Good Morning. It’s MRI day here in PookaLand. On the approach to my annual MRI and quarterly blood suck with visit to Dr. Oncology Man, the vibe around here definitely gets a bit wonky. As in deep breathing verging on hyperventilating, and the brain power of a newt. The last few days have seriously been well, serious.
The dialog inside my head goes something like this:
“WOw. WoW. wOw. Whoa I feel pretty Anxious.”
“Okay.” “ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok”
“Lets do some breathing.”
“Or maybe not.”
“Maybe this is a premonition for a big earthquake?”
“Okay, ok ok ok ok ok ok ok”
“I need to get ahold of my self. I mean really, what do I have to feel this anxious about?”
Enter the scene with Wile E. Coyote constructing a giant electromagnet. See every metal object up to and including the Eiffel Tower being drawn to said magnet like a black hole opened up in Roadrunner Land.
Now imagine that everything I could possibly be anxious about comes crashing into my brain in the exact same way.
“Okay.” “ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok”
Enter a sequence of self flagellation comments to self on how I need to just get ahold of my self. Right. Now.
I KNOW these feelings are definitely out of proportion. Clue: Knowing that does not help.
Meanwhile my belly is in knots. Meanwhile if someone asks me in a friendly tone, “How are you doing?’ it is like a getting slapped in the face. Like “Well in the big picture I am fine, but in the microcosm I am a big freakin freaked out ball of anxiety bordering on panic, for no “good ” reason.” This is the cancering Tourettes that I spoke of in the title. Even though the very LAST thing I want to talk about with acquaintances is that I am feeling anxious with a side dish of shame for feeling anxious – it comes blurting out. In “safe” places like say work, or the dish pit at the Scorcher, or the grocery store. Because who doesn’t want to reveal their underbelly to people in public places? That is just the sort of behavior that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Right? Right???
The rational side of me pretty much sucks right now. “I’m just going in for a routine check up.” it says “Yes it is in oncology land. But it is just a check up. There is no reason to worry that I am in the midst of an expansion of my cancering capacity.” Logic pretty much has zero useful input in this situation.
Walking home yesterday was less restful than usual as rather than having a series of sweet interactions with birds, I was a walking wave of angst – sending birds off their perches in explosive squawking flight. Heron, my Patron Saint of Mindfulness, made a particularly spectacular loud awkward take off from a branch about 10 feet above my head. If you have never been that close to a heron on take off, all while it is making really loud Pterodactyl sounds, believe me it makes you stop and take notice.
It actually helped me to stop and actually breath. Which worked for about 100 yards of calmishness actually.
Yesterday was pretty much all about anxiety. Well, today too for that matter.
Last evening I hung out with my friend Miranda, who is a goddess for many reasons too numerous to name. She is also the most knowledgeable person I know about all things anxious. She is reading this really great book on trauma right now that I am trying to get my nerve up to read myself. She related a fact from it that those of us with high ACE scores probably have brains that are hot-wired for anxiety. The only way to deal with it is to rewire. Not so useful in the short term, but a good dose of hope for the future. I actually think that all my attempts at a mindfulness practice have had impact, and are actually helping me rewire. At least I know what this is now, and able to observe that this whole mess is anxiety and not the total reality. (Whatever total reality means.)
Knowing these things, does not prevent anxiety from coming up. Sometimes even a good dog can’t hold it in any longer. (A reference from perhaps the best children’s book ever, Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn.)
This morning Joe and I travel to PDX for the scan and the blood draw. We go back there on Monday to talk to Dr. Anderson about the results. (All Normal, Right???”) Until then I will do the best I can with the way my brain is currently hot wired for anxiety. Today while in the belly of the big huge MRI beast, lying face down my one breast hanging free, I will think of Heron.
One good thing is that I am tweaked out enough that if I get the sadistic phlebotomist at St. Vincent – the one who I had last time, who caused me A LOT of pain, and showed ZERO empathy – I am fully prepared to refuse to be touched by her. (Enter visions of Jack in a straight jacket, struggling vigorously and cackling maniacally.)
Sometimes self care takes surprising forms.
It is neither good nor bad, it just is. Next week I will get started on more brain rewiring. Right now I will just get through this. Despite the full scale freakout nature of anxiety I do know that I am basically okay.
Disclaimer: If you have never been anxious, and you are having judge-y thoughts about me right now, well lucky you. f-off.
Okay. OK OK OK OK OK OK