Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Check-up anxiety and cancer nightmares

As check-ups approach, nightmares unfold. Sometimes.

It's been a long time, so it happens less frequently.

Back in the period after each transplant, I often took an Ativan the night before so I could get some sleep. That never even crosses my mind. In fact, last night I slept like a log, waking up at 7:30, which is late for me these days.

I didn't get any formal exercise yesterday, but I think I got exhausted from running around in yesterday's deluge– from tutoring to errands to last-minute oil change that was overdue – and getting soaked because my little umbrella blew inside out.

My nightmare the other day makes sense in light of my friend Ann's death from squamous cell cancer:

I dreamt that my dermatologist removed and biopsied two likely squamous cell cancers from my arm. They were larger than the usual ones.

"I wish I could tell you I wasn't worried about these," she said.

Doom and gloom.

I have three appointments in two days, and one is with my dermatologist tomorrow. It is just to check on my skin after last month's face fry, or Photodynamic Therapy. It looked horrible at first, but now I think it looks pretty good, and I think she will be pleased.

Also tomorrow, I have my check-up with Dr. Alyea. I feel good so I am not worried, but there is always that split second of anxiety while you wait for your counts to come up on the screen.

Today I am going to Mass Eye and Ear to see the cornea specialist Dr. Reza Dana, who is monitoring my eyes for the low-level graft vs. host that I seem to have. I've been using Restasis eyedrops frequently during the day, so we'll see how that has been working.

Also today, I'm seeing my social worker, Mary Lou Hackett, which I do from time to time. I sent her the blog posts I wrote about the deaths of my friends, PJ and Ann. I think that when possible these things should be discussed with someone in the field of cancer survivorship. I don't know what I expect her to say, but I think that airing my feelings will help.

Tonight: sleepover at Diane and David's.

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