Monday, September 19, 2011

T-Minus “Too Many” Months & Holding

(This entry pertains to events that occurred in late 2003.) 
My Mom had an appointment with a locally renowned neurologist in early November 2003. She was diagnosed with “acute dementia. Trust me, it was anything but “cute.” Although she was fully tested and we were assured that she was doing well, I sometimes had my personal doubts. As time went on, I honestly wasn’t sure how “mild” her condition was despite test results. There were moments that my concern for her “mental well being” were intense. Was she really only suffering from a very mild form of dementia? I trusted her physician and knew she would be okay, and yet, my endless worrying left me mentally exhausted. I began to think it was me who was “losing it.” Obviously, I only wanted the best for her.
The month of November was filled with doctor visits and tests, lots of tests. I underwent CT scans, a bone scan and MUGA. Fortunately, all tests results were good. No indication of cancer; no problems with my heart. My batting average was 100 percent. I also had a visit with my surgeon, Dr. Michael Kahky, MD and since things were progressing so well, I would not have to return for another year. The same night I saw the doctor, I returned to MD Anderson for a group session, bringing along my friend Nancy and a friend of hers. The three of us enjoyed sharing our stories with the group. 
Thanksgiving came and went -- the four of us visited family in South Florida and celebrated our nephew’s 15th birthday. As usual, I enjoyed getting on the road and having a chance to “get away” from home. 
I found solitude at night as I sat in bed reading my favorite author, Robin Cook. For three nights, I avidly “digested” his novel “Seizure.” I have always been a fan of his novels and “secretly” wished I could write like him. His style of writing has always captivated me. I never felt comfortable with fiction writing”and whenever I have attempted to do any creative pieces I have found it extremely difficult. My brain shuts down. The journalist in me writes in a factual manner and non-fiction writing is within my comfort zone. However, that has never stopped me from reading a good fiction book filled with suspense, intense action and plenty of interesting dialogue. 
I visited my psychiatrist. He feels” that the Paxil along with “my coping skills” is working. When asked about my “greatest concern” I tell him “it’s financial.” There are the creditors constantly calling .. and other money issues. He is pleased, however, to hear that the cancer is under control. He will see me, again, in three months. This is my life. I see various physicians in intervals. Some are now two to three months; others have extended the visits as far out as a year. But, my calendar is still filled with doctor visits and tests. These continue to be my routine. I accept it but that does not mean I am happy about it. I hate the idea that at my age, I am resigned to a schedule that more resembles that of a person 20 plus years my senior. It sucks to be me right now!
Keep in mind the psychiatrist says my “coping skills” are good. Seriously? I’m still depressed. Maybe it’s the drug? Maybe I’m a better actor than I thought? No, he never said I was “better” and that I did not need his help. He merely said that things are “improving” slowly and for the better. I need to remember this when I am feeling like crap and I want to scream and cry!
There are times when I feel that “life is really strange.I wrote in a diary: “I keep moving in the wrong direction -- instead of gaining success and being able to afford nice things and travel, I keep getting further into debt.We are getting food from both a local church and the Jewish Family Service. I am having trouble paying for my occupational therapy as well as my medications. I continue to hurt physically and mentally. 
The state of my life is now affecting everyone around me. I can see the “pain” in my children’s faces. I can hear the “pain” in Ed’s words. My pain is now their pain.  And that, is the most hurtful aspect of this whole “cancer thing.” It destroys everyone in its path! 

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