Friday, October 17, 2008

Woudda coudda shoudda

In all my concern over my lowered counts, I didn’t dwell much on the fact that Oct. 15 would have marked one year out of transplant if my graft hadn’t mysteriously failed at six months.

I did, of course, think about it.
It would have been my second new birthday (following my first new birthday, my auto transplant, now my non-birthday, on Sept. 18, 2003).

If I hadn’t backpedaled, I would have learned who my donor is. I would feel the relief of having the experience be one whole year behind me.

Plenty of people are saying woudda coudda shoudda over their stock market purchases. "I would have," "I should have," "I could have" are words that people often apply to troubling events in their lives. Everyone knows it’s a waste of energy. It’s something we as cancer survivors must try especially hard to avoid. Other words are just as problematic, for example, “if only….” And “what if….”

“If only I hadn’t gotten cancer….what if it comes back…” They’re all part of the same non-productive way of thinking.

Emily did have a good “woulda” about my one-year-annversary that wasn’t.

“You would have been getting ready to go back to work,” she pointed out.
So true. I like my job writing for a newspaper, but there are countless benefits to staying home. I’ve spent more time with my kids than I ever would have. I can read the newspaper all morning. I can read books at my leisure, walk with friends, watch the dog swim, enjoy the mid-day sun that I missed in the office, and take a nap without feeling guilty. And now that I’ve discovered blogging, I can send my updates into the blogosphere and get support and feedback from people I know and friends I’ve never met. And I can send out support and reassurance in return.

Quick update: Today was the day to call Melissa for the results of the CMV test and the bone marrow biopsy. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Mary called and I told her I was lying there with the quilt over my head, imagining bad things…that Melissa would say the results were bad, or that she might even say they weren’t in, when in fact they might be in but were so bad that she wanted to tell me in person. Woa.

“Stop making scenarios,” Mary said. “Get up and make some pancakes and some strong coffee.” I told her that my mother used to come wiggle my toes and say, “Get up, get up.”
“Mary,” I said. “Tell me to get up.”

“OK,” she said. “Get up, get up, get up.”

So I did. I added half an Ativan to my morning pills, and when my heart stopped beating fast, I called Melissa.

The CMV was still negative. Only half the bone marrow results were in, and they looked fine. The chimerism and the rest would not be back until Monday. She said to stay on the Valcyte, because if I go off too quickly the CMV might come back.

I think I can deal with that for now. The sun is shining. My friend Barry is coming for a walk. The dog is lying in a patch of sunlight on the dining room rug. Soon she’ll be racing around in the lake. I’m going to see if I can get through the weekend by being a good Scarlett O’Hara.

I’ll think about it tomorrow. (Or the next day or the next day or the next.)


Carl said...

How easy it is to rush to the worst-case scenario. We all do it. It's a weird kind of self-protections (if I imagine the worst, then realty couldn't possibly top that).

Anyway, I'm glad you got some moderately good news. Hang in there while you wait for more.

Grace and peace.

PJ said...

So far, so good. I completely understand the anxiety. Just thinking about contacting Dr. A after my last bmb almost knocked me over the edge. Ativan is our friend.

As for your complicated birthday thing--why not just say you're timeless?

donna said...

Keep thinking positively and listen to your doctors. The virus is gone, the BMB looks good, the Sox won, - you're on the right track. It's a beautiful day. See you at 10:30 for tennis!

Baby Bird said...

I have always called Ativan "Atta Boy."

For my last bone marrow biopsy, I didn't even call the doctor until three days after it was in. There was some sick part of me that liked dwelling in the "well maybe's."

You are so right that our approach to writing is very similar . . . positive and forward thinking.

I continue to get people pressuring me to write a book from my blog and my personal journal. I'm sure you must get the same. Perhaps we should do one together.

Baby Bird said...

I just received this on my blog....


The Vietnamese Buddhist monk and philosopher, Thich Nhat Hanh, writes about enjoying a good cup of tea. You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you.

The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

- Brian Weiss, MD.
From his book "Only Love is Real"