Monday, September 23, 2013

Turbulence

When I was pregnant, I was nauseated constantly. Low-grade (when I was lucky), extreme (whenever I tried to get on some form of transportation), pop-up (when food was put in front of me or some woman on the elevator wore perfume). While my pregnancy was planned, I found myself seriously considering abortion at one point. I couldn't bear the inevitable, hair-trigger vomiting. Or moreover, the seeping, ever-present sick. (While I didn't take medication - though my sister had hyperemesis gravidarum and was medicated in both of her pregnancies; she couldn't drink water without throwing it up?! - I just muddled through. And by muddled through, I mean complained incessantly so that no one could stand to have a conversation with me and then had crying jags culminating in my throwing up.) Not surprisingly, I have but one child.

Sure, with the onset of the migraines, that nausea recurs (though more tolerably). I feel the echoes of pregnancy sickness. I avoid transportation and certain food. My old, daily stand-by, bacon, is of late, unappealing. Who doesn't want bacon, like constantly??

But I have to say, since I've been in NC - having an extreme family experience - I can't shake the nausea. Of course I'm dealing with a migraine (please, isn't that par for the course?), and I'm in cars all the time. But, Lord, this is hardcore. I don't think of myself as one of those delicate ladies who feels sick from stress and worry.

Maybe I feel sick from stress and worry? (Cuz I sure as hell am not pregnant.)

Part of me doesn't want to burden you with this - the journey of cancer recovery. It's not a fun topic. It doesn't come with photos (and thank your lucky stars for that). But the other part recognizes that it's the way I want to go through this - an experience which is both mine and not mine. I find meaning when I'm writing, as my brain seeks and finds the words.

So, sometimes, over the next while, I will write posts about how I feel about cancer - about managing the emotional minefield that is the illness (albeit temporary) of one's mother (the very wellspring of nurture and stability). If these posts are unappealing, fear not. There will be others in the vein of creativity and crafts. (And you know how I love to stress-shop.) I mean, y'all stuck with me through the depression-zone of pertussis (have I said thank you for that recently??), so I'm confident this will not throw us all over the edge.

Now, off to the doctor's office.

41 comments:

  1. Yikes. Sounds pretty awful! I feel low-level nasuea whenever I"m nervous, so I'd certainly buy that it's stress manifesting physically! Does Gravol or anything like that help settle things for a while?
    This Thanksgiving we're celebrating my father-in-law's successful chemo process - I hope you'll have some good news to celebrate too!

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    1. I should consider Gravol at this point... Yay for successful chemo. I'm so happy that you will have something so tangible to be thankful for at the dinner.

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  2. I'm a big fan of GinGins candies (I get them at the health food store here in London Ontario, so they should be easy to find in Toronto). I'm not pregnant - just frequently queasy!
    My son's babysitter has been sick all through her current pregnancy (only 21 more weeks to go!), and she says they have been helping a bit.
    We're going to Myrtle Beach with my FIL and his wife in October to celebrate the end of her first cycle of chemo and radiation. It'll be nice just to have everyone all together - we haven't been allowed to visit since my 7 year old is a little plague monkey.

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    1. I love those candies. I wish I had some here. Hmmm... And kids really do bring all the germs, don't they :-) I hope you have a wonderful time in Myrtle Beach. You know Porter flies there?

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    2. We were thinking about flying down instead of driving, but I have a G-tube (a feeding tube that goes into my abdomnial wall), and I've heard that some people have problems with US airport security. I have very little desire to take off my shirt and let somebody who hasn't washed their hands in who knows how long grope my tummy. :)

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    3. Lord - what is with that US security. I discovered, this time, that I am required to travel to America using my American passport, despite the fact that I am also Canadian. I didn't have both passports with me at the airport and I thought they were going to turn me back?! I totally appreciate your desire to avoid those germs - very smart lady.

