I go in for my first dose of Gilenya this Wednesday. It’ll be a full day in a clinic, mostly just sitting and being observed. There will be an ECG in the beginning, to double- check my overall cardio health, then the pill, then periodic checks throughout the next six or eight hours (I’m not sure if it’s six or eight yet- we’ll confirm that tomorrow), while we make sure my heart rate doesn’t drop too low, and another closing ECG, just to check things out again at the end. That’s the real major concern- that my heart either drops to an unacceptably low rate, or that it starts beating in some odd manner. There have been a few problems, of course- every drug has issues, because no med is perfect for everyone, and this is a Very Serious Medication- but I’m not worried about that, really.
I’m worried that I won’t pass muster.
Oh, folks, I’m so freaked out that I won’t pass. I’ve got the same sort of jitters I used to get the day before a major test: shaky hands, my brain can’t stay on any task, I’m a mess. I’ve got this weirdly low natural resting heart rate (about 55- 65, normally) and blood pressure (low nineties over about mid- sixties) and while I know this isn’t average, it’s always been my normal, and my doctors have told me it would serve me well in later life. I’ve never once been unhappy about being an athlete in my twenties (and having been blessed with really good genetics, thanks Dad!)… until now.
I didn’t think the shots were a big deal, really, until someone gave me another option. I just did them, and was grateful for them: thank you for my medication, I’d think, gritting my teeth when a shot didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you, you bitch, I’d think, and really, yes, some times I’ll inject and it burns like a mother for forty- five minutes afterward, and some times I’ll look down and have to be sure it’s really happening, that I did it right, because I don’t feel a damned thing. It’s bizarre.
I’m tired of having bruises all over my legs, my belly, my sides. I’m tired of all these sore lumps and bumps. I’m tired of all these places that I don’t want to have touched, because they are aching injection sites from a month ago. I’m tired of having hugs that hurt. I’m tired of looking for safe options to dispose of my biowaste. I’m tired of bloodspots on my clothes. I’m tired of lipoatrophy. I’m tired of the stupid refrigeration + travel issue, which is shouldn’t be an issue (I love you, ADA) but still is. I can’t imagine what this is like for diabetics: at least I can skip a shot without worrying that I might die.
Look: none of this is the end of the world. This is not life- ending stuff. These aren’t even Big Issue, Oh Damn sorts of things. These are just… the tiny little things. The small things that can creep, you know? If the small things can save us, some times they can also creep, too. They can pile up, pile on, become a bit much. These are all minor complaints that I can live with, but I’d so love to be free of: these creeping tiny differences that create pain, inconvenience and serve to remind me that my life is complicated in this very specific way.
I want to pass this first dose about as badly as I wanted to pass my FSI language Finals, if that gives an indication of my stress levels here: this is Finals levels of stress, and I can’t imagine anything I can do to help myself along. I can’t really cram to help my body accept a medication. There are no flashcards for this. No drills. Cacie suggested the stress alone should bring my heart rate up, and I hope she’s right, but what if it isn’t high enough? Even at a full blown panic, I don’t really get that high, and I don’t want to skew the actual test, right? The point is to make sure the medication is safe for me, no matter how badly I just plain WANT THE DAMN THING.
Even though holy cats, you guys, I JUST PLAIN WANT THE THING.
My freak- out, allow me show it to you.
I wish I was able to channel this energy into something productive. That happens sometimes: depending on the sort of anxiety I’m experiencing, I’ll have these huge creative and cleanliness pushes, where I’ll just DO ALL OF THE THINGS in order to burn off all my stress. Instead, I mindlessly knit on a stockinette shawl and stare into space, waiting for time to pass. It’s a bit like eating the hours: carefully masticating each minute, but tasting nothing.
I’m going force myself to do something productive tonight, damn it. Of course, I have no idea what the Something might be, but it’s going to be SOMETHING, even if it’s small. I can’t just waste my time like this.
Things I Can Do, Other Than Stare Into Space, Waiting For Time To Pass Before My Test:
- Work on that sample knit for the Beastie pattern I wrote (productive!)
- Re- block my secret gradient design (productive!)
- Make tiny paintings for Teresa’s new apartment (hooray, MESSY)
- Write letters (I owe several people some very overdue letters!)
- Meditate (this really is quite different than staring into space, I swear)
- Design more lace (this is a terrible idea, I’m far too distracted)
- Design colorwork (much better idea, I can pay attention to color)
- Make piles of clothes to give to Goodwill (potentially too depressing, I may not want to know how many of my clothes look like they are my Dad’s hand- me- downs)
- Work on my inversions (possibly too dangerous, I’m awfully distracted, but also FUN)
- Design a series of cat sweaters and photograph my cats ACTUALLY WEARING THEM (yes yes yes, this is a thing that will happen)
- Spend hours desultorily scrolling through pictures of other peoples’ knitting on Tumblr (far more likely to occur than anything on this list)
Oh, crap. I mean, I should probably just cast on for a cat sweater, at least. I think the image of one of my cats hatefacing the hell out of me is at least amusing enough to keep me doing something, which is so much better than doing nothing, and that’s what I’ve been doing— being paralyzed by stress and worry.
There’s nothing I can do— and apparently, when faced with a situation in which I am overwhelmed with worry and there is nothing at all that I can do about it, I am the kind of woman who makes cat sweaters. I’m just going to let that stand and go with it for now. Cat sweaters it is, then.