Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Briefly Returning to Old Programming

This post will be a return to old programs in more than one way. As far as the photography goes, it's definitely last week's news. Our snow has all melted and we are back to warm, cold, warm, cold weather. I know the birds are happy about the warmer days. You may have to click to enlarge the shot below to see the busy flicker, pecking at the bark of the tree. The main way this will be an old program post is that I'm trying to talk myself out of getting nervous about my upcoming full body PET/CT scan (five weeks away) and surgical oncology check up on the same day. Last year when I had made it three years without a melanoma recurrence at Stage III, I made a conscious decision to declare myself free of it and move on.In some regards I've been more successful at moving on than I thought I would be. Lingering "issues" which I've had since my lymph node dissection are unpleasant reminders but overall, I have done well. I don't expect to be blindsided at this point. However, it's not always possible to push away the undercurrent of anxiety.
I fully expect in March that I will be able to say I have gone four years without a recurrence. I can't decide if it helps me to write about my anxiety at this point or not. Odd since I started this blog as a way of dealing with my melanoma diagnosis and lingering health problems which followed.
I even started my other blog which is almost exclusively photographs so I wouldn't feel weird if I occasionally came back to health topics on this blog. However, as time has gone by, for whatever reason, I feel sort of strange talking about cancer or chronic issues on my blog. Clearly feeling strange isn't stopping me from talking about that old news stuff. I have always been a little strange so I guess strange is normal for me. Now that I'm getting silly, I stop on that comfortable note. I am very comfortable with silly.


Dr.John said...

I understand your fear. I am afraid every time I see my lung doctor. I will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to write about what you want on your blog..Your health is part of who you are...I understand how you feel. I do ok pushing my MS aside until it's time for the series of MRIS and then I have anxiety before, during and after. It's almost like as long as I don't have the tests, I am OK. Having the tests makes it clear that I am not OK and living with stuff hanging over your head isn't the nicest way to live and I guess we find our own ways to cope. MRIs are due in March so I should be getting the appointments soon..Oh well....I will keep you in my thoughts.. Michelle..

Dee said...

Silly is good! Anxious is understandable.

I was starting to get anxious and apprehensive last week about my upcoming surgery. I mentioned it to my acupuncturist and she asked me what exactly was I apprehensive about. My reply was that I wasn't sure how I would do post-operatively in terms of pain and also nausea. In addition to giving me the acupuncture later, she gave me a couple of pointers that would help with nausea (magnets on the wrist pressure points and ginger tea) and mentioned that there were some Chinese herbs that would be good with pain. I also see her about 10 days post-op. She also gave me a qi gong move that helps to quiet the mind.

I've also been meditating and visualizing things some.

Since then, I've been much less apprehensive. It's probably the combination of all of these strategies to decrease the anxiety.

So, your post made me think a bit more why I'm now less apprehensive. I think it was because I acknowledged the worst that could happen. If they happen, I have some strategies in place to deal with them.

So, maybe, what you can do is ask the question: What is the worst that can happen? My guess would be that the melanoma came back. What then? My guess is that this time around, they would catch it much sooner than they did your other one (because you've been monitoring it fairly closely in recent years). This means that your treatment for it wouldn't be as severe.

So, while the prospect of facing a recurrence might suck, maybe figuring out your plan to tackle it IF (and that's a huge IF because I think you've tackled this beast) you do get it back might ease your fears. Think about what you might do to ask for support from your friends and family and from work.

Being strange and silly helps, too. Think of me listening to Mean Mad Mama while I'm under the knife! It's gonna make me smile, for sure!

escape said...

wishing that you'll have a better year with your health.

winter is going bye bye!

juliana said...

being silly at times is a good thing.

i'm sure your tests will confirm you are free of cancer but just in case i'll keep my fingers crossed

SandyCarlson said...

In that second photo, the shape of the stump without snow takes the shape of an angel that appears to be embracing the air. Beautiful shots, Carver.

Bengbeng said...

Carver, please try meditation. it is not just Asian culture but it is a universal calming activity. I hope you don't think I am intruding please. I practice it when I need to for example when i was warded in the general hospital last week. It relieves the anxieties a little.

King (Kathie) said...


It's been awhile since I've had a chance to read your blog. Something pulled me to it on this Saturday night. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for clean scans. You have been so helpful to so many with melanoma. I am one of so many people that really appreciate you and your time.

Love your pix, of course, too.

Stay Strong

Kerri Pierce said...

Hi Carver -

Thanks so much for your positive words on my blog. It seems we are in the same boat right about now with our scans. I hope that we both will get through this like we have the past scans. I really do try and enjoy life and not dwell on the melanoma, but sometimes that is easier said than done. Good luck to you!

Kerri Pierce