Other Patients Teach Me About Perspective

17 Aug

The past seven weeks have been tough.  I’m not typically a complainer {at least I don’t think I am!}, but the list of pains and issues that are have been bothering me the past two months is growing . . . and wearing me down physically and mentally.  Truthfully, I feel worse over-all now than I did most of the time I was going through my primary treatment.  If I haven’t been complaining verbally, I’ve been complaining a ton in my thoughts.

I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself the past few days.  After almost two months of constant pain of varying degrees, I’m desperate for relief.  I’m also having hot flashes that wake me up several times each night {which is quite amazing considering I am usually a rock hard sleeper}, a dull ache on the lower left side of my back, and fatigue, plus some other little issues – but those are all minor compared to the headaches & neck pain.

So I prepared my list of symptoms for Dr. D (ranked in order of frequency and severity {grin}).  I really wanted him to understand how icky I feel.  Because no one feels as icky as I do.  {Yeah, right!}

On treatment days, we get to spend a little time in the lobby waiting for labs, waiting to see Dr. D, and then waiting to be called for treatment.  Yeah, we do a lot of waiting.  Today, as God would have it, I saw the following while we sat there:

  • A precious elderly man shuffling in with a walker in front of him and dragging his left leg beside him because he could barely pick it up.
  • A thin, frail, middle-aged woman with pale skin, looking tired and wearing her pink cap and pink pajamas.
  • A man arriving for his first day of chemotherapy, looking a little unsure of what to do and probably wondering how he got to this place.
  • Another older gentleman who asked the nurses repeatedly how long his treatment would take.  We learned that he has a recurrence of cancer AND has recently been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s.

And I have the nerve to complain!  I was possibly {likely} the healthiest patient in the room!  All it takes is a little dose of perspective to change how you view your current situation.  There is ALWAYS someone struggling more, facing greater challenges, and dealing with more pain than me.  Always.

I did review all my “issues” with Dr. D and we talked at length about options, things we can do, things to consider, and possible next steps.  First, I’ll have the C-spine MRI on Monday and we’ll go from there.  He’s not super concerned about the low back pain yet.  I had a good scan in June and I’ll have another one in October.  If the pain gets worse or I develop other symptoms, we might do one sooner.

As for the hot flashes, well, I can thank Treanda {one of my first chemo drugs} for those.  Funny, as I sit here typing this, I just got one!  So not fun.  :)  I have a couple of options for dealing with them, but my priority right now is getting the headaches and neck pain under control.

And that’s it for now.  I’m going to go chill out and think about all the good things in my life, because there are many

♥ Rachel

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10 Responses to “Other Patients Teach Me About Perspective”

  1. Dolly August 17, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Thanks for the update. Complainer – You are not !

    • rachturner August 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      No, Dolly, YOU are not a complainer. :)

  2. mainelyhopeful August 17, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Feel better!

  3. chargaile (Charlotte Askew) August 17, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Rachael, you are not a complainer, you are just expressing your pain and feelings. My husband recently had chemo and he too dealt with the hot flashes, not good for a man. You are doing a wise thing in recognizing that there is almost always, someone in worse shape than you. It acutally has the ability to give you hope and make you feel a little better. Even in our worst condition, there is still someone worse than we are. As long as we have God with us, we are blessed. I hope you feel much better real soon. Thanks for sharing you life and journey with us subscribers.

    • rachturner August 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Charlotte – Thanks so much for your comments an encouragement! Hope your husband is doing well.

  4. Jennifer August 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    The fact that you are able and willing to see other people in pain is amazing! How many other people in that room were consumed with their “sore feet” and missed the opportunity for perspective on their own situation. It is a testament to the person you are and how you have let God play a big part in your life that you are able to see these things. And yes, being in constant unrelenting pain is NOT easy – it is much harder than one or two days of feeling really bad. Remember that are bodies are incredible machines. You body is telling you that you need more or less of something, e.g. Water for your kidneys (wish it was that easy). Listen to your body and make the doctors hear it too.

    I love you so much and am so incredibly proud of you.
    Jennifer

  5. Claudia Schmidt August 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Rachel,
    I’m so sorry to hear how lousy you’ve been feeling. I also wanted to tell you about black cohosh which seems to help with hot flashes. I’m ER positive so my oncologist said I couldn’t take soy, but could take cohosh. I found this stuff called Remifemin which helped me with the hot flashes I get from Tamoxifen.

    Hang in there, you have a wonderful attitude and I hope you feel better soon.

    • rachturner August 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Thanks for the info on black cohosh, Claudia. I’ll talk to my doc about it.

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