Friday, March 03, 2006

Tick ... tick ... tick ...

Hello everyone!
My deep, deep thanks to you all for your good wishes and support. I'm really grateful for it, and eternally so, because it makes a difference in my life.
Despite the sleet and snow and icy roads, I made it into Manhattan on Thursday morning for my blood test. I wanted to get the damned thing over with, foul weather or not.
I have a deal with my endocrinologist. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but it still holds.
I told her I don't want to know the results of these tests unless I absolutely need to. My blood calcium level is a number. It's abstract. My state of mind and the way I feel physically are not.
I've had results before that indicated the cancer was gaining the upper hand. But mentally and physically, I felt fine -- until I was told those numbers.
I've also had results that have been good, all things considered, and I rode a wave of euphoria until the next test yielded discouraging numbers that brought this Icarus crashing back to earth.

So, unless it's a matter of urgency, unless I need to be given the results to explain the reason, say, for an increase in my medication, unless the results indicate that another surgery may need to be considered, I don't want to know.
I'm sick of fixating on numbers.
The only numbers I care about right now are Thursday's New Jersey Lottery results. (Ooops, gotta check my tickets.)

20 comments:

Beth said...

michael: it must be a hard thing to know and a hard thing to not know. you really do take life one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. i really admire that. illness or not, that is the only way to live.

Zenmom, aspiring said...

Wow, Michael....you are a zenmaster. I work in a bone marrow transplant ICU where we draw labs and collect numbers and create huge pieces of numbered flowsheets...and the thing is, it takes a really good practitioner to realize that it's a patient that needs to be treated, not numbers as there is often a big discrepancy between how people "look on paper" and how they "are". Congratulations for your innate knowing of this and for the wisdom of also having someone else watching the outer boundaries of your blood chemistry.

Michael said...

Hello Z.M.,A.,
Many thanks for your visit and for your comment!
Trust me, I'm no Zen master -- just a person who is scared of dying, and who opts to do the one (the only?) thing in his control to insulate himself from such hard evidence of his own mortality.
For me, numbers get in the way of living. I can't control them. But I can choose not to be paralyzed (or falsely encouraged) by them.

anu said...

Michael i too like Kim admire you for all that you are and all that you are capable of being :) Hugs.

Here is my two cents worth..

Michael, i have learnt that numbers can mean nothing if you dont believe in them.

Easier said than done i know. But earlier i used to be highly agitated when i receive my reports. Now i am not. It just does not worry me at all. I dont spend two days thinking about it and then two days worrying about it.

Not becoz i have accepted that this wont change. Becoz somewhere i dont 'feel' that 'i am sick'. I just dont believe it.

Yes i have the needle pricking scars on arms and yes i have the physical reports as a proof. Yes i have the doctors telling me how badly and poorly my kidneys are functioning every single day.

But yet, i dont have the belief that i am sick.

So i dont have the fear associated with the numbers and they dont make me nervous and tensed.

I believe i can heal my body. I have started but not from outside but from inside..by healing my soul, my life, my relationships, my work and by listening to my heart. I have started by loving myself.

Even after all this, if i dont heal my kidneys and they are dead anyways then what??

Who cares anyways, by then i would be so much in love with myself that it wouldnt matter either ways!!!

:) All my love always Michael

anu said...

Michael i hope my post did not annoy you. I was not trying to pull myself up here and say i am better or something. You just need to read my blog to know how totally messed up my life is.

I read your post and felt what i wrote. And i wanted to share with you my feelings.

And all this only in the hope that, my experience, again two cents worth, can be useful to you.

Please pardon me if i hurt any feelings through my previous comment.

anu said...

Michael after all that what i wrote, i am getting worried about your reports now.

So much so for all what i blabbered above.

I do and really do wish you all the best Michael.

Phats said...

So did you win the lottery?

I know how you feel man, I go every three months to get blood work, they fax it to Indy, and I only hear from them if something is wrong, or a med change is in order. I go to Indy once a year, and it stresses me out to NO end, mostly because I know they have the ability to keep me. So, I totally know how you feel. I'll keep ya in my thoughts and prayers

Michael said...

Hi Anu,
Not to worry. Thank you for your viewpoint, which echoes my own in many ways. Please don't worry!

Hi Phats,
Yeah, I won $3. Thanks for your kind words! There are many people out there in the same boat as we.

anu said...

:) thanks Michael

You are precious and i did not want to hurt you even by mistake.

Michael said...

Hi Anu,
Thanks, and don't worry, I took your comments just as you intended them. No misinterpretations. ... Thanks again!

Oxeye said...

Hi Michael, just passing through. you are not alone you know.. a lot of us think about you everyday. we will all be having similar health problems some day. maybe sooner than we think. I just wonder how you can walk so far when 6 or 7 miles completely wipes me out. :)
take care..

Michael said...

Thanks, Oxeye.

Patry Francis said...

Waiting for medical tests, trying endlessly to interpret them, or feeling controlled by them is one of the hardest experiences I've had in my life. I admire your refusal to do so more than I can say.

Michael said...

Thanks, Patry!
I think my attitude is one part stoicism and three parts fear.
I'm quite afraid, and naturally so, of the unknown. But I also am beginning to realize that there is nothing I can do to influence my test results one way or another. So, I'm forced to accept them as they are.
I also recognize the power of the mind to elicit boundless courage and tremendous trepidation. Obsessing about test results leads to the latter in my case -- even if it turns out that I was worried about nothing.
So, for the sake of self-preservation, I need to stick to the path I've chosen.
Time is precious.

jo(e) said...

I think you've got the right attitude. Focusing on the numbers can just fill you with anxiety -- better to focus on living your life. Sounds like you are doing this.

Kitty said...

It sounds like you're working out a wise balance there, Michael. Using the helpful part of modern medicine but not giving it more power than it needs to have. (Hope I'm not projecting there, but that sounds like a pretty healthy way to live.)

Michael said...

Thanks, jo(e).

Hi Kitty! Many thanks. One foot in front of the other ...

LBseahag said...

Good thinking, Michael...
You have this thing nailed...its gonna be a smoothe ride for you...

passion said...

Michael, sorry it's been a while ... reading your post (and anu's) always gives me strength. You are incredible! You both are!
Hugs and love and always thinking of you.

Michael said...

Thanks, Passion! Nothing incredible, really. Everyone is capable of wonderful adaptive powers when faced with challenge. I only hope I can continue to keep things together.