I remember thinking how slow time seemed to move when I was in treatment. Every time I heard someone say, “I can’t believe it’s already (insert month here)” I thought in my mind, “Wow, that’s it?” Time seemed like it purposely was against me. Days were so long, boring and static that at times I felt like there was a small possibility that somehow days got longer. A month seemed like a year and no matter how busy I tried to keep myself, days seemed to drag on. The days that felt normal were always the ones I wanted to slow down and last forever, but I guess that is true for most everyone. I never really realized how big of a difference the speed of life can be. Before cancer I never had a time in my life where I was not completely busy. I went to school, played sports, worked and maintained a healthy, fun and active personal life. Once I was diagnosed everything fell to the wayside and I basically became a couch potato that took every single opportunity to live a normal life in between my utterly stupid treatment schedule. I tried to stay as active as I could and keep my mind occupied with any and everything I could possibly read, write or take a picture of, but even so days dragged on and I felt as if time was an enemy.
The contrast to my life today is night and day. I am now back on the typical mindset of bewilderment that 2014 is already nearly halfway through and Summer is basically already here. My two month breaks in between MRI’s feels like a week and this past MRI seemed like it came around way too soon. Now that I am working again (and went 42 days without a day off) days fly by. I barely have time to let myself have much needed ‘me’ time let alone devote much time to anything other than eating and sleeping (hence the huge gaps in between my updates- Sorry.)
I had my most recent MRI done last Thursday, this was by far the most anxious and scared I have been going into an MRI in a long time. I sometimes get headaches here and there, but I was in a car accident where I was rear-ended on the freeway pretty badly and hit my head pretty hard. After the collision I have pretty much maintained the same terrible headache for sometime. I was also getting slight dizziness here and there along with random symptoms I had not experienced in quite some time. The accident was pretty rough on me and made me a bit hesitant to do some of the things I used to do to maintain normalcy and my overall health before the crash. My diagnosis puts pressure on me in so many ways and falling out of routine scares me, especially in anything that has to do with my health and diet. I have also found myself more and more busy with my work load gaining everyday and less time to make sure what I am eating is something I should be eating. Being diagnosed with a ‘terminal’ cancer makes every decision so much more weighted that I have a legitimate fear of certain foods and when I feel like I am falling out of shape I get scared. This is a double edged sword; On one hand I am always trying to better myself on the inside and out, on the other hand when I get lazy I get creeping anxiety of an un-welcomed return of the little monster. I welcome this anxiety most of the time as it keeps me in check, but I always will long for the days where I tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle simply to be healthy and not to combat a terminal illness.
Going into the MRI this round had all the extra weight on top of an already worried mind and upon the conclusion of the MRI it seemed as though my nightmare was becoming a reality. When the technician was removing me from the MRI machine he inquired, “So are they doing surgery to remove it or something?” First of all, let let preface this by saying this is now the second time a technician running a scan has said something to me in regards to what is in my head. The first time being the initial time I had my very first CT scan. I went into that scan knowing there was something wrong and nearly certain it was a tumor, but I was always holding out for it to be something less severe. This first technician came out and decided to inquire about my symptoms and eventually pin pointed my exact tumor area than followed that up by telling me my doctor would be in contact with me by Monday since the scan was done on a Friday. Needless to say he ruined my last weekend of a ‘normal life.’ I was consumed by his words and all I could think about was what he saw on that scan. That Monday rolled around and my dreaded assumption was verified. This second time was much more hard to hear. Fighting cancer one time is hard enough, I know there is a HUGE possibility this thing can and will come back, but I have always been hoping it would be way down the road. Hearing the technician inquire about surgery made my heart sink, especially after going into it scared already.
After telling him I had already had the procedure done, and the tumor removed he kind of stumbled on his words and began trying to justify whatever it is he saw. ”OH, do you have staples?” Nope. ”Oh well maybe its like a permanent stitch on the inside?” Nope. At this point I simply said show me the scan. I have seen enough of these things to be able to tell what is supposed to be there and what could potentially be bad news. He finally walked me over to the monitor and showed me the scans and sure enough there was a random spot on the screen. I honestly could not be sure one way or another and once again I left in anger that the technician who knows nearly nothing decided to speculate and ruin another weekend of mine. I got to wait another 3 days before talking to a doctor.
My appointment was on Monday and I finally got to speak with my oncologist who’s first sentence was “Looks all good.” I think I asked about 6 times if he was sure before I was convinced that I was indeed still stable. The relief of getting all clears is something I don’t think I can explain. It feels like a weight being removed from every inch of my body and my breathing kind of re-boots itself back into normal breathing after not even realizing I was constantly holding my breathe. The stresses involved with this dumb ass cancer is bad enough, having the added stress of an accident with head trauma after my oncologist explicitly explained that hitting my head would make everything we have done go to shit and idiot technicians that need to learn to keep their mouths shut is not an enjoyable experience. I might have aged 2 years in those 3 days.
Like always though, I keep living. I stay positive no matter what and I think I might have finally passed the point where I can worry about myself anymore. After this last MRI I now think my stress meter has peaked. I don’t know if or when the day will come when this monster returns, but I do know that if or when it does I will be able to face it without blinking. All of these close calls have prepared me for something that I hope I never have to deal with, but my mindset from day one has been to prepare for the worst and hope for the best and to always FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT.
“All of our sweetest hours fly the fastest.”