Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Waiting is hard work

I'm waiting for radiation to start. Most people would welcome a break in treatment. And I do. Kind of.

But at the same time, I just want to get it all over with and move on far, far away from this chapter in my life.

I'm an impatient person by nature. I was even born three weeks early. I'm often early for events because I can't stand the idea of being late. I nag at my son, the dawdlingest dawdler who ever dawdled, to hurry up 99% of the time we walk anywhere because this waiting business makes me edgy.

Then I think to myself that I should be taking advantage of this time and just slow down. I try to put on my yoga hat, breathe and stop rushing, rushing, rushing.

But it's hard when it's not in my nature to do so.

On edge

The other thing that makes me edgy is being left on my own after being at the beck and call of appointments all summer. Even if it's for a few weeks, the quiet is unnerving.

I'm sick of doctor's offices, but miss the convenience of having appointments scheduled for me every other week.

When I woke up with a swollen left hand and couldn't remove my rings, I waiting a few days. I followed online recommendations of putting my hand in cold water (painful!), then elevating it, then icing it to no avail. I finally call my GP's office.

Doctor instructs me to elevate my hand for two hours, then try again to get my rings off. If it doesn't work, I'll have to go to the hospital the next day and have them cut off. Awesome.

The two-hour elevation does the trick, rings come off. But I still don't have an answer on why this happened. Could it be lymphedema related? Did I sleep on my hand funny?

Do not leave me hanging

I realize this is ridiculous, so I start calling the cancer agency and leaving messages. When is radiation starting? And no one calls back. How annoying is that? Don't leave the cancer patient hanging, people!

Then I remember, I have a six-month mammogram coming up on the "good" (read: hopefully non-cancerous) side because of something that looked like a cyst, but they couldn't get more than one angle on so couldn't biopsy it. And I also remember my nurse who works out of Mount Saint Joseph's, where I'll be getting the mammo, said to call if I needed anything.

So I call. Imelda tells me when I have my mammo results, she'll also take a look at my arm and hand and figure out what's happening. I mention the unreturned messages about my radiation. She says she'll make a call. And 40 minutes later, I have an appointment for my CAT scan, which is needed before radiation starts (I didn't know this).

This is my life and it's in my hands to a large extent. So if I don't feel like waiting, I know who to call. Like I said on Twitter yesterday, I wish every cancer patient had an Imelda.

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