Wednesday, December 16, 2009
It's okay to be scared
I'm up bright and early this morning. I was exhausted last night and went to bed at 8 pm. Fatigue often gets the better of me, or so it seems .... it's been that way for many months now. Yesterday my gastroenterologist called with the results of blood work and labs taken. It's always nerve wracking when your doctor calls you and he (or she) isn't returning your call. You know it's not good news. He tells me my lipase levels are elevated (lipase is an enzyme that the pancreas produces). He says it's moderately elevated. He wants me to proceed with the small intestine x-ray (which is scheduled this morning) after which he will want blood work done and a test done specifically for lipase and amylase. He doesn't think i have pancreatitis as I don't have the severe abdominal pain. After he sees where my lipase and amylase levels are, and if nothing shows up on the small intestine x-ray, he indicated that the next step would most likely be an endoscopic ultrasound of the pancreas. He also is going to take a look at the PET/CT scan that was done back in July. It appears we are heading down the path of screening for pancreatic cancer. Yes, it's scary. I know something is wrong and my body is screaming "pay attention!" As I prepare for my second lumpectomy of the year, I am aware that I will know soon whether the cells in my breast have progressed from pre-cancer to cancer. Somehow, I'm more prepared for that emotionally ... maybe because i've convinced myself that we will catch it in the very early stages even if it is cancer and it will be okay. The possibility of pancreatic cancer ... that's a whole another story. Even though my weight loss has slowed down, it still continues. In a year I have lost almost 35 pounds. My body continues to not be able to digest fats. There is so much I want to do. I have immersed myself in the animal welfare community with dreams and hopes that give me the energy I need .... yet, there are moments when my body feels weak and tired, and I know I must slow down, take a deep breath, and be okay with simply resting and taking care of myself.
Yesterday, I broke down and cried in the arms of my partner. I've been trying so hard not to feel the emotions. Finally, I admitted I am scared. I am truly scared and I am tired of feeling fatigued. I am tired of not feeling 100%. I admitted I have been coasting along doing everything I can to not feel the pain and the fear ... instinctively, i've kicked into survival mode. Shortly after I broke down, I got the call from my doctor about the abnormal lipase levels. As difficult as it was, it was also a relief. After coasting along it was time to land and root myself on our beautiful earth and to accept my feelings ... all of them. There's a road ahead of us as I work with my doctors to find some answers ... but i'm not alone.
I am grateful for my partner who has been standing by my side through all of this. I am grateful that feelings and emotions don't scare her. I am grateful that no matter what, I know that I will have her walking with me on this journey ... and I know that right by her will be our dogs Ahnung, Missy and Mister and our kitty Henry :) I also know that from up above Papa is watching over me. I also turn my worries and my fear over to God as I pray this morning for the strength and the courage to handle whatever journey I must make.
And when I need to smile or need a big bear hug ... I also know I can always count on my girl Ahnung :) She's got lumps on her ear that we are also trying to figure out what's causing it ... we'll walk this journey together, all of us together, no matter what!