Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cancerland's Top 40 Hits

Sometimes my body reminds me in no uncertain terms that I live in Cancerland.

Today is one of those days.

When my cancer had the upper hand, before it was diagnosed (and even afterwards for many weeks), I felt different internally. I was not "sick" exactly, but not "well" either. At best, it felt as if there was a constant turmoil in my body. Was I coming down with the flu? Did I pick up a virus? At best, I constantly felt that a creepy-crawly prickling sensation both inside and out. (We won't discuss the worst days.)

When I first met Tim, my wonderful oncologist, and told him about it, he speculated that my body was trying to fight the cancer, much like it would any other infection, and I was feeling the fallout from the battle.

The first time after my stem cell transplants that I felt that internal battling sensation, I knew - just knew - that my cancer was back. It turns out it wasn't. So as soon as I stopped hyperventilating, I asked Tim why was I still feeling this way?

He said that there is evidence to suggest that when the body has undergone some major medical trauma such as a stroke or cancer, the physical trauma imprints itself in the memory. For unknown reasons, the body then randomly "replays" those physical memories and the occupant of the body feels the traumatic symptoms just as if they were happening all over again "for real."

Today is one of those days in which my body has decided to replay "Cancerland's All Time Greatest Hits." Like a radio alarm clock, it was playing bright and bouncy when I opened my eyes this morning. It's still going strong at the mid-morning mark.

It is annoying and a real drag, both physically and mentally.

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I am still around to listen to my internal DJ spin these tiresome tunes.

All the same, "we now return you to our regular programming" can't come soon enough.


Jackie said...

Good morning April! I'm sorry you're not feeling well and I hope some warmth and sunshine are heading your way and that you feel better real soon. BTW, I love the painting by your Dad.


Terri said...

My mother is a cancer survivor. She has never spoken of this to me, but I am curious about it now...I will ask her and be grateful I have the opportunity to.

Pray that this feeling passes soon.

Ellen said...

Being appreciative of those small moments of great reward, I'm sure you've learned ways to be kind to yourself and your body through these periods. I hope you have a great mug of comforting tea in front of you and plans for a long soak in a bubble bath today. I know how frustrating it is when our body tells us to slow down, but I am grateful that you know how to listen. Sending you healing thoughts that you feel yourself again soon.

Sharon said...

It's funny that I should be reading this post today. I just read an article about chronic pain, and the same analogy was used about your body remembering the pain.
I hope you feel better soon, and that this passes. Perhaps it's a bit of a wake-up call which is calling you to take it easy and rest. My thoughts are with you and I'm sending you big {hugs}!!!

underthebigbluesky said...

i cannot imagine. ghosts of whatever sort don't ever seem to be friendly reminders.

i think you are correct, trauma does stay with you.

i would probably panic at the feeling, but i hope you remember it as a triumph of all you've overcome.