Saturday, November 5, 2011

Panic Attack

There is blood all over my beautiful new sheets.  I was picking my cuticles in a nervous state of stress last night and five of my fingers are raw and bleeding.  It hurts, but I still continue to do it over and over again.  Until cancer entered my life, I had never known what a full-blown panic attack feels like.  I experienced high stress - mostly work related - where I swear I could feel wiry gray hairs sprouting from my scalp.  But this level of panic and anxiety was foreign to me.  I wish it still was. 

Lou had the day off yesterday so he got up extra early with Ty and I slept until Gavin woke up.  When I came downstairs, I noticed Ty was in different pajamas.  I asked him, "Hey, what happened to your Sponge Bob PJ's?"   He didn't answer.  Lou game me an exaggerated frown.  "What?  What happened?"  Lou made a gesture that showed me Ty threw up.  Since I am incapable of subtlety under these circumstances, I immediately started to panic and shouted a slew of questions out loud.  "What do you mean he threw up?  Why?  Does he have head pain?  Did he say he doesn't feel well?..." and so on. 

"Don't worry," Lou said.  "He was drinking his apple juice so fast this morning he started to cough.  I think it just went down the wrong way and it caused him to gag."  Ahhhhh.  Thank God.  I can totally believe that answer, it happens.  Ty has a very, very sensitive gag reflex and I was relieved. 

Then, not even 20 minutes later, he threw up again.  We both had to change our clothes.  Some juice must have been leftover, upsetting his stomach - or so I tell myself.  Another 20 minutes later I have to give him his morning medicine.  Again, he throws up.  We travel down to the hospital for our weekly appointment and I share this with his nurse.  While we waited to be seen, Ty ate a bunch of grapes and he seemed totally fine, he kept them down and was in a great mood.  His nurse felt this probably meant that the vomiting in the morning was isolated and nothing to worry about.  After we met with the nurse we spent a couple of hours in the day hospital waiting for Ty's infusion to finish.  He ate 1/4 of a banana.  He threw it up within minutes.  On the outside I kept it together, but I started completely losing it on the inside.

I had to walk away.  I went to the bathroom that was furthest away from where we were sitting that day, and I felt like I couldn't see or hear anything around me.  I was floating in a bubble that didn't have enough oxygen.  I don't know how I got to the bathroom, how long I was in there sobbing, or if I was quiet enough so I couldn't be heard outside.  I splashed water on my face, and I just stood there, bent over in a panic.  I calmed myself down by trying to think of other things.  I decided to leave and take the elevator downstairs for a cup of coffee (I don't know why, when I am most anxious, I always crave caffeine - not exactly what my body needs).  Again, I don't know how I got down there.  I was unaware of my surroundings.  Sounds were muffled.  All I could do was concentrate of breathing and not crying. 

Luckily, I recovered after a while.  When I returned to Ty, I was in pretty good shape.  Lou could tell I was a mess, but Ty didn't know.   I am an expert at altering my voice so he won't know I was crying.

I don't know what this means, but I just have to hope and pray that it isn't cancer-related.  I believe Ty is healing.  I believe his scan on Tuesday will prove this to be true.  But right now, we have to just wait with painstaking scanticipation. 



The next 3 days are going to be brutal, but also filled with so much excitement as Lou prepares to run his first marathon on Sunday.  Ty and I will be waiting for him at mile 17 - right outside of the hospital - and then we will walk over to greet him at the finish line.  It's going to be amazing.  Thanks to all of you who are supporting his fundraising efforts, and those of his sister, Debi.  Lou is in the Top Ten among all 775 runners from Fred's Team.  All of their fundraising will be going directly toward pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.   I can't wait to update you all on the marathon - we are heading to the city in just a few minutes. 



1 comment:

  1. Cindy,
    THe feeling of panic is so frightening and overwhelming, I have been there. Just ride it out like a wave when it hits you. It peaks and then subsides. Don't fight it, it makes it worse. Take a deep breath. You will get your bearings.
    Sending you and the family warm feelings of love..

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