I’m so frightened, and I only became afraid today. Cancer is one thing. I’ve always assumed I’d be diagnosed with it at some point. This diagnosis was not a surprise. But apparently I’m afraid of the treatment.
I spoke with PA Candela this afternoon. She is trying to move up my spinal MRI because they want to start chemo in 19 days. The port will be installed soon. That news crashed over me like a rip tide. Breathless. Disoriented. I felt my heart squeeze and flood my vessels. And there was stinging in my eyes.
The tears fell after I said out loud “I’m scared,” to Nick. Silent tears. They slowly pooled together and reached down my cheeks. I breathed deeply.
I panicked when I left Nick in the car for my mammogram. I didn’t realize my panic would escalate. I normally live in a state of anxiety. But my trembling hands and shallow gasps would not go away. So I paced the waiting room.
I had almost collected myself when the nurse called me and asked how I was. You’re familiar with the sensation of a sneeze disappearing when someone kindly says bless you preemptively? My almost-calm evaporated just like that sneeze. Except I could not laugh this off. It was sorrow and fear that overtook me.
I had a quiet moment to get robed, and Ashley from Roswell Park called to schedule my chemo port, “would Monday at 1:30 work?” My response was a whisper, “yes.” I learned that I cannot have sedation because I am pregnant.
I cannot have sedation.
I was afraid and breathless. I couldn’t hide my emotions so I unconsciously tried to hide myself. I stood awkwardly in a corner of the exam room. When I physically stepped forward, I simultaneously broke into sobs.
The lead technician, Virgina, tried her best to comfort me. It felt hollow, though, because she asked if I felt a lump, was I was certain it was cancer? Her best attempts to lift my spirits were kind and sincere, but unhelpful. She told me not to bottle up my tears, but she also wanted to cheer me up. Sometimes you just have to feel the big feelings. I prefer to do that without commentary.
I was led gently through my procedures. I moved when prompted, obeyed directions, spoke clearly but softly, I was a model patient. The panic was gone. Just tired.
There’s more to recount. But I’m writing this while I’m still waiting for the doctor to review the scans and debrief me. I suspect more bad news. But that’s future Brianna’s problem. Right now, I’ll just finish with this thought.
I was freaked out. Some of my worst fears include open water, birds and flying things, anticipation, and waking surgery.
Well. I suppose I’ve faced my fears on deep open water, birds and moths, and anticipation gets handled daily. I just thought this fear of waking surgery didn’t have high odds.
My tears have never tasted like that before.
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