defective. Often there is no logic to my extreme anxiety apart from the fact that my brain immediately goes to worse case scenarios. It’s a survival mechanism I’ve had as early as age 10 or maybe even earlier. I prepare myself always for the worst.
Recording my feelings so that it can help me the next time. To show myself the outcome is always ok and the day holds pleasant things too.
In the taxi at 10.40am: images of hospital stays involuntarily popped into my mind. Pushing them away now. Maybe there will be a miracle and my cathaport will unclog itself.
10.55am: B sends me a text and it made me feel a lot better already. It’s true that I was looking forward to some quality time and lunch with my mum. It’s been too long. The last time was 7 August 2019. I really need the time with her.
11.10am: Happy to be back in clinic environment. Feels cosy. I have great memories here too. Here I felt safe and for once the chokehold of guilt was removed. I felt free to just rest. I felt free to not have to be productive constantly. Untethered from the demands of a status conscious society.
11.20am: How emotions can change in seconds. My port worked. It feels like a miracle. I’ve never been so happy seeing the dark red blood fill the tubes. I am so utterly thankful and on cloud nine. Told my nurse D how happy I am and she is too. Grateful for my kind nurses. I feel safe in this clinic and don’t want to switch to another oncologist just because my insurance is letting me down with restrictions to a narrow panel of doctors, that they approve of for reasons not stated. My mum said she prayed for me. It must have worked.
The last time my port was clogged I had a terrible experience. I dreaded seeing the radiologist due to my traumatic experience. Waking up from sedation in the middle of a procedure being paralysed and unable to speak, but aware of what was going on. Worst part is they were not aware I was conscious and out of sedation. A nightmare and I had intense flashbacks for weeks.
11.50am: Waiting to be called in to see my oncologist. Familiar sounds of the beeping of the chemo IV indicating the drip needs to be changed now. Feel for the cancer patients undergoing chemo and hope they are well soon. Hear the familiar sound of wheels rolling as patients have to repeatedly go to the toilet to pee. Overhearing that a poor patient next to me needs a stoma. Why am I so fortunate. It’s not fair. I always feel undeserving and this guilt. Can they be spared too please.
12.50pm: Always feel happy after seeing my oncologist. She’s so cheerful and always congratulates me. She did say I should go for a full CT Scan by February next year and I can then consider removing my port. Ports do come with the risk of infection and blood clots so we need to weigh the risks. But for terminal patients the port can be kept in for more than a decade. Again it’s the weighing of the risks. She also mentioned that I could see a ‘nicer’ radiologist rather than the ‘strict’ one.
2.45pm: Feeling so happy after quality time with my mum. Haven’t had this in 3 years. Not sure if she enjoyed having lunch out, but it was great for me. She did enjoy talking to my doctor though because after so long we do get to know our doctors and nurses quite well so it’s not just a regular doctor visit that feels distant and detached.
3pm: My mum did confirm that she was glad to go out with me and happy to find out that the blood could be drawn easily this time. She was also happy to see the doctor and get her assurances. My oncologist was in turn happy to see my mum after 3 years and welcomed her warmly telling her she didn’t age at all. My mum was also glad to see the nurses after so long.
Mum also said she was glad to have the delicious Ippuddo ramen and the soothing calpis soda. The taxis rides were all ok for her. It wasn’t taxing for her to go out.
Just called up the clinic to ask about my results. Said they would email it to me. A little anxiety in the wait.
4.30pm: I finally got it. Relieved that my tumour markers are within the safe range. Feeling thankful at the end of the afternoon.
Will read this post prior to my next checkup. Hopefully it will help me be less anxious. I hope it will help you too, fellow cancer patient. Or just anyone with chronic illness or anxiety.