Image: svanes via flickr

Image: svanes via flickr

I’m experiencing something I’ve never before experienced with my novel-in-progress: anxiety.

We’re talking major butterflies. I seriously feel like I want to throw-up. (FYI: It usually takes a lot to make me feel like this.)

My favorite/current writing instructor, plus a couple of my workshop mates, has just posted comments on the novel pages I submitted for workshop this week. And I can’t bring myself to open the files with the comments to see what they had to say. The thought of doing so makes me want to back away from my computer and hide in the closet. (more…)

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Yesterday was a bad day.

Leo had his first appointment with the oncologist to discuss treatment for his mast cell tumor. She outlined the tests & chemo treatment plan she recommends. As far as tests: she wants to do an ultrasound to check to see if the cancer has spread to his liver or spleen; then aspirate (stick a needle in & suck out some cells) two lumps to see if they are just fat or the cancer; and then do a bone marrow tap to see if the cancer has spread there. For the chemo, he’ll have IV therapy once a week for 4 weeks; then he’ll go every 2 weeks for five months with a mixture of IV and oral meds. All in all it’s a 6 month protocol. She essentially said we’re looking at 6 months to a year. I choose to focus on the year. Keep in mind that he’s still perfectly himself.

Anyways, so I got all this information in about 10 minutes. Then I had the costs for the next 6 months of care thrown at me. Cancer care for dogs is not cheap. They wanted to do the tests & start his first chemo session that day. It was just too much at once & I started feeling really anxious. Luckily I had called my brother to discuss what was said (Leo afterall is both of ours) while they were getting stuff together. He noticed I seemed really stressed. He recommended that I ask if I could bring him back to start everything. I’m glad I did ask. I don’t think I would have thought to do it if I hadn’t been told to. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Getting out of there when I did with Leo probably saved me from having a full blown panic/anxiety attack. I could just feel myself getting amped up the longer I was there. And being in the exam room with closed doors did not help me.

I think one of the key factors in why I started feeling overwhelmed yesterday was my mother. Being there on my own with Leo just hit me over the head again & again with the simple fact that she wasn’t there. With all the family dogs, my mother always took the lead with their healthcare. We’ve had dogs with serious illnesses before; & while their care was a family decision, she was there to make the final decisions. And there I was doing this all on my own for the first time. So it was her not being there & then having to make all these decisions. Not that the decisions were hard. I’m going with all the doctor’s recommendations & I’m going ahead with treatment. But it was just way too much at once. Really, doctor’s should spread this stuff out. This really just should have been a consultation appointment & then testing & treatment would start another day.

I understand that in delaying treatment for another week risks having the cancer spread further. And I know we’re supposedly playing with a one-month life expectancy without treatment. But, I’ve never really believed that one-month life expectancy crap, & I’m convinced that he’s fine today, he’ll be fine next Wednesday when we go back. Yesterday was just not the day to start all this.

It took me until about 7 last night to finally calm down, but still I felt scattered. I feel better today & I know I did the right thing for both of us, me & Leo, in getting us out of there yesterday. A benefit of starting all this next week is that my brother will be home from school for the holidays & he can help me with everything & be there to keep me from climbing the walls. Always a good thing. Yesterday just really made me realize there are things I can’t do on my own & for future reference, I have to have someone there with me. So, lesson learned.

As the day dragged on, my anxiety level has definitely amped up. I’m completely positive that Leo’s surgery is going to go fine tomorrow, but still…. It’s surgery & it’s not like I can really explain to him that I’m doing this to help him & that he’ll be fine–even though I keep doing exactly that. I just want tomorrow to go as quickly as possible & get him home.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my chances of winning NaNoWriMo this year are quickly dwindling. And I’m okay with it. I thought doing NaNo would be a great distraction & return to normalcy, but I don’t think I’m ready. Throw in everything that’s been going on with Leo & I’m amazed I’ve even gotten 7,500 words in. I’m happy with the direction I’ve taken with the rewrite, but the reality is I can’t rush it if I want to do it right; & doing it right is going to take vast amounts of focus & concentration that I just don’t have right now. So, I’m letting myself off the hook. I will keep working on it. I still want to get draft #2 done (hopefully by the end of the year) and will continue to work on it. But, I’m going to be a little more lenient with myself & be ok with not being ready to dive in completely.

Image: Magitisa via flickr