Monday, June 3, 2013

The four finger countdown

It's scan week.

Read: I'm exhausted, but I can't sleep, because I can't shut my brain off.

I hate that I get crazy when I have a scan coming up, but at the same time... I do get crazy, and I've learned that there's nothing I can do about it, so I've come to expect and - on most levels - accept the crazy. The good news is that I haven't been crazy the whole six weeks that I've known that I had this appointment coming up.

That's right. I've had this scheduled for six weeks. MD Anderson called me the second week IN APRIL to schedule this round of appointments. ... As much as I do appreciate them planning things far enough in advance that I am guaranteed the first slot in the radioactive chamber, it's difficult for me to know that far in advance when D Day is going to be.

For the last several weeks, I've had fleeting moments of panic attacks. When the first one hit, five weeks ago, I was lying in bed, when all of a sudden, I could feel blood pumping in my temples and my chest tightened up. I lied there in bed, wondering what was wrong. As I rolled to my side, I heard the words in my mind, "In five weeks, I will know". Aha. That is what was wrong. Awesome.

The panic hasn't been constant, and it's not nearly as crippling as it used to be. But it's still there.

One thing that I hate (I mean, H-A-T-E, in all-caps) is that cancer has taken my hope. ... That sounds extreme. I do not mean that I have no hope whatsoever. I do have hope. I have a whole heck of a lot of hope - that this scan will be clean, that my life will normalize, that it'll never come back. But too many scans have come back dirty, for lack of a better word, for me to go into this with blind optimism. Growing four tumors in less than two years has taken away any trust that I had in my body to not do something stupid. Sometimes I miss the days when I could believe that Darth Vader was just a one-time fluke... I know better now, and that's why I can't sleep.

I lie in bed, and this is what makes me panicky:

- I've had some weird pains in places that I have nerve damage. Call me crazy, but I have to think that feeling stabbing pain where I'm not supposed to feel anything can't be good.

- When I lie flat on my back, my stomach is bigger on the left side than it is on the right. I'm pretty sure that's my liver having crossed over to what used to be an empty cavity. But still... it makes me nervous.

- My back's hurting again in the area where I used to have a kidney. I've started walking again in the last couple weeks, and I'm pretty sure that the pain is related to irritated scar tissue. But in the middle of the night... that's hard to remember.

So, this is what I tell myself to talk me off the emotional ledge:

- Listen, Evans. You knew better than to lift the commercial files. Dollars to donuts, that's why you are feeling pain in your belly-button. Don't do it anymore. Also, the pain in your hip is reminiscent of how it felt last summer, when your body was deep in a healing phase. Maybe this new burning sensation is related to nerves moving onto another level of healing. (Just call me Pollyanna.)

- You don't have any firm lumps/bumps in your body, and you know darn good and well that you had organs migrating when your last scan was done. That could totally explain why your body feels uneven from the outside. ... Yeah, let's go with that. (Note to self: Google livers. How big are they, anyway?)

- Maybe you should take advantage of that new-found ability to roll over and go back to sleep...

Sometimes I can talk myself down. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes I give up, give in, and go get an Ativan. Sometimes, even after I'm drugged, I have to get up and watch another episode of Numb3rs to sidetrack my brain and then I fall asleep on the couch, only to wake up and roll myself back into bed at 2:00 AM.

Four more days. Three more nights. ... In 72 hours, the scan (and the blood work that I love so much) will be done, and I can look forward to seeing my beloved Dr. H.

Maybe if I focus on my dreamy doc, I'll be able to fall asleep. (He beats the heck out of counting sheep!) ... It's worth a shot. Wish me luck!