on Gilenya and passing time through the power of cat sweaters

Gilenya, I want to take you home with me. I know it isn't my best line, but won't you be my best girl, anyway?

Gilenya, I want to take you home with me. I know it isn’t my best line, but won’t you be my best girl anyway?

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.

  One thought on “on Gilenya and passing time through the power of cat sweaters

  1. July 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Download Blendoku, if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised at how the hours just … slip by …

    Sending you ALL the hugs!

    • July 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Off to find this! Thanks for the idea! ❤

  2. July 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Big hugs, without touching any ouchy parts.
    How about some Candy Crush Saga (I gave up at level 64 or so…) or of course there is the good ole favorite, Angry Birds. (Hmm.. Do I have destructive tendencies??)

    …or how about testing to see how loud you can scream? That’s my favorite. Works best in the middle of nowhere.

    Seriously, I hope this works out!

    • July 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Oh, I have a no- Candy Crush policy after watching too many friends want to break devices over that game! But I can get behind Angry Birds- and scream therapy. 🙂

  3. July 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    All the best to you. I can trade you my rapid heart rate for your slow one! 🙂 Have you tried 7 Wonders? http://www.amazon.com/7-Wonders-Magical-Mystery-Tour/

    • July 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Oh, I wish we could trade half of each and meet in the middle! That would be pretty awesome. And thank so much for the recommendation!

      • July 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

        Your welcome! There is an alien one too. Sorry I messed up the link though. 😦

  4. Analiese
    July 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Here’s to hoping that it works for you and wishing only the best because you are the best and I love you

    • July 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Oh, Analiese, you’re the sweetest! I’ll see you in October, right?

  5. Analiese
    July 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I am so looking forward to spending 3 days with you

  6. July 30, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Cat sweaters! I was a volunteer with the Calgary Stampede this year, and the Western Heritage Showcase had some incredibly amazing things entered. One of these was an intarsia cat sweater. Someone knit their cat a sweater, with a wild rose on the back. I made a solemn vow to design a fair isle tiger or jaguar or leopard cat sweater.
    Hugs and mojo, Sarah.

    • July 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

      A leopard sweater for my cat. Oh. My. God. Or- obviously- tiger stripes. While far too much work for any sane person, this is exactly the project *I* need right about now, and oh, THE HILARITY. You’re brilliant!

      • July 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        Sanity is over-rated. Maybe cat-sweaters are too… but there’s only one way to find out! CAST ON! My question is this: rainbow tiger? or the traditional orange and black?

  7. July 31, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Very Interesting! Thanks

  8. July 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I like the tiny paintings idea!!! ❤

    haven't figured out where to put the first batch yet.
    but that's because i haven't figured out where to put ANYTHING yet. lol ❤ ❤ ❤

    • August 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I have WAY BETTER tiny paintings waiting for you now. WAY BETTER ONES. FOR YOU.

  9. August 6, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Very Interesting! It isn’t easy to find quality stuff.

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