Friday, July 9, 2010

Cavalier. Who? Me?

a cavalier disregard for danger offhand, indifferent, casual, dismissive, insouciant, unconcerned; supercilious, patronizing, condescending, disdainful, scornful, contemptuous; informal couldn't-care-less, devil-may-care.

"It is what it is."

"What if it comes back? Well, it comes back. And I'll deal with it then."


Unconcerned. (not really. ALWAYS concerned.)


Have I mentioned that every ache and pain causes heart aches and pain? 

Have I mentioned that the every day type of headache or leg cramp raises my blood pressure? That every one makes me inhale sharply and talk myself calm? Every one? Every damn one?

Jerry's words to me were that if I had bad headaches, or bone pain, he wanted to know about it. Other than that, he basically told me to go and have a good life.

I have had intermittent and recurring leg/ankle pain in my right leg for a few weeks. 

But, I told myself, it was intermittent. Cancer pain would be always there, right?

Yesterday I google searched "bone pain from cancer".

Intermittent and recurring.

Today I called.

oohhh, that was a hard call to make. Hard to quell the quiver in my voice. Strong and courageous? Who? Me? You've got to be kidding.

Jerry doesn't have "advice nurses". He has "triage". I am thinking that 'triage' isn't the best word to use. I shall add that to my list of suggestions for NW Cancer Specialists. 

I talked to nurse Kathryn. She was one of my favorite chemo nurses. Don's favorite, too. She is a Mac girl.

So I describe to nurse Kathryn about the ankle and leg pain. She said "so, do you have a question about it, or do you just want the doctor to know?" 

Um, yes. My question is if the pain is caused by cancer. That is my question. But instead of asking nurse Kathryn my question, I respond "Jerry said he wanted to know if I had bone pain..."

Nurse Kathryn asks for the best phone number to call me back. I ask when the call would be and she said "probably Monday, possibly late this afternoon".

Imagine my surprise when my phone rings within 40 minutes. Dr. Segal wants me to have an xray today. And don't wait too long to go so that he can get the results this afternoon...in case they have to do an "intervention". 

Breathe, Drenda. Breathe. It is probably nothing. Quell the panic. I tell myself that I will feel silly about my upset and fear when I get the news that all is well.

I go to Providence for the xray. No record of the order. Finally found. Sent to xray.

Darrell, the xray tech, asks me why I am having an xray. "Injury?"


That is all I say. I am laying on the table, and thinking "'no' is enough. He doesn't need to know more." I cannot bear to hear myself say the words that are in my head. I cannot bear to say the words "just ruling out cancer"... or "want to make sure breast cancer has not spread". Can't say them.

Darrell goes to develop the xrays. And he comes back. And spends quite a bit of time at his monitor, looking at the xrays.

Then he comes over to me and asks me to pinpoint for him where, exactly, I am having the pain. I do. He says, "ok. You can go. The doctor will interpret the xrays and then call your doctor, and your doctor will call you."

Strong and Courageous?

My facade may be all three.

But my heart?

My heart is quivering. 

My heart is often fear-filled. 

My heart is waiting. For the other shoe to drop.

So I am home now. 

Waiting for Jerry to call.

And when that phone rings? 

That's when I'll need the strength and courage. 

Just to answer.