And so I WENT for that CT scan, assuring myself that I’ll be FINE so long as I don’t have to do that contrast. And I WAS fine….until one line on the paperwork:“Past Surgical History”….. don’t ask a PTSD patient to DO that…..as I started to write, I could feel tears working their way UP and by the time they called me in, the tears were in my eyes and just wouldn’t stop. You change into a little scrub-suit and another man and I were ‘walked’ together like strange prisoners down the hall to the NEXT waiting room. Two women IN that waiting room were trying to get the iodine swill down. Just seeing THEM was pushing my buttons. I was called first and just wasn’t doing well at all. The TWO techs commented that without the contrast, this would be a breeze and I felt obliged to tell them the other ones weren’t a breeze, that one required that the dye be put INTO the stoma and basically I exploded…….I tried to calm down, but putting my hands behind my head (again) and being ‘loaded’ into the donut where your elbows JUST touch (again) was too much and the tears started to flow. There was no control to be had. It WAS over quickly and the tech looked concerned over my tears and I brushed it off as ‘just’ PTSD, flapping my hands like Mike Meyers when his character gets ‘all verklempt’…..but my own comedy wasn’t cutting it.
I went back to the changing cubby and lost it. Just put my head in my hands and cried trying really hard to be quiet and to stop. I had to go back out into the waiting room and get my parking ticket stamped and get to the blood lab without upsetting everybody. Again, lots of concerned looks……
I got to the blood lab, but could feel I was REALLY nervous. My right foot now jumps when I’m losing it and I just let it BOUNCE. I had purposely chosen a DIFFERENT lab for all this so as not to TRIGGER myself with all too familiar settings, but the tech THERE was one I’d had before up at the other PeaceHealth lab. She has a very high, recognizable voice. I told her I’m a little PTSD’d out, having spent ONE HUNDRED DAYS in the hospital during 2011, and she just kept doing what she’s doing and then said ‘and a little PINCH…..’ and the SECOND that needle went into my arm, I closed my eyes and put my hand over my mouth and cried. Another tech walked by looking all concerned. I told her I’m not hurt, I’m just crying.
I left quickly and cried on the way home, feeling truly damaged and out of control. While everyone applauded my ‘release’ through tears, it didn’t feel like any release at all. All I could feel was my inability to control tears in public. That’s scary.
I spiraled DOWN all week. Especially the day after, I managed to make another trip back to the old place (I just CAN’T seem to FINISH this confounded move) and had quite a time being there alone and angrily throwing empty boxes around. I didn’t unload the van when I got to my new place, but went to bed in pain ALL OVER. Everything was a horrifying struggle all week. I just couldn’t get back on track, couldn’t enjoy the new place (it’s now horribly cluttered with mountains of stuff I don’t have room for) and the WORRY was eating away at me.
I pretty well convinced myself that without the contrast, this scan would be a waste of time and I was facing either REALLY bad news or kind of NO news, all inconclusive and we’ll have to do it all again in ANOTHER six months. I was allying with California Poppy throughout the week to get through the anxiety (nice stuff, that)
And so, YESTERDAY was the appointment with my ND oncologist to review the results and I was READY for a lot of nothing.
I sat in HER waiting room literally twitching all over. Foot was jumping, I was wringing my purse strap in my hands. She comes to get me and asks how I am and I ask HER how I am! She didn’t know that none of the test results had been sent to me.
Then come the words:
“Oh, you’re FINE! You’re BETTER than fine! There’s absolutely nothing on the scan at all that anyone is concerned about and your blood work is incredible.”
This is what I shall call the “Carry On Card” and I just GOT one.
Yeah, OK, the radiologist noted that the evaluation is ‘limited’ due to the lack of contrast dye….(and made note of the presence of my ever-returning uterus AGAIN – however, my gallbladder is ‘surgically absent’. ) But he went point for point, nothing in the liver, nothing but some diverticula in the intestines but with NO diverticulitis, everything else is clean, clear and happy. Just, as every one of them has noted, some degenerative changes in my spine, but still, no ‘destructive lesion’.
And the BLOOD WORK! Hey. Let’s hear it for grass-fed beef. ALL my levels of EVERYthing are solidly within normal range. OBVIOUSLY I’m absorbing all the goodies that GOOD animal protein has to offer. Because I have NOT been a good girl about the vitamins. MAYbe twice a week and fussing all the way. And every foray into fruits and veggies takes my otherwise POIFECT bowel movements into loose-ville. Go figya, I’m THRIVING on the Truck Driver’s meat and starch diet!
So WHERE is all the back/abdominal PAIN coming from? Most likely adhesions. NOW I need to get serious about two things. Keep that pudding MOVING. Don’t let those adhesions get STUCK to anything. Lots of oiled massage. Hip circles while brushing teeth and get out there and WALK!!! And yes, PTSD hurts. All over. I’ve even re-considered that. While, at the time, it ONLY felt like the horror of not being able to control my tears in public, and not the RELEASE that so many voices thought it was, IF I remember how incredibly WISE my ‘self’ is, it was more an acknowledgement of the medical HELL I went through for SO long and that DESERVES some tears if someone tries to do it AGAIN…..even if I’ve had six months ‘off’. It’s ok, I just cried. I didn’t HIT anybody.
And now, with some official assurance that all is well, I can ~listen~ to my very wise body without the flinching that it MIGHT BE…… and GIVE mySELF what I need to keep on healing. Nice project, that.
My oncologist sees me suffering more from stress than anything else and NOT to discount how STRESSFUL moving is. No matter how good the new place is, it’s STRESSFUL. And I have a ways to go - a LONG ways to go, before I can get this new place back to being inviting, functional and in order. I have muscles to strengthen, gardens to plant, papers to sort, and TIME to do all that.
So there ya go. GOOOOOOD news.