Didn’t Pat Benetar Have a Song Called Anxiety?

July 7, 2008

Eh, I need to work on my titles, O Best Beloveds. But said song segues into what’s going on over here, an explanation as to why I don’t seem to be answering emails or phone calls or doing much of anything in a timely or responsible manner. I’ve been totally awash in stupid anxiety episodes and general self pity, which I promise I will get the hell out of it, because I’ve got to, because I’ve got stuff to do. But first, an extended whinge! Warning; may display more than a trace of aforementioned self pity.

There’s nothing particularly wrong right now–well, apart from the Obvious–except my emotional state. I think the main problem is that it’s been this series, for the last 18 months, of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then it does, only for another set of shoes to appear, each one a bit–and here the metaphor fails me–more menacing (seven inch spike heels? With real spikes? I’m trying) than the previous pair. Currently, The Shoe of Looming Doom that my markers, after two rounds (or one, as they consider it, spread out over two weeks), went up to 868. (From 650.) This heart-palpitation-inducing number is perhaps meaningless–it’s early early early days–but for three years now (and in particular these last 18 months) nothing has gone my way for very long, so it’s getting harder and harder to be optimistic, or heedless, or whatever it is that has sustained me so successfully for a decade plus. This could easily be the peak or it could even be reflecting that already the cancer has broken up some (think about a jar of sand scattered on the ground–it looks like a greater amount than it was when it was a mass in a jar; in a similar way, the scattered, broken up cancer can register higher than it really is). Even if this is the peak, it’s a long, long way down to normal (32), and there is always that other shoe, the one that whispers (really, I must abandon this image–talking shoes?) “We’ve had other things that have worked for a time, and then they didn’t, and so why should this be any different?” This is all the more distracting because this chemo really is quite superlative; no side effects, apart from some fatigue, at all, thus far. The other stuff, the emotional/mental stuff manifesting as constant nerves–that’s what’s kicking my ass. I’m talking to the Headology Doctor this week to see about upping my Celexa dose, but then I have to wait for that to kick in before trying something else, so it’s more waiting and worrying. (Is the chemo working? Are the head meds? No? Too soon? How about now? Now? Is it time to try something new? Soon? When? And so on.) In the mean time, there’s walking, which helps for a bit, but it’s hot, and it seems that heat and I don’t mix currently; twice after a nice (admittedly long, but longer is more efficacious) walk I’ve spent the rest of the day vomiting and with other intestinal disorders, to the point where I nearly had to go into my clinic to get hydration IV. The only thing Dr. W. could figure is that it’s the heat. Walks in the evening is the simple answer, of course, but I need the endorphin boost in the AM to help my day, and by the end of the day I don’t feel like it. So I have to get up as early as I can, bring along fortified water (extra electrolytes!) and stay on the shady side of the street. Of course now I have to leave home at 7:30 Mon-Fri for German class, and if I’m tired do I want to get up at 5am so I have time for a walk long enough that it will make a difference and for a post-walk shower and Sat AM is post-chemo day and I don’t feel like walking and on it goes.

Of course, none of this is impossible and some of it is what they call obstacle thinking and it can all be worked around and it’s even silly, but it’s just frustrating, because even something so simple as a walk is stupidly complicated or at least it seems to be, which is probably the issue right there. I’ve spent so much time in the last ten plus years having to arrange the particulars of life around some physical issue or other, and it’s so old, and I don’t have the wherewithal to keep figuring it out. So I’m making problems where there need not be any. I have deep deep respect for those of you who routinely deal with similarly assertive health issues, be they diabetes or chronic pain or emotional problems or anything else that requires constant thought or life adjustments. You all have considerable fortitude, and your victories are inspiring.

Well. There. I told you there was going to be whinging. It is very very good of you to read this far. And it will totally be okay.

For starters, I will get off my whiny ass and just walk in the evening,