Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Watching and waiting..."

Such a peaceful phrase, very relaxing. Kinda like yer hangin' out, sprawled on a park bench in the splotchy shade of a leafy oak tree, enjoying a tasty snack, studying people and chatting up strangers. Just biding your time.... Nice.

Yes, of course, I'm setting you up for a twist with that introduction. For those with cancer, whether it's PMP or one of the lesser varieties (I kid!), "watching and waiting" is a typically stressful period of not knowing what's next, and I think primarily occurs when you are not currently scheduled for some definite treatment such as surgery, radiation, or chemo.

Right now for me the "waiting" is letting some time pass to see if the alien goo cancer returns and, of course, waiting to go see the doctor. The "watch" is the CT scan and check up once I get back to the doctor, I guess. My various tests and CT scan are set for a Tuesday morning in April, then I have to wait some MORE, as I do not receive the results until late in the day on that Thursday. It's hard to get all that out of my mind--this first check up visit in particular, and having to do this for the rest of my life. Sigh. Yes, I know: I should--and do--hope that I have plenty of CT scans in my future, decades of them, but a few years apart for each, you know?

Nothing I can do but wait. And worry. And I can't help it, as much as I try. For example, at night in bed a sharp twinge in my side sometimes wakes me up. While the rational side of my brain tells me it is just pain from the surgery and it's to be expected while I heal, the irrational, middle-of-the-night side of my brain thinks it is another tumor, or the mucin. That pessimistic part of my psyche recalls the original pains I had, the cramps that eventually led me to visit a doctor in the first place, and that makes me think too much. Yeah, those are pretty bleak hours, when your brain is arguing with itself. When the sun comes up I feel sheepish for having those nighttime fears. Bah.

There are plenty of us in this mode, to varying degrees, on the PMP patient website. So I shouldn't complain too much. Some of my virtual friends are watching and waiting to see whether they are candidates for a potentially life-saving operation or not, waiting to see if the mucin has softened or the tumors have shrunk far enough away from inoperable areas within their abdomen. Some are waiting to see if, after an incomplete cytoreduction surgery, the tumors will actually spread or not. Some are waiting for other things I don't want to talk about here.

So, I'll wait. And I should be grateful for the opportunity I have.

But on my formerly comfortable spot, on my particular park bench, it's one f*#ked up box of chocolates right now. But I'll keep trying them! I'll just put any icky goo-filled ones back in the box, missing a bite. (Not really. But someone actually did that, for real, at work the other day, I kid you not. Who does that? Like someone else will want to finish it? Gross. Just throw it out.)


Big Fish Diaries said...

Here's one for you Forrest.Have you ever thought that maybe that box of chocolates has not changed but you have? How about when you go to the dentist and he shoots you up with Novocaine.You walk around for hours after the procedure is over with that big mouth and face feeling.Food and drink just does not taste the same for several hours.
You just kicked cancers butt and endured MOAS...mother of all surgeries...umpteen times more severe than filling a cavity!How could this not effect you?
Keep getting stronger and doing good, before long that piece of chocolate will taste better than ever!
Sigmund Freud

Pineridge Grouse Camp said...

Dan, My name is Jerry Havel and I graduated from Monticello in 88. I'm also a good buddy of Tom Johnson's. He told me what you had and guess what? I have been fighting it since December of 06. Since then I have had the cytrodeuction, heated chemo,scans and more surgeries. 6 total with my last being last May to take out my spleen when we found some "stuff" on a scan. Dr. Tuttle from the U of M is my Doctor. Looked at Huston but I wanted to be closer to my kids. How are you feeling? How is your family doing? Its a tough deal becasue it's so rare and hard to explain. if you have any questions or need to anything let me know.

Jerry Havel

Kristin Weiman Skrien said...

Hi Dan.

Wow, I just read Jerry Havel's blog comments, so sorry to hear of yet another person with this stupid disease! I wanted to say that those night-time fears really are totally normal and we all have them. Plus the "zingers" in your side were and also are still felt by Doug and he was told that it's nerves that were damaged during surgery repairing themselves, so maybe that can bring you a little comfort? Doug had another CT scan today and has to wait a week for the results, yuck, waiting is tough. This is his 3rd post-op scan. 3yrs now and still no goo re-growth. We all hope that that is the same outcome for you. No more growth and no more surgeries! I hope the night worries go away for you.

All the best,