Panic On The Streets of *mingham

May 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM (after chemo, Faith, Recovery) (, , , , , , , )

WARNING: There will be a mild amount of “sharing” in this post. Read at your own risk.

I woke up to the alarm this morning, awake and ready to go to the gym. Ungodly early, but apparently I got enough sleep last night because I didn’t feel tied to the bed. As I was having a quick pee, I sneezed. And my intestines, right in the region of my ileostomy and reversal, started making a funny noise. It sounded a lot like it did when I had the ostomy: sort of a squirty, bubbling sound that I hadn’t heard since then. The noise repeated, again and again, for about thirty seconds straight.

I panicked. I knew this was the bowel perforation I had so skillfully (through no action of my own) avoided since starting the Avastin. That with my sneeze, some aneurysm of my small intestine had finally popped, and I was doomed. Maybe the recent onset of fatigue has made me jumpy. So I did what any normal, freaked-out, cancer patient would do: I called my doctor.

Fortunately, she was awake, and called me right back. She talked me off the ledge, and reminded me that, no matter how recently the perforation had occurred, if I were actually experiencing one I would also be in excruciating pain. Which I was not.

So, faith shaken but restored, I put on my sneakers and headed to the gym. With my phone in my pocket. I’m not really sure how Mr. W managed to get back to sleep, but he did.

Now that my panic has faded, and I’m trying to squelch my embarrassment at escalating a series of gas bubbles to a medical emergency, I have a little time to think about why I got so worked up. It’s not like me to jump to the worst possible scenario when something weird happens; I usually find logical excuses for what’s going on and wait for more evidence before calling in the troops. (Possibly why we find ourselves in this mess to begin with.)

Which means that I’m less emotionally stable than I initially appear. Clearly, four years of this process have rocked my sense of stability enough that I’m more Chicken Little than hakuna matata these days. Sometimes I really feel the fact that I’m living on borrowed time, and that at any moment the blow might strike that precipitates a cascade of medical whatevers and sucks me back into the depths of being a reallysickcancerpatient. I don’t want to feel that way – I want to be making the most of every minute, living life to the fullest, not waiting for the other shoe to drop. (I figured since I haven’t entered remission, I get the luxury of not having to wait for that.)

And yet. Deep under the surface veneer of high-functioning girl-in-treatment lies a wavering doubter who’s got her hair-trigger finger on the on-call button. I wonder how she’ll do with the results of Wednesday’s CT scan.

Sort of a lot, really, to try to get out of an early-morning workout, dontcha think?

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  1. sandhy said,

    hakuna matata are like the worries of a cancery type – it’s endemic. If I have a headache, it’s a brain tumour. If I have what you had [which I do sometimes!] it’s my bowels either broken, or rife with cancery things…if I have a stomach pain, the End Is Nigh.

    But yes, I’d say a tad over dramatic just to skive out of gym ;o)

  2. tori said,

    all the bits are crossed till wednesday, hoping for some good news that will ease some of the (more) recent stresses. can’t believe you still went to the gym. you’re insane.

  3. sandhy said,

    agreed. insane. don’t worry about cancery stuff – the insanity will get you locked up sooner ;o)

  4. Amy said,

    Scary crap right there. But I’ll bet your work out took care of the rest of the gas pronto!

  5. Paige said,

    I’m glad your doc reminded you that you would be in excruciating pain if it was, in fact, a perf. But I’m with you…I’d be reacting the ‘zact same way.

    BTW, I’m going to be in your ‘hood on Wednesday, y’know, in case you feel like seeing a friendly face (or two). I’ll text your our locale — can’t remember which floor she’s on.


  6. pateeta said,

    It’s always better to call the doc than to wait and see if it passes. I had a heart attack last year while on chemo and thought it was only anxiety. I popped a xanax and waited 4 HOURS until I went to the ER. Last month I had a pulmonary embolism and thought it was only a pulled muscle. It was when I couldn’t take a deep breath that convinced me to go to the hospital. I’m also on Avastin and worry about the bowel perforation. I’m really really trying not to be a paranoid hypochondriac. I think you feel like every cancer warrior/survivor- where you think every ache, twitch, itch, pain, gastric disturbance, headache and whatnot can only mean more cancer or something equally horrible. Make the call.

    wishing you well-

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