Junior year of the Junior Mint.
It’s been not quite a year since I last sat down under this pen name to write about this damn illness. It really is a pain in the arse. But only one more night before I again find out if the active cancer cells are gone. As you know, I wasn’t clean last year, and frankly, I wasn’t ok. But back to work after the Rx was at full dose and another year flew by with exciting prospects and successes for my daughter and me.
The year went quickly, life brought many ups and downs, and for the last 10+ days, I’ve followed Siteman’s instructions with an Rx (NOTE: without either a thyroid or the supplement, you can imagine the wait isn’t exactly smooth), waited for the pre-test iodine treatment and tomorrow’s full body scan and tests. My anxiety, nerves, emotions and heart race with fear this time. So completely opposite of 2013. (And LOL, 2012 is a complete blur! No idea what even happened except it became clear to my professional family, I shouldn’t be at work. They should call it thyroid brain.)
There hasn’t been one day that goes by that I don’t think about what is in my body that I lack control to manage. Eating healthy is my choice (or not). Time at the gym or on the mat is my choice (or not). Taking my vitamins is my choice. But the ugly word that represents things I can’t see, meaning damaged cells, is just plain scary. At least cleaning the car, turning in my teaching roster, donating my furniture….is something real, something with structure and a check list. Being radioactive is invisible. There is no progress or action to see or touch (except if I try and slip through the gates at the airport and set off the alarm) and damn, only air hugs are allowed.
A good friend said last week what I don’t like is the lack of control. She is right, and while I know that the ugly word isn’t something anyone chooses, I try and remember, this is nothing in comparison to others’ challenges with a cancer. They have a disease. I have a “flu”.
A flu that messes with your mind. Makes me wonder that if fibromyalgia could take over your brain, would it feel like this (?), meaning, helpless fatigue, aches that don’t make sense, and racing thoughts that don’t fit together. Like a 1000 piece puzzle you can see on the box, but the pieces are constantly turning themselves over just when you see the fit to solve the photo. Again, thyroid brain.
As an avid reader, I have read countless article on people with disabilities and/or disease whose family say they never complain. Is that possible? Your body breaks a little in ways you don’t have control or understand, we feel like a burden asking for help, and yet, these gentle souls don’t complain? I am clearly not one of those people, and so when I can’t get it together, it feels doubly worse. For goodness sakes, it’s only a “flu”, Melissa!
The therapist tells me dis-ease is our body’s way of reminding us to slow down, review our choices, reduce stress, reevaluate. Logically, that makes sense. Emotionally, it is overwhelming in this state. The puzzle pieces already don’t fit, so how can I fit them together now of all times?
One more night.
Tomorrow at this time, I will know. Three options: 1. It has spread. Highly unlikely I’m told, yet, they still subject you to the two day radioactive prep treatment, some pleasantries to clean out your system, and a one-two hour dose of full body scans (just to be sure :). Really? If they were sure, couldn’t we just take a blood test and have a nice lunch at Cheesecake Factory on the Radiation Oncologist’s nickel? 2. Active cells remain, same region. With this comes, my third round of the full dose radioactive experience tomorrow afternoon (yep, the geiger counter (kinda the highlight)) and three-day isolation from those with whom you need the most support, plus another year of active worry, or 3. I’m clean, but win four more years of full body scans without the radioactive prep and treatment.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but basically, the junior mint of cancers is essentially spreading the sugary sweetness over a minimum of seven years+.
Complete blur in year one. A mack truck of optimism in year two. Slightly bitter and ready for this to be over- year three.
Thanks for always listening. A little bit of the ick comes out each time I write.
(For those of you who know my earlier posts, Crazy Aunt Delilah’s fancy getup retired herself last week. Felt a bit like I was asking for Karma a third time.)