Joining Heather today for the 67th installment of Just Write:
I lift my arms to enfold my youngest in a hug and pain ensues as the back of my arm tightens and pulls.
The tingling in my arm begins in earnest when I lay down at night to go to sleep. Its when I go to change the bandage over my wound that I notice the swelling under my arm. I slide my fingers across the rippled remnants of my mastectomy scar and I feel the hard ridge of the now walnut sized lymph node growing in