Wednesday, February 13, 2013

And Now? We Wait

It feels as though I am sloshing at this point.  Yesterday was the PET scan, and they emphasized several times that drinking a lot of water, and that making sure that I had some fresh fruit -- especially having some lemon or lime in the water on occasion -- was a good way to help flush the radioactive biotracer ick out of my system more quickly.

There is a lot of joy at having the test, at least, behind me.  Along with the most recent biopsy.

However, the wait for results on both?  It is interminable.  But it cannot be helped:  it will be what it will be, and we will face it either way.

I have had so many friends through the years who have stared down the long road of cancer or other health threats with an enormous amount of courage and dignity.  Looking at what they faced and how they reacted to all of the indignities and fear whilst I now do the same makes their personal strength and courage all the more miraculous to me now.

There is no real dignity in yet another scar, in yet another piece of me being lopped off for testing.   Mr. ReddHedd calls them my battle scars.  He's right, in a way, but that doesn't make the current one itch any less while it is healing.  Because each test must be done, it gets done, no matter the short term personal cost.  But I grow weary from having to slog through yet another round of something or other, and my will to summon hope in the face of yet another series of tests grows thin.

However, I refuse to surrender to fear.  I simply refuse.

This is a testing point for me.  How will this hurdle shape my outlook and my choices going forward?  Will I make better ones, moving forward with a clearer purpose and a sharper focus?  Or will things get even more muddied as the constant checks and vigilance wear at my patience around the edges?

It is my choice, really, on who I want to be and how I want to deal with this latest challenge.  And I will make a choice -- no longer content to merely allow my life to buffet me along whatever path comes up next without consciously selecting each twist and turn and fork in the road to the extent that is possible for me.

When you begin to feel your own mortality, those choices become far more precious and dear.  The question is what you do with the time you that have given to you, as Gandalf says in my favorite scene in the first LOTR movie.  Sage advice, even if it is coming out of the mouth of an actor playing a fictional wizard.

Better choices.  It's as good a place to start as any.

Fear can truly be paralyzing.  What was it that Frank Herbert so sagely said in Dune, in the training that Paul Atreides receives.  Something like, "Fear is the mind killer,"  I think.  (I need to reread Herbert's classic Dune series again, clearly.  Great stuff if you haven't read it.)  In any case, I have learned first hand this week how true that sentiment can be -- and I've sat around worrying quite enough, thank you very much.  It is time to do something, anything, to start feeling as though I'm working toward a purpose before this waiting around mentality becomes an ingrained habit.  I'd bet that is a feeling that a lot of folks facing this sort of diagnostic quandary have also stared down through the years.

My family has been such an enormous comfort through all of this.  Yesterday, I couldn't get anywhere near The Peanut because I was still radioactive -- this morning, too, I had to stay away, to be certain that any trace material wouldn't come in contact with her.  I've been drinking water by the liter to try to flush my system out as quickly as possible and am told that I should be fine to give her a hug and smooch by this afternoon.  That will be a relief for both of us.  Mr. ReddHedd, as always, has tried to love me though all of this while wrestling with his own demons and fear:  we are both, alas, having a more difficult time of that during this round of testing, and I hope for both of our sakes that we get a good result.  But, even if we do not, we'll make it through whatever we have to face, as always, together.  That is an enormous comfort to me, even during difficult periods of doubt, that his love is such a rock solid shelter in any storm.  I am truly blessed.

I am told we can expect results as early as the end of the week or sometime next week, depending on the difficulty in reading the scan and any complicating factors that may arise.  My stitches come out from the biopsy on Monday, so I should hopefully have results from that, at least, by then.

In the meantime, I'm going to get started with making a few better choices.  We'll see where that gets me.  If nothing else, it will give me something to do instead of fretting, and that would be a blessing all by itself.

And now?  We wait...

(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith.  All rights reserved.  My daffodils have begun to sprout up in the warmer weather here and have even begun to bud already.  Sure hope we don't get another freezing snap -- I love their cheery blooms every spring and would certainly hate to lose them.)

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