I had a scan last week. I was due to go and get the results today but I’m here watching comedy YouTube videos instead. I contacted the hospital by email yesterday after cancelling and they kindly gave me the gist of the results over the phone. Justified.
For the last few weeks, maybe months, my anxiety has been building. I have been largely unaware of it until maybe the last 2-3 weeks. Now the anxiety has grown and it is affecting my daily decision making.
I have spent a lot of time waiting in my life. A lot of time in waiting rooms at hospitals. Waiting to see if my leg is better. Waiting to go for physio. Waiting for the all clear. Ever since I was a small boy I have had to tolerate waiting rooms. I am pretty good at switching off, not thinking about things and waiting to see specialists for them to ask me questions, read through notes, look at x-rays and give me a pronouncement. I have travelled for hours in cars, trains, ambulances to other hospitals and clinics for this privilege. I am better waiting by myself with no distractions, switched off.
Over the last few months the waiting for some definitive statement about the disease has become difficult. I am not in a waiting room. I am back in the world. I am not alone. I am around family, friends, customers at work. I am not switched off, I am supposed to be engaging in normal life but my life does not feel normal. Each day is a life in itself. From the moment I wake up I think about my health. I am reminded as soon as I swing my leg out of bed and have to hop to the bathroom. I am reminded when I clear my throat, I clear my throat a lot. My nana used to do it. I think for her it was a habit. I am clearing gunk from my throat and chest because I can feel it coagulating. This probing, prodding awareness that something is wrong is there all day. Then eventually in the early hours of the morning I sleep for a while and it’s over. Until the next day.
I have started going back to work for a few hours a week recently. They call it permitted work. It’s a toe dipped into the water. I thought it would be easy but it’s not. I find it hard to get up, get dressed and drive in to work. I find it difficult to engage with other people at all. I find carrying out the tasks a burden. I want to avoid it. My chest gets tight with anxiety when I think about going out. This weekend I am going to watch Wales v Australia in Cardiff with Beth. She very kindly bought the tickets as a birthday present. Right now, three days out, I want to pull out. There will be thousands of people there, clamouring to get a seat, to get a view of the match. The thought of being around so many people makes me feel sick.
I find it hard to be in the real world and juggle the emotion, anticipation and fear of having this disease. I keep hoping that at the next appointment that the Professor will say things have improved, that there is no sign of the disease. I want to be able to let go of the fear and anxiety of what might be happening. For the last three visits things have remained the same. There was some shrinkage initially and now things are stable. That’s great, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to hear that it has metastasized and spread throughout my body. It’s just that the hanging on is stressful and if affecting me and how I interact with people. My mood is already quite low and it’s an effort to lift it off the ground. I am a twat to be around. Maybe I always have been but I feel more so now.
Yesterday my wife called me and told me she was unwell and needed my help. She needed me to collect her from work and take her home. I was in work. I took her back and stayed with her all day. I did nothing for her but I was in the house. I phoned the hospitals and cancelled the two appointments I had today. I could not drive up there by myself, find parking spaces in the ridiculously busy and overcrowded car parks, then get poked and prodded at a prosthetic fitting then wait among other cancer stricken souls for my CT scan result. Who who collect the kids, the dog? What about tomorrow, who would take the children to school? How would Kelly get the car back from work? Justified.
Today arrived and Kelly still feels unwell so I have to take the children to school and drop the dog at doggy day care. This makes me stressed and is something I would rather avoid. It is not part of my routine but at least I don’t have to talk to anyone. Mal took the dog in, so I didn’t have to leave the car. I then came home to watch over my wife. I probably won’t do anything, I’ll just be in the house in case. I can’t go into work today. Justified.
I am aware that my decisions are heavily influenced by my fear. What I do is affected by the knot in my stomach and the angst inside. I have found justification for the decisions.
I fear that I am not good enough at my job and that I will let people down. I fear that I cannot relate to people because I am less than. I fear that I am letting my family down by being so strangled by fear. I fear I am not good enough. All the old fears.
I fear that the cancer is just biding it’s time. When I am not ready it will kill me. The fear is like physical, emotional and mental paralysis.