The last two days have been good. Maybe I mean the last two days I’ve felt good. I’ve been existing in this state of increasing anxiety for a couple months now. I’ve never felt as much that a human is just an animal. I’ve had enjoyable times since February, but it is hard for me to connect with happiness. Even in the best moments I feel trapped and in danger and I want to run away, but you can’t when the danger is your own body. Wherever you go, there you are.
But I’m finding myself more at ease. I can attribute this to two things. First, I have lined up a psychiatrist with whom I’ve set a standing weekly appointment. He is going to help me with all the feelings I’m feeling. And he is helping me contain the anxiety with medication. He also asked if he could read this blog and I told him he could, so if you’re reading this Dr. B., hello.
Just the knowledge that I have someone to help me through the mental and emotional side of this situation helps.
The second thing is related to the physical. Back story for those who need it or forgot it: In February 2011, a day after I started chemo, I landed in the hospital with a perforated bowel (related to a post-surgical infection from the previous surgery in December 2010) and ended up with what was called (at the time) a temporary colostomy. I did not cope with this well. March’s surgery was meant to reverse the colostomy. The surgeon was reluctant (particularly after we found out the cancer was back) but I insisted she try. I hated it.
During the surgery, the surgeons decided that repair would be too complicated and require too long a recovery. I need treatment; they saw the tumors. The surgery wasn’t a complete waste, though–my bladder was stuck to my abdomen, so they fixed that while they were in there. And that’s my bright-siding for the day.
Back on point. I couldn’t deal with the ignominy of having to wear a colostomy bag, but I knew ahead of time that the surgery might be a bust. So I did some research and learned there was a technique I could employ to make the bag unnecessary. I won’t go into specifics, but you can ask me in person if you’re curious, and I’ll give you all the lurid details. After some practice and a lot of tips from this guy, I am happy to say that I am done (for the most part) with bags. The willingness to talk about pooping with a slightly frenetic stranger from the internet is pretty amazing. Thanks for bearing with me, Ezra.
(Feel free to share some embarrassing, overly personal information about yourselves in the comments.)
A story related to surgery and such: Last night I went for dinner with friends from my young adults support group. Colleen, Kirk, Elfi, and I followed up the meal by going to an open house at Gilda’s, the cancer support centre where our meetings are held. It’s a new space, finally furnished and fully functional. We’d been talking about our scars over dinner (three of the four of us have had multiple surgeries, and Kirk and I were in hospital at the same time this past March) and Kirk said he would show us his latest scar. At Gilda’s, after we had done the tour, we popped into a room off the lobby where Kirk pulled up his shirt to show his scar. I pulled my dress up and my tights down to show off my scar, and the fact that where there was once a bag, there was now only a bandage.
As Kirk was doing up his pants which he had undone to tuck his shirt in and I was pulling down my skirt, an old woman wandered in the room (the door was open). The look on her face was pure horror and confusion. Colleen ever so glibly remarked, It’s okay, we can do this in here. Poor old lady. I can only imagine what she thought “this” was.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I am on my way to coping. Even if I still feel like I’m about to have a heart attack every second of the day.