Grasping at some semblance of control

Today I got scared.

I’ve been expecting it for a while, but it still hit me pretty hard. Probably a combination of knowing that chemotherapy will start in a few days and feeling like this week has gone to hell with appointments and visits to doctors offices and the culmination of two months of upheaval from any kind of regular routine.

I went to the cardiologist’s office to get set up with a holter monitor, and for some reason when he told me that I had to bring the recorder back the following day, something in my head snapped. It wasn’t part of my plan for the week. It was taking away from the only vaguely normal day I had planned this week, and making me cut my workday up into slivers.

My hair is short. It will get shorter.
My hair is short. It will get shorter.

I nodded and said I’d bring it back, and internally I could feel myself rebelling against the idea of coming all the way back to the North Shore mid-morning because it wasn’t part of my plan. I’m flexible. These things don’t bug me. But this time it did.

So I went to work, newly outfitted with a bunch of stickies on my chest connected to wires going into a little electronic recording device, and I felt annoyed, off, frustrated. I had trouble focusing on anything, and I felt like this one little thing had pushed me off the edge into an out-of-control spiral. I did not like, not one bit.

In an attempt to regain control, or at least feel like I was, I looked up salons in Vancouver that might take my hair and donate it to a cancer wig place. I found one across the street from my office, so rather than sit at my desk thinking about not knowing what was coming next, I went across and talked to them about getting my hair chopped off before chemo.

It was quiet there; they chopped it off for donation, then gave me a nice short cut. I felt less overwhelmed, but the undercurrent was there. I was scared.

What’s to be scared of, really?

I’m still scared, but I’m not scared of everything I’ve learned about what to expect from chemotherapy. What scares me isn’t what I know. It’s what I don’t know, and what I can’t begin to know until I’ve been through it. I’m scared of not knowing how chemo will feel, and how I’ll react to the drugs.

I was scared of the biopsies in the same way; not knowing how it would feel made the lead-up to all of them harder. Once I was going through it, I could put myself in the right frame of mind to just deal with it. But I’m not there yet with the chemo. Instead, I’m as close to overwhelmed as I’ve been through this process. And of course it’s all happening while I’m recording my heart rate on a holter.

Adam told me, lying in bed tonight when I couldn’t sleep, that I can’t put on a brave face all the time. He’s right, but then again, that’s what I do to get through it. I’m just remarkably good at faking it till I believe it’s true, at which point it becomes true. I assume that’s what everyone does; maybe I’m wrong though.

I asked someone else to come to work tomorrow, pick up the holter test, and bring it back to the doctor’s office on the North Shore, so I can stay at work and have one last nearly sane day before this week goes sideways. It’s these little random things that help keep me stable. People are good, and everyone seems to want to help in some way. Even wanting to help — it helps.

And maybe now that I’ve written this all down, my brain will let me sleep.

1 Comment

  • Mom

    November 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    We seem to deal with things the same way. It’s a good way, most of the time.