I have had enough of anxiety. Tuesday was my third bone marrow biopsy, but instead of being calm and confident that it was not going to kill me, I was overwhelmed by intense feelings of dread as memories of the last two core drilling expeditions swelled to massive size in my consciousness. I repeatedly re-lived the sensation of a hole being punched into my hip and the gooey insides of my bone being sucked out: the first time as if in a disjointed, confusing dream; the second more akin to having some sort of cybernetic device installed in my hip and thigh. Sedatives added to the surreality and ultimately made the biopsies possible. I am typically quite pain tolerant, but the exception to the rule is nearly any medical procedure I am unable to watch. This makes me a nervous bone marrow biopsy patient and terrible in the dentist chair, but a champion at IVs, shots, stitches, and weird toenail surgery. Tuesday was spent in agonizing panic over the impending hole punch and the subsequent three weeks of a stiff- and painful goose egg on my hip while I waited for five hours in the chemo galley at the blood cancer clinic. Excuse me, in the infusion room at the center for hematological malignancies. My digestive health specialist does not like me to call him my "butt doctor" when I am secretly mad at having my tender parts poked, so I imagine the kind people at CHM have similar sensibilities. There was a bit of confusion as to the actual time of my appointment and whether or not there would also be chemo involved, so there I sat for five hours with my mother as we halfway chatted next to people attached at the PICC line to bags of fluids of all manner of color and viscosity. By the time I was on the table with the NP assuring me he was using the best equipment and had the best technique, my cortisol levels were certainly through the roof and every bit of my self was in full panic mode. Sedation didn't exactly take, and the new-and-improved biopsy method included some sort of drill that made a horrible sound unhelpful to one already inescapably on the edge. I felt the effects of the morphine and anti-anxiety drug kick in about one half-second before the marrow sucking was complete. Waiting in between administering sedation and beginning the procedure may have been helpful there.
The anxiety needs to be wrangled. The first step is to strive toward serenity and joy in my daily life. While that feels trite to say out loud, I recognize that I cannot heal well or move through discomfort if my emotional state is constantly heightened by conflict, fear, or frustration. I have an easy time finding good or beauty or humor in most situations, and I need to broaden that skill to include recognizing and expanding joyful moments and opportunities for quiet, peaceful thought.