Monday, February 13, 2012

Mind-body connections

Once again, I send my deep gratitude for your prayers and good thoughts. They make a huge difference in my life.

I can be even more specific. When I started doing chemo four years ago, I was frequently exhausted. Not initially, but the effects of chemotherapy are cumulative, so over time, I felt chronically exhausted. Each day, I would seem to be fine, then hit a wall and need to sleep immediately. My energy levels were generally low, and I never felt like myself.

With your prayers, and with your sharing your energy, I now find that I have full, good days! Quite a few of them, strung end to end. Sure, there are some yukky days in there. Chemo is a rough road. But your prayers and your positive energy truly makes it so much different for me. Thank you. And if my kids knew, they would say thank you, too. It helps to make me a more present mom, and an easier person to live with.

At my last treatment (two weeks ago), I got to see two friends who are also patients.  One is a friend who was diagnosed at the same time that I was, and the other is a new friend. She is actually a friend of a friend. She was newly back to treatments - this is her fourth diagnosis, all different cancers. No matter how long I do this, so many stories make me say, "Oh, CRAP" inside. She was bravely and barely holding it together; I recognized in her eyes that she was in that dark scary place we all went at one time or another. I hate that I know that place. I hate that she had to be there. I am lucky to know that there is light on the other side, and hope that somehow, I can shine that for her.

As we pulled our chairs into a circle to chat, I thought, there has got to be a better place to socialize than Dana Farber. But, we do the best with what we have.

Eventually, we were each called to get weighed, see our doctors, or enter the infusion room, and we went our own ways. 

Because my chemo session prior to this one went so well, I decided to duplicate my actions from that day. I even ate the same thing for breakfast, though that was a waste. While I was sitting in the infusion chair, before my bags of chemo even arrived, I started to feel sick. I used every technique I know to avert it. I tried telling myself that nothing was even happening yet, which was true. I told myself that I was fine. I closed my eyes and envisioned myself outside Dana Farber.

But my body decided to protest anyway, and I finally gave in. Good-bye breakfast. A few times over. As soon as I could swallow, I took a couple of anti-nausea pills and the nurse knocked me out with an injection of some other drugs. 

Before I went unconscious, my friends Lisa and Marilyn were visting. I could tell I wasn't thinking clearly, but had no control over myself, and little memory of it later. I'm told that I said things like, "Don't worry, the flight attendant will heat that up." What????

I am constantly amazed by our mind-body connections and realize there is so power that we, or I, don't yet tap into. For me to get so sick without even any drugs, without a physical reason - it is almost as if there are cues that do this that lie outside of the physical impact. I would love to enter the realm where we can manage that energy.

In the meantime, I do need to rely on the antinausea drugs. Then again, also at that appointment, I learned that they will no longer be giving me Emend, one of the drugs that is KEY to helping manage my nausea. If I want it, I need to get a prescription, pick it up myself and bring it to my appointment. Has to do with insurance coverage. Not mine specifically, but most, so they are just changing the way they do it for everyone. 

So for now, I need to make sure that I remember to bring that pill, at least until I can manage to avert that anticipatory nausea with the powers of my mind.

Although I myself cannot seem to connect my mind and body in some ways, I remain in awe that you can channel your thoughts, feelings and prayers and help to make life not only more bearable, but more enjoyable. Thank you.

The chemo party starts at 1:15 on Tuesday (the 14th) with a blood draw, and infusion around 3:00.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of love,

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