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  3. I lived through your journey with my Dad six years ago. There are many of us out here who, unfortunately, will be able to relate to your cancer posts more than you know. No matter what anyone thinks they know or understands about cancer (because it is everywhere), you really don't "Get It" until grabs you by the you-know-what by invading your immediate family circle. Stay strong and do everything you have to do to nurture yourself while you do so for your mom. Not sure if you're a big reader but I do recall getting comfort out of a of books at the time: Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking, When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

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    1. I loved that book - which I read a few years ago - even though I knew I couldn't relate to it in the way certain others could. I have to re-read it. Thank you for the suggestion.

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  4. I truly feel for you. I'm so sorry you are dealing with a nausea-migraine mix while being in New York supporting your own mother. I'm sure it's challenging enough to deal with one of those things on its own...

    I have no words of wisdom or medical advice to offer. But I'll be hoping you & your mom recover quickly.

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    1. Thank you Liz. Positive vibes are their own kind of advice :-)

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  5. I am sending all my sympathy for your and your mom's current health. It is stress and worry. (When I was in graduate school I had a stomach ache for 6 years. I went back for a visit a year later and as I walked into the building where I did most of my work, I got the stomach ache back.) Please enjoy your mother and family as much as possible. Get fresh air. Continue to share your feelings. I went through cancer with my mother 20 years ago. You need all the support you can get.

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    1. That's fascinating about the stomach ache (and horrible, obvs). I do think it's stress. We are having as much enjoyment as possible, going out for dinner and sitting around chatting. xo

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  6. No easy words for what you're all going through, but writing often does provide clarity of thoughts and feelings -- write on!

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    1. Clarity is the word I couldn't find :-)

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  7. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I went home, I missed my period for the first time in my entire life and assumed I was pregnant. (There is a funny story about my mother's doctor, who had kindly run a pregnancy test while we were at the hospital for my mother's surgery) but I digress.) That is the only time I have missed my period and not been pregnant, so that was a pretty powerful manifestation of stress. I am now home for an indefinite time with my child who was injured in a terrible accident and while she has an excellent prognosis, I am manifesting all manner of physical issues which make me sure I myself am sick though I am not. Both of these experiences are very far from the stress as in "job-related stress" or anything which could be cognitively addressed; I consider them primal experiences and am not surprised to have these somatic responses.

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    1. Lord, I can imagine that would have been a crazy kind of surreal stress on top of stress. I am SO sorry to hear about your child, Margaret. I am giving you lots of love and prayers over the internet. I am so happy that her prognosis is excellent. But still, what terrible stress. xoxo

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  8. I'm a bit nausea-prone; it's draining to have that nagging feeling that all is not physically and/or emotionally right. Express yourself. We're listening. :-)

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    1. Thanks Clio! You know how I love to talk :-)

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  9. So sorry for the sadness of Mom's illness. For the nausea, have you tried the seasick patches, scopolamine? One behind the ear lasts for 3 days, and you may even feel better cutting one in half. Good luck!

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    1. No - I've never heard of those patches. Must do some research. Thank you Cherie.

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  10. When I went through extensive chemotherapy during my own breast cancer treatment, I learned that there are multiple sources of nausea in the body that can be treated by different types of anti-nausea medications. Since the type of chemo I had resulted in a lot of nausea, at certain points in the process I was taking three or four different kinds of anti-nausea meds. I don't know how this knowledge is going to help you, but it suggests to me that it's worth trying as many different solutions as you can find, one at a time and in combinations, to see what might address your specific situation. You certainly know this process from addressing the migraines. Keep trying, and don't give up!

    Elizabeth C., Massachusetts

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    1. Elizabeth: So sorry you had to go through chemo. Ugh. And also sorry that it caused that hideous nausea. I'm pretty sure that, when I get home - and I"m in my own space, a little bit separate from the challenge of this experience - I'll feel less queasy. It is the migraine that's complicating things. And the car. So it's a mega-hit of triggers. Be well!

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    2. Yes, I'm sure you will feel better when you get home. Sometimes cancer is harder than expected on family members, because you can't help as much as you want. Thanks for your kind wishes, I've been quite well ever since. I expect your mom will do well, and you too! Take care!

