Thursday, August 28, 2003

We received a package today from Stanford Hospital Oncology addressed to Conor. It freaked me out--if it's from Oncology it must be bad news and it's FOR CONOR! It was the book from the examination room. They apparently thought it was his and mailed it to us. Very kind of them! (I'll forgive them for freaking me out.)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Actually, I'm kind of relieved to see the doctor sooner. It's reassuring somehow, to know that someone's paying attention, although I can definitely do without being one of those freakishly sick people. The August 11 New Yorker has an article on hypochondria which I found amusing. Apparently there's little research done on it. They state hypochondria "flowered at the same time that modern medicine began identifying one rare disease after another". Even Proust wrote, "For each illness that doctors cure with medicine, they provoke ten in healthy people by inoculating them with the virus that is a thousand times more powerful than any microbe: the idea that one is ill." While I doubt that modern society has cornered the market on hypochondria, it does beg the question of exactly what the line is between chronic disease maintenance and hypochondria. The American Psychiatric Association defines hypochondria as, "The fear or belief of serious illness that persists six months or more despite physician reassurance." I seriously doubt that what I get from my doctors could be called "reassurance".

When I go in for a checkup, I have my list of questions and complaints--symptoms I think are important enough to mention. There are some that I simply don't . It seems people are always dealing with a thing or two that will resolve itself, like a rash or cold or ache. Part of me thinks that I shouldn't have to mention it, that they should find it. But a doctor's visit isn't a treasure hunt--if they're not looking for hacking cough causes when listening to my lungs, they aren't going to find it. So I didn't mention the cough thing because I thought it wasn't related. After I gotthe news about the sed rate, I should have said, hey! What about this or this?

Just like the medical students in the New Yorker article who where feeling their nodes after studying Hodgkin's disease (they were probably feeling them after studying non-Hodgkin's; if they were paying attention to the survival rates, anyway--remember, Hodgkin's is the cancer to get!)

Thursday, August 14, 2003

My doctor's visit this week did not go as I had planned. First, it took hours too long, and that wasn't even because I brought Conor with me. Second, I had an abnormal blood test result. Third, my doctor wasn't in, so I saw the one I saw in January when I relapsed. (Can this woman not give good news?) My sed rate was high, not very, but high nonetheless. The doctor said it was an indicator of "overall disease" and was a warning sign, not a red flag. So I go back in six weeks, not two months, to see if whatever caused it has gone away or matured into something they can find.


I have, however, decided that the reason my sed rate was high is because I have this hacking coughing thing and I'm perfectly fine. (God, I love rationalized denial.)

Conor had fun, for the most part. We were always on the move--in the cafeteria having a snack (we were early), getting blood drawn, having a chest X-ray, and finally in the examining room. The radiology staff was very gracious about Conor being there. I was prepared to leave him in the hallway with a book and a candy bar--figuring if anyone offered him candy he already had some--but they brought him in with them so he could see me through the glass. (I'm kidding about the candy bar; Conor howls if anyone talks to him he doesn't know; in fact, that's how I get him to behave in public--I tell him that man/woman will come and speak to him if he does whatever it was he was doing again.) And the examination room is full of things interesting to a toddler (more interesting than the kids book that was in there), like the foot-operated sink, the stirrups in the examination table (I had a hard time not cringing when he pulled those out), and the mirror warmer. A mirror warmer is an innocuous little device that BREATHES FIRE. That's what Conor said after he hit the button and a flame shot out. I thought I just had to worry about germs, and here comes the threat of burning the whole place down.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Doctor's visit tomorrow. I'm getting paranoid, but there's really nothing I can do. It's not like the dentist where you brush and floss frantically beforehand. Anyway, I'm bringing Conor primarily because it will take my mind off the whole thing. I can worry about how I'll get a chest X-ray with a toddler instead of what it might reveal.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Sports Illustrated's article on Lance Armstrong's fifth Tour de France win includes speculation that chemo brain makes him able to withstand pain and fatigue better than the non-chemo'ed. I would investigate this phenomenon immediately, but I keep forgetting to exercise.

Other than that, I think my chemo brain is getting better. Numbers still fuzz, flip, and float around, but I'm getting better at retrieving words. Or maybe that's because I'm not working, and being home with Conor means remembering words like, "no" and "what?", and "because".

Monday, August 04, 2003

Conor and I took a trip to Texas, and we had a great time. We stayed a little long, though. I could tell that because I had time to:

1.) Eat a Frito pie. Ordered from the "Salads" section of the menu, this taste treat consists of shredded iceberg lettuce covered with Fritos, chili, and cheese. Onions optional.

2.) Listen to Christian radio. Between the oddly compelling soft rock songs, public service style announcements contained helpful advice. My favorite exhorted listeners to not hate Muslims for a number of reasons, such as they know who Jesus is, and they believe in one god.

3.) Bought a pair of high heels. Maybe this was more along the lines of placating Kevin because we stayed an extra couple of days, but I don't think I would have bought these in San Francisco.

It was somewhat incongruous for me at times (no, not being in a state that actually *gasp* admired George Bush), but talking to people who want to know how I'm doing, cancer-wise. I feel like I am so past that! Denial and forgetfullness will go a long way to having a positive attitude.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?