Monday, June 17, 2013

The Two-Year Adrenaline Rush

June 17th, again.  The anniversary of my diagnosis.  I felt little sentiment today, though that may be in part because I felt like hell all day due to a cold.  I went in to work and left a little over an hour later, after discovering that getting out of bed was probably the wrong choice.  As I type this my cold still lingers.  With a little luck I'll be able to sleep it off tonight.  If not, I can afford to sleep in tomorrow.

So I had my routine four-month MRI, and again it came back clean, or as clean as it's going to get.  It's almost certain those two little dots are scar tissue now.  Or possibly very, very lazy.

Both of my parents accompanied me on my appointment, an unnecessary gesture.  They always ask if I want them to come and I always express my honest indifference, but I think they interpret that as stoicism or bravery.  Of course my mother also gets irritated with me when I schedule appointments to fit my schedule rather than hers.  I suppose if I felt strongly enough about it I could just ask her - usually it's just her - not to come, but I worry that the ill will it may create would outweigh any minor benefit. 

They also wanted to come into the exam room with me, to talk to Dr. C.  We went over the usual, about how I'm recovering, and what I have done and can do in the future to help my body continue to heal and adapt.  I read a news article about a study examining the body mass of marijuana users to the general population and found that they generally tend to be thinner, so I asked Dr. C. about any potential weight control benefits to the drug.  He laughed for a good minute.  He's heard of no such thing and said he wouldn't recommend I start taking marijuana or THC, not because he's against it but because he feels I have no need for it.  Instead, he recommended more coffee, a prescription I am more than happy to fill.

I'd made a decision not to bring up my depression in front of my parents.  It had subsided slightly since my last post but was still a concern, and Mom had started to have her suspicions.  Perhaps that "light" in my eyes that so many people noticed has started to dim.  But when Dr. C. asked if I'd like my parents to leave the room so that we might speak privately, I declined.  In retrospect, I'm not certain why.  Maybe some of that suspected bravery.

Now, Dr. C. has been treating cancer patients for longer than I've been alive.  I don't know if I'm easy to read, or if he just has so much experience that he knows better, but he insisted they give us a few minutes.  Once they were gone, I spoke with him openly and without hesitation.  He did not seem surprised. 

Several times during our conversation he reminded me that he is not a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, but what he said to me made a great deal of sense. 

We've all heard the story.  Car accident, child pinned in wreck, mother gets burst of strength to lift car off child, etc.  Well, Dr. C. said that effect isn't limited to things so dramatic as a car accident, nor do the effects always wear off immediately.  What I've been through has been, well, traumatic, physically and mentally.  His theory is that I've been cruising on an adrenaline rush for the better part of two years.  It makes a lot of sense.  That would explain my focus and determination in fighting my disease, my quick and thorough recovery.  Counter-intuitively, it might also help to explain why I've felt so calm these last two years: if I'm already running in "high gear" then wouldn't it take more of a shock to amp me any higher? 

Only problem is I'm not sure if I believe it.  There are reasons we aren't always high on adrenaline; reasons that mother can't flip cars whenever she feels like it.  Our bodies are not made to handle that kind of stress.  They'd break.  Still, it's some food for thought.

He gave me the number of a local therapist that's covered by my insurance, and said (again reminding me that he is not a therapist himself) that I will likely benefit from a combination of medication and "insights."  That's a nice word for it.  I like it. 

I'm not too crazy (poor word choice) about taking pills again.  I haven't called this therapist yet, and I'm not certain when I will.  I have been feeling better lately, if not as good as I'd like.  I'm still on schedule at work, though my spotty update schedule on this very blog shows me that I'm still not as productive as I want to be.

So I guess that's about where I stand.  Keepin' on keepin' on. 

In other news, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that companies cannot patent naturally occurring human DNA, so that's pretty neat.  Sounds to me like a pretty good compromise between research for the benefit of human kind and protection of property, since altered DNA can still be patented.  Also means no one can sue me for copyright infringement for replicating my own DNA without a license, and I'm all in favor of healing as a basic human right.