Monday, December 6, 2010


I just took my blood pressure at home, wondering if my sky-high reading the other day had anything to do with my White Coat Syndrome. (I have a blood pressure monitor at home that I used to monitor my bp when I was pregnant with Lilah.) It read 182/86. Not great, but not nearly as high as it was in the doctor's office the other day.

I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow morning. And I'm having some anxiety about it - which I'm sure isn't helping. High bp, worried about high bp, which probably elevates it more . . . ah, it's a circle jerk.

Anxiety has been running extremely high in our house lately. It's not something I've talked a lot about, in the interest of privacy, but I need to put it out there now. We are scared. Michael is due for an annual PET scan, and in a way, it feels very much like we're reliving the period right after he was diagnosed, when we were trying to wrap our heads around the fact that he had cancer, but we didn't yet know how bad it was or what the treatment plan and prognosis were going to be. Emotions have been heightened by the fact that some people Michael has become acquainted with who had the same type of cancer he had have died recently. It throws you for a loop, that's for sure.

Until very recently, I've been operating under the assumption that everything is going to be okay. Of course it is! Of course his scan is going to be completely uneventful. Of course it's just going to confirm that he's completely fine. Very naive of me, but I think it's just been a defense mechanism. I can't let myself go there. I can't let myself think about the other possibility, because I might lose my mind if I do. The only way I can hold it together is to convince myself that of course everything is going to be fine.

Only now that naivete is crumbling, and reality has wormed its way in. All it takes is one rogue little cancer cell to have not shown up on his scan immediately following the end of his treatment. One little cell that could pull the whole fucking rug out from under us once again.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: people think that once a person is finished with cancer treatment and their follow-up scan shows "NED" (no evidence of disease), that's it, the beast has been beaten and everyone can heave a sigh of relief and get on with life. And to some extent that's true, but it's also true that cancer never leaves you (or your loved ones) completely. The fear - and the chance - of recurrence is always there. It's not an easy thing to live with. The hardest thing is figuring out how to not let the fear control you and steal your life.

Michael saw his oncologist this morning for routine bloodwork, etc. (which went fine), and in the interest of putting all this waiting and wondering behind us, scheduled his scan for tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully we will get good news within a day or two and can move forward. In the meantime, one foot in front of the other.


diane rene said...

I hope it all goes well and the cancer is still gone. it would be interesting to see how your BP reads tomorrow with the GP, and then maybe after the results come back? I definitely wouldn't rule it out.

I don't have high BP myself, but my dad has been on meds since his late teens. his varies drastically from lying down, to sitting up to standing! we have postponed surgeries because his BP was too low - go figure.

I'll be thinking about you both!

Esther and Brian said...

i'll be thinking about you and michael, lisa...thanks for sharing with us...lots of stress, for sure..keep your chin and attitude up, ok?

warm wishes....esther

Stephanie said...

Best of luck to you guys tomorrow. You'll be in my thoughts dear. And now I have to talk in my preachy nurse voice and tell you that you also have to take care of YOUrself. That blood pressure is still far to high and if left untreated leads to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and a host of other miserable and painful conditions. This isn't just fear mongering. I see it in the ICU. As always, much love to you Lisa.

heather said...

Your blood pressure is much better than the other day. The bottom number is the most worrisome and above 100 is nothing to take lightly. I hope you are having some blood work done too. I wouldn't be surprised if you have high cholesterol. They kinda go hand in hand. My mom has been on meds for a long time for both of them. So I'm sure it's not that far down the road for me either. It's all genetics for her (and you). The doctor told her he would guess she was over 300 lbs. if he just looked at her vital signs and cholesterol levels. She is really thin and an avid exerciser. Good luck at your appointment and hope all goes well.