We recently discussed my newest additions, depression and anxiety, and today I’d like to elaborate on the latter. In the last week or so I’ve had two separate experiences with this bulbous, suffocating monster that I’m hoping will bring some joy to your Friday.
Our first adventure takes us to the scary city of Dallas to visit the doctor who placed my port. I knew what to expect, we’ve been down this road before, remember? But anxiety has the ability to throw out common sense and logical thinking and replace it with straight up terror. Prior to this appointment, I had gotten myself worked up to the point that Paula the port was invading the city of Hico and feasting on small children – only in my dreams, of course. The anxiety was manifesting itself and depriving me of sleep. Much like the building of anticipation when hearing the clicks of the roller coaster on the first hill, I had two hours of car time to let my anxiety run rampant and declare itself Czar over me.
We arrive at the hospital after a few wrong turns and about an hour early, giving this anxiety of mine even more room to destroy. We get checked in, meet the crazy lady in the waiting area, and Mom heads off to Starbucks. At this point, I’m closer to causing a scene than relaxed so I’m fiddling with everything I can to keep from joining the crazy lady on her own adventure. Crazy attracts crazy.
They call us back and it’s immediately like the curtain going up on a performance you never rehearsed. It was so hot in that room, on top of my normal furnace temperature, and that only fueled the anxiety. She explained that my incision was vertical which is easier to hide, rather than the usual horizontal, and that because of this she needed a second person to hold me open while the port was being removed. Here is where we start our final descent into insanity. I was thinking about my breakfast burrito and what I had for dinner last night. I was thinking about all those poor children Paula the port had devoured. I was convinced that the port was going to be covered in a big ball of snot and infection. All of this stress, worry, anxiety came to a head as soon as she started numbing me. This is how it ends, goodbye my friends.
I think it’s important that we stop here and I’ll let you in on a Sunny fun fact. Every person that has ever seen the Home Alone movies has anticipated the moment in their life when something so exciting happens that you faint. Probably not immediately after screaming KEVIN, but some situation that is so fantastical that you lose consciousness. I’ve had enough of said situations in my 33 years to know that I’m not the damsel in distress, falling to the ground daintily with my hand over my forehead. Nope, my friends, I’m the kind of damsel that turns ghost white, blacks out, and vomits. First time we changed my earrings? Vomit. Faceplant in NOLA and biker buds stood me up too fast? Vomit. First time I got stitches and again when they cut them out? Vomit. You get the point I’m making.
So we’re standing at the very top of Mount Anxiety and the numbing threw me off the cliff. It was like my anxiety about the procedure had turned me into a balloon and when the needle pierced my skin I just popped. Now it was really, really hot in the room but my face was freezing. Because there was a stitch holding the port in place she had to get the numbing up under it. Yay! Always one for exaggeration and theatrics, I start my descent into chaos by threatening vomit, demanding water, and turning a deathly shade of white. Luckily Mom was there to under sensationalize my performance and bring me back to my “deportation” – Mah’s got jokes. The rest of the procedure was easy. After a week I’m still bruised and tender but healing well. And the best part is that I got to keep her. Everyone meet Paula.
As an update, I’m no longer taking Radicava. The episodes I was experiencing from port access were too bad to continue. Never was it an issue with the medication, just in how I was getting it.
Our next anxiety riddled adventure takes us to my favorite kind of social setting: a concert. Here we have the added pressures of socializing and wearing clothes that aren’t jammies. I’ve always preferred a room full of people to one on one, and I’m always ready to go, be somewhere, do something. As of late, thanks to our anxiety friend, those attributes that made me comfortably myself, are now the size of Everest and I’m huffin and puffin at base camp. Thankfully my friend Leslie cuts me zero slack and got me dressed and out the door.
I think what’s hard is being out of practice from life as I once knew it. This was my first concert with Sallie the rollator and though it’s 100% self inflicted, my feelings of inadequacy and inability only fuel the anxiety train. I spend the majority of my time alone or in small groups, so being in a venue with loud music and many bodies made me more aware of my uncomfortableness. Turns out, almost all of this self pity and worry could be solved with a bacon cheeseburger, salty fries, and a beer.
Moral of the story: anxiety is real. I’m thankful that my need for socializing trumps my crippling fear and isolation. ALS takes so many things from me, but I’m holding tight to this part of myself. So the concert was two fun friends I was lucky to acquire in college and they are pretty great. See their links below and if you get a chance to see a show, introduce yourself and tell them Sunny sent you.