Panic attacks

I have never, ever, in my life had a full blown panic attack; but I came very close to it today. I was scheduled for an MRI on the brain (yes, I do have a brain!) I lasted only 5 minutes and had to stop the test. I’m not sure what happened, but I just couldn’t stand it a moment longer. I’ve never had claustrophobia, but then I’ve never been in such a small space like that, either. It was a combination of the machine noises – it’s been described as lying on a freeway with the noise and vibration – or on the end of a runway when planes are taking off and landing over your head – being flat on my back and feeling like I couldn’t breathe (I haven’t slept on my back ever) or maybe this test just made the diagnosis real. Whatever it was, I had to get up and leave. The techs were so supportive and extremely understanding, while I felt like an idiot. I know that others have the same reaction, but I’m a strong person and should have been able to handle this test. I need to start being a little more forgiving of myself.

So now the test has been rescheduled for Thursday, with IV sedation. Tomorrow afternoon I will have a PET scan and Friday I will have the biopsy. We have a meeting with the oncologist on Thursday afternoon; we’re hoping that we can make some decisions even before the biopsy results – at least he should have the MRI and PET scan and the blood work for tumor markers. I’m learning a whole new vocabulary here.

One of my concerns right now is finances. I don’t know how much my insurance will cover and how much we will have to pay ourselves.

And I’m scared. Just scared of the unknown I think. I don’t know what treatment will be like or even if treatment is an option. I don’t know whether the treatment will work or how it will make me feel. I do know that surgery and radiation are not options for me. But perhaps chemo will shrink the tumors enough that one of the other will be an option down the road. Or it could be that nothing will work and I will die before I’m ready.

Most of the time, I don’t think about what’s going on in my body because I’m busy at work or doing things around the house. But I will suddenly find myself tearing up for no reason and even sobbing at my desk. This is hard for me to accept, and even harder for my partner, who is a total control freak. The fact that this is something he can’t fix is wearing on him. He is organizing everything for me and has made friends with the people we need in our corner. So I’m leaving that part to him. I’m focusing on my job and making sure that there are people trained to take care of things if I’m not there. I am learning to prioritize what only I can do and what I can delegate to others. And I have arranged for Family Medical Leave so I can stay home when I need to but still work when I can.

I’m sorry if this seems rambling, but my thoughts aren’t very coherent today.

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4 thoughts on “Panic attacks

  1. You have a lot to process…new information, new emotions, new horizons that are totally foreign and perhaps even tenuous because they’ll be shifting and in constant flux for awhile. It’s understandable that you would be anxious, frazzled, scared, bewildered…if I could suggest one thing, and forgive me if I’m overstepping…you’ve been in touch with your core, with the well of wisdom and peace at the core of your being…try to find that place when you feel you can’t breathe, and quiet all the chatter and noise going on inside of you and try to drink in some peace…find some mantras that work for you, kind gentle mantras that remind you to go one day, one moment at a time. Breathe. You have a team working with you, let them do everything that only they can do, leaving yourself the energy to do only what you have to do, which primarily is to get yourself from one moment to the next, one appointment to the next, one piece of information to the next. It’s going to be overwhelming for awhile, but, as tacky as this might sound, it will morph into a fairly controlled routine for you, which will be sort of comforting because, again, you will be able to use your energy to do what only you can do.

    Be gentle with you, this is a traumatic turn of events for you, your inner you needs compassion, patience, understanding and ways to cope with the onslaught of it all.

    Know you are loved. Let yourself feel all of us surrounding you with love.

  2. I’m praying for you and thinking about you and wish only the very best for you. Take it one day at a time; sometimes, I’ve gotten through half a day at a time. May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be ever present and at the forefront of your thoughts. Hugs. Love. Prayers. And blessings!!!! luv, jabber

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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