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    3. I'm so glad to hear that! I am optimistic that my mother will recover very well too. Just gotta get there :-)

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  11. Praying for your strength and well being.

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    1. Thank you Faye. I so appreciate your prayers. xo

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  12. I was very much a super sick pregnant woman with my first, so I know exactly what you mean. This time I felt sick, but without all the vomiting--I'm still on the fence as to which was worse...at least when I was vomiting I felt a bit better for a time...

    Anyway, you sound like you might have an ulcer. I had one when I was younger, so I don't remember all the gritty details, but some of this sounds familiar. They apparently come on when a person is extremely stressed. Hope you're feeling better soon, and I'm continuing to send positive vibes and such your way.

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    1. How long did the nausea last in your pregnancies? I had it for 7 months. Looking back, I really do not know how I got through it. I know it sounds dramatic, but freakin' hell, it was miserable. Interesting idea about the ulcer. My sister just had her gall bladder out in May, so she's on at me about making sure I don't have something going on. But I'm not a stomach-ache haver, as a general rule. Plus, I'm sick and tired of having things :-)

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    2. With my first I was still puking in the delivery room (I initially lost somewhere around 20 lbs, which I mostly gained back before delivering an 8 lb baby)...with this one, it lasted up until a month ago, though some things will still trigger it (perfume, onions, cabbage, anything sour/strong smelling). For the most part it's gone, but little bits of it still crop up. And yes, it's a traumatic experience that I feel practically requires drama. ;-) As you can probably imagine, I was rather reluctant to try again for more children. And no, this one wasn't planned, it was a complete surprise after being told that my childbearing days were basically over.

      I know what you mean about being tired of "having things". I feel like I'm at a new dr. every week because of all our "complications", and I'm very much not a fan. I'm also not a fan of medication--I refuse to have to take anything except a vitamin every day (and I'm not as good about taking those as I probably should be).

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    3. I puked in the delivery room too! Alas, I didn't lose any weight because all I could eat was fries and chips. (That boded well for my kid's intelligence level :-))

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    4. LOL! All I could eat (and even then it sometimes didn't work!) was flavored yogurt and string cheese. Not sure how healthy that was, but my kid seems pretty smart. Probably because of the whole 2 months I sorta succeeded at breastfeeding. Ha! ;-) I'm hoping for a higher success rate on that this time.

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    5. So tough! I hope you find some relief for migraine and nausea/vomiting. It's tough to take care of yourself while taking care of your mother and family, I know, but I hope you can find ways to do so. And if writing blogposts is one of the ways to care for yourself, I say bring 'em on. . . .

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    6. It has improved markedly since I returned home...

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  13. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. My mother died in 1998 of lung cancer and I was one of her caretakers as we lived only a few blocks away. Ironically, as her cancer emerged, my asthma took a serious downward spiral and we once ended up in the ER together. It was almost humourous when I could hear my father talking to the staff, asking if we could get a room together, Mom and I.

    Wishing you all the best, and my prayers are with you.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother! And I can't believe your story about sharing a room at the hospital. That's the kind of surreal I know you could have done without. xo

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  14. Oh sweetie. I can't even begin to understand how tough it is for you at the moment. Do write...it's a great outlet. Relaxing with your family seems a very wise move. Enjoy. Wishing you all better health. You're in our prayers.

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  15. Oh Kristin, there is so much on your plate right now. I think of you often and do hold you in my prayers, not that I'm terribly good at praying, but at least I remember once a week when reminded at church. Sending love and hugs your way. xoxo

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    1. Susan, you crack me up! Church is designed for you - keeps those prayers top of mind :-) Thank you for considering us. xo

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  16. I hope things are going well with your mom.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the stress is making your muscles tense up and that in turn is affecting your migraines/nausea. I find that my motion sickness gets worse when my upper shoulders/neck have been bothering me and am sure it is connected...

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    1. I think you're on to something :-) My neck and shoulders have been a DISASTER. But it's calming down, mercifully.

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