Two emotions are interrupting my relaxed, treatment-less Saturday morning. It is brilliant here; the sunlight reflecting off the Seattle Times Building’s windows is lighting my room. I am going to head out for a brisk walk to try to calm my mind.
I am scared of what is to come. It is a new emotion. I wasn’t overly fearful or anxious before my surgery (thankfully I was pretty unaware of what they were going to do or I would have been too frightened to show up at VGH), and I wasn’t worried starting treatment at ProCure, but I am scared thinking about my radiation at UWMC. Why? Maybe I am more aware of what I am getting into in this round of radiation, or maybe I was so happy to be avoiding photon radiation that I have spooked myself. I was comparing how fortunate I was to be in proton therapy to my imagined sense of photon radiation and now the bogeyman I created is here to haunt me.
So I will go for a walk and get over it. Worrying about in my room on a Saturday isn’t going to change what happens. What do I have to fear? The recovery from my biopsy and laminectomy in June was much easier that I had anticipated, and while the July surgery was much larger than I envisioned, and the first few weeks were a little rough, the overall recovery has been smooth. Other than some nerve damage I am almost completely recovered. In fact, I am better. I have been walking all over Seattle without canes or walking aids and I have less back pain than at any point in the past 25 years. My ProCure experience has been like going to the spa (well, an equipment delay prone spa with really unpleasant treatments that cause intense fatigue; where is the Aveda product, the hot stones and the sauna? I need to talk to someone about this). This journey has worked out well so far, why won’t this leg?
Walking helps me to focus on the positive and push the worries out of my mind. Late last night I was unable to sleep due to my nerve pain, so I went for a long walk on the treadmill, while watching The Cider House Rules. The nerve pain subsided, I found the film calming (why would a film about an untrained orphan who never attended school working as a doctor be soothing?), and I was able to sleep, although I did wake up at four and google Dr. Tseng to review her credentials (she looks solid, but I may call Harvard on Monday and confirm that she actually did graduate from their medical school). I‘ll head out now and walk these worries away.
I’ll replace the fear with pleasant memories (I can hear the “presentness” and MBSR folk now – “living in the past is as bad as living in the future”, but hey, give me this one. I’ll get back to meditation tomorrow morning.) Last weekend Stella and Olivia were here. We saw a lot of Seattle and ate great sushi, Indian food and chocolate. We met new friends and rested. So, I’ll take a few minutes to relish this, vanquish the fear and enjoy Seattle. And then I’ll write that positive post I’ve been meaning to write.
—-if you live in BC get out and vote today. This whole democracy thing, while dubious, is our best hope.