Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Put on a happy face

I have to wonder about myself sometimes. Do I even know myself at all?

I had my three month visit with my oncologist today. This time I actually went in with a well-thought (yet hastily-scrawled) out list of concerns to discuss. But first, the important news... all my blood work was perfect! No indications that there is any cancer on the horizon. Amen!

Rarely do I have lists for my doctors. I usually breeze in all sunshine and smiles making the best of even the worst of situations with a few notable exceptions. I was decidedly unsunny when I arrived at the Emergency Room with a ruptured fallopian tube. Once Daddy-O and Ben got there the whole episode became fairly foggy, but I do have a vague recollection of thrashing around on the table in pain, sure I was about to die and praying out loud for God to save me or at least not take me in front of my son. Or when I bawled my eyes out pregnant with Danny at my regular doctor's office because I'd had undiagnosed bronchial asthma for months and was so physically stressed from just. not. breathing. that I couldn't maintain anymore! Otherwise, I might have one off-the-cuff question or two but that's it.

Today's list read something like this:
  • Forgetfulness!!! Chemo-brain or old age?
  • Still painful sternum
  • Big bruise on arm since August!
  • Wake up still tired. Low energy? Depression?
  • Daddy-O says I'm a bitch... asks if meds can be increased... please?????
After regailing her with my many and varied tales of forgetful woe, Dr. Villa came to the shocking conclusion that I am doing too much multi-tasking. Put another way, if I put too many balls in the air one is bound to fall every now and then. Plus, I am getting older.

No worries about he painful sternum. I don't know why I shouldn't worry. She didn't say. I didn't ask. I'm ok with that.

Same thing with the ginormous bruise (which is really a mere shadow of it's former self) that has been on my arm since August. No worries. Eh.

I worried that I might be having a bit of depression (even though I don't feel like I'm depressed) as indicated by my waking tired after a full nights sleep, constant low energy, etc. etc. Those are the same symptoms I had the last time I didn't feel depressed after I had my miscarriage. Turns out I actually was. Huh. Who knew? So I thought I'd ask. But my Dr. V gets the big bucks for a reason. Her first question was if I'd been excercising, which I haven't. See asthma reference above which is triggered by cold. The virus I got in early December flared up the asthma and it's been too cold and/or windy for me to get outside and walk until this week. So no excercise for me. Click! 100 watts glaring at me. That accounts for both symptoms. See. I knew I wasn't depressed.

But apparently, I am a bitch.

I'm finding this harder and harder to deny. Though, in my defense, I do live with three testosterone-ridden humans and suffer with immeasurable provocation. Still, I do sometimes step out of myself in mid-rant and raise an eyebrow at my own hostility. At any rate, she is going to increase the dosage of my Effexor and see if that helps with my break-through hot flashes and these apparent nasty mood swings.

Daddy-O is lucky to have her as an ally.

As well as all that went, I left my appointment feeling less than satisfied.

We normally hug and gush and smile after leisurely minutes of familiar catching up. Today was more formal and doctor / patient like. She looked fairly sober as I left. No hug. No emotional fireworks display for the wonderful bloodwork and continued victory over cancer. I walked out feeling like a burden. *sigh*

Now I can't help but wonder if I am always so positive and upbeat because that is the way I've always been or because I crave approval.


Kathy from Washington state said...

That is all I can think of to say right now...

Karen said...

Great news on your blood results!

You could be writing about my trip to the doctor this week - I had a list for a change too - didn't really get any satifying answers and left feeling like I had inconvenienced him. Last few visits were totally the opposite.

I think we all wear the "happy face" mask at times - beats the alternative.

Kathy from Washington state said...

I put the question of do I know myself to bed long ago. What I did was create an alter ego. Her/my name is Dagmar Mittendorf. Doesn't that name say it all? Dagmar is strong and decisive. She can leap tall buildings and she can move the sofa. Dagmar is especially good at helping me with life's worries, uncertainties, and frustrations.

I have never been a cancer patient but, after reading several blogs by women who are cancer patients and survivors, I find the uncertainties, the treatments and the waiting for results that you all go through to be so very daunting. My suggestion is that doctor's, at their expense, be required to send patients someplace sunny and warm to await their test results. I bet the results would come faster!

Dagmar and I have gotten pretty pushy with folks in the medical field when we feel that we are being dismissed or our concerns are not valued. We have even been known to walk out of a waiting room if the wait is too long. The motivation for our insistence that we be heard comes from being hearing impared. We learned early on that simply listening someone talk is very different from hearing what someone is trying to say. Of course we also remember the movie where the doctor gets cancer and becomes a patient and he learns how it feels to have his concerns dismissed and to feel like you are bothering the omnipotent doctor.

My suggestion: Call your doc and tell her how you felt after your last appointment. You will feel better and you will be doing her (and all her other patients) a favor.

Our advice for the forgetfulness, forget it. We think forgetfulness is a natural defense mechanism in women. Think about it - we are the ones who make sure socks are with their mate when they go into the washer and come out of the dryer. We are the ones who can work full time, get the kids to school (games, activities, appointments), take the SUV in for maintenance, de-flea the dog, have dinner on the table (unless we want to go out), get the kids bathed, pay bills and balance the check book; all before we put the kids to bed - on time! We don't forget stuff!

Honestly, neither Dagmar or I can do all of these things. Everyone who knows me ask to see my socks because they never match. (Nobody ask to see Dagmar's socks because nobody can see her.)

If anyone out there in blogland has the name Dagmar Mittendorf, I am sorry for thinking up your name for my alter ego. My other name choice was Julia Roberts but I found out someone has that name too.

Also, My theory is that lost socks turn into keys. I always have keys that I have no clue what they open and socks that have no mate.

Smiles to you my friend.

Kathy U