Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I've Been Thinking

I usually only talk about events here. Today I want to talk about my thoughts and feelings and fears.

I have a quote from Freya Stark in my sig line on the FDMB: There can be no happiness if the things if the things we believe in are different from the things we do. How interesting I chose that quote about a year ago.

I have discovered through my individual therapy that some of the things I believe in are different from the things I do, and that has led to anxiety and depression. I try to stay true to my core beliefs, but the cancer and its treatment has put me in a place contrary to some of them.

What might be the "offending" core beliefs? Hummm, two are work ethic and self-discipline. I simply cannot concentrate enough to complete the tasks I feel I need to (like finishing the book I was writing when I was diagnosed). I feel that not only have I let myself down, I have let others down. And now there's the disability payments. I need the money, but as Laura says: there's a true example of mixed feelings.

I don't know what the solution is, but at least I have now identified the problem. I also have found some coping tools, such as deep breathing and yoga and unconditional life acceptance (UOA).

What is UOA? It's a philosophy in some recovery programs that life isn't "out to get you." Life can bring crap, small crap, big crap, but that crap isn't directed at you. You just happen to be the one in the wrong spot when crap falls out of the sky.

By accepting that crap happens, and that it is not directed at me, I have been able to become a little calmer about the mess my life has become. I try to not take it personally, and just calmly take out the dust pan and broom when the crap falls.

Sometimes, my crap-coping mechanisms are maladaptive behaviors. For example, expressing frustration with anger. That gets me nowhere. I am working on identifying and trying to correct those maladaptive behaviors.

I've also been thinking and talking with my cancer groups about my cancer fears. I have almost got myself convinced that this cancer is going to metasticize, so I would just rather it happen sooner rather than later so that I can stop waiting for the ax to fall.

Part of that belief is coming from how I have been feeling lately. I am tired; flat-ass fatigued. I am having pain in my back and left hip, and have started feeling mittelschmerz (ovulation pain), which isn't right because with my age and the cancer treatments, I shouldn't be ovulating. But maybe with being off the Tamoxifin for a month, my ovaries are starting to "wake up." I also have a swollen lymph node in my neck.

I saw my oncologist on Friday for these physical concerns. He says he believes all my complaints are benign. He took a blood draw to test my menopausal state to see whether we could try an aromatase inhibitor instead of Tamoxifen. The onc thinks the lymph node is inflammatory, perhaps dental, so I will talk with the dentist about that. He gave me medication for dry mouth. Why didn't he do that before? That's been a problem for more than a year. But again, ULA. I'll just take the med and get my teeth fixed and not blame or get angry at anyone for not addressing this sooner. What would blame/anger get me but frustrated?

The onc will have the radiologist re-read my recent abdominal MRI for my ovarian/back/hip concerns. I also will have a nuclear bone scan on Monday.

If it is going to spread, breast cancer usually goes to the liver, lungs, bone, and brain. Women with breast cancer also have a higher risk of gynecological cancer. I worry about these things. I am not obsessed with them, but I am watchful. As I said, I feel it is inevitable for me, and I would like to catch it as early as possible because early means less dreadful treatment. I really don't want to have to go through debilitating treatment again. That I fear more than anything I think. The fatigue of treatment, just remembering that fatigue and pain, makes me teary.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Venita, thank you for this post. I needed to hear it -- especially today. I was feeling like the world is ganging up on me and aiming the crap at me. Thanks for pointing out that it isn't malicious and aimed at me, but it just happens and we have to just deal with it as it comes.

(((hugs))) to you.