It's been a week.
After firing off my MAID missive late on Friday night, I awoke to ten email responses in my inbox to my pondering. I rolled into my Zoom morning men's Bible study expecting to talk. MAID is not an easy subject and though I thought it would come up with the men, it didn't. I'm surprised at the people who have engaged with me on the subject. If there is any great revelation that has come out of the subject it is that there is a ton of gray.
From sanctity of life to suicide/euthanasia stretches a vast area for discussion. I spent most of Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday responding to the interest. I can't imagine what it is like to be a real "influencer" in social media and maintaining the personal touch. All that helped to keep me a little preoccupied before my CT scan.
The scan itself didn't worry me. I have done it so many times now I have the patterns on the ceiling memorized. (There may be a water colour painting in that. I'm amazed at the places I find inspiration these days.) I should have been a little more worried. This is the first time I have had a misfire. It was a clue when as I'm wisecracking with the IV nurse about how it gets easier with practice, she snapped, "No it doesn't."
A little taken aback, I waited till I saw blood surge up into the needle and said, "See that wasn't so bad."
"Wait. I still have to check it with the saline." And wouldn't you know it, it wouldn't flow. She wiggled the needle a bit and it went. "Okay now don't wiggle." as she taped it in place and sent me on to the CT technicians.
Notice the plural. Because I didn't. Usually there is only one radio tech and in fact sometimes he actually inserts the IV himself. But there were three. Together they positioned me, had me wiggle down a bit because at a little under six feet I don't quite fit the bed. And then hooked me up to the pump for the contrast dye. Again they had to wiggle the needle. One of them made the unprofessional comment, "At least we don't have to reinsert this IV like the last patient." I winced. But they seemed to get it working.
As I was sliding into the scanner, I realized that though there were three of them, I hadn't received the usual warning. Normally I'm told "The dye will make you feel like you want to pee" . And then it dawned on me that I had the junior varsity team. When I didn't feel the warm flush and then heard the "What a mess!" as they walked back into the room, I knew something was off. The dye pump had blown a line and put the dye all over the floor. So here I lie while three youngsters try and find a mop and clean up the mess.
"Oh," says the senior technician, "it happens all the time." I almost bit my tongue off, stopping a smart remark about maybe they should fix it if it was breaking all the time. Or the equally strong comment about how for a guy lying stretched out on the scanner bed wondering what else "Breaks all the time" was not reassuring.
A restart. And repeat. This time it all went smoothly. And I skedaddled. Skedaddled to the point where I was walking across the parking lot when I realized I was carrying my clothes. So I went back to change out of hospital jammies. I got a good laugh at myself. My arm was sore for the rest of the week.
That is the first time I've had that kind of experience. It set me up for what I described to Sandra as "a sense of impending doom." I didn't make a big deal of it in my last email but there was a line in there about some new nodules in the lower right lung.
The feeling of doom wasn't helped that when I went in to have my precheckup labs done. Normally I sail in and out without even having to take a number. On Sunday there was a lineup like I have never seen before so I had to wait for a little over an hour. And then they couldn't find my standing order for the thyroxine test. Well they could find it but they couldn't reassign it to their lab.
Again I ran into the junior team. I mean I have never had a phlebotomist have trouble with my veins. And this one did. I thought she was going to have to try again when blood trickled into the first tube. But I relaxed and then it flowed. She got the second tube no trouble. And I was glad this wasn't one of the times when they needed six or seven vials.
I didn't think 3:00pm on Monday was ever going to come. The nurse checked my blood pressure and got 160/105. I laughed and told her it had been a lower in the morning when I checked it at home though not much. I was more than a little nervous.
Okay I can't hold it anymore or I'll burst!
MY LUNGS ARE THE CLEAREST THE ONCOLOGIST AS SEEN THEM SINCE WE STARTED THIS MESS TWO YEARS AGO. Still won't call it NED but scarring from radiation is healing. Potential spots are gone. Void is gone -- even the scar is gone. So I'm breaking out the shrimp and having a celebration feast. Next scan in 3 months. I'm done with these folks till September. Summer to celebrate!
Now I'm looking for running advice. My oncologist cleared me to start prepping to run a 5K race. Are there other things I should be doing. Training plans. Books you recommend I read? I've just listened to "Born to Run" so it sounds like barefoot is the way to go? Or do I have to go out spend a gazillion dollars on shoes? Scot in me is rebelling at the thought. What kind of surfaces should I be planning to run on? How do I warm up? I already have a daily stretching routine. Is that enough? I am so looking forward to runner's high! And no Evan we are not competing. I still don't know how or if I will compete. But part of the desire to run is pushing back against a disease that is stealing my ability to breathe.
Today I am claiming the strength in the Isiaih 40:31:
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
For all the sense of doom, God gives me fresh strength. Many people have said to me, "I don't know how you do all the things you do." I don't. God does.
Thank you for all who have stepped up to walk with me on this journey we call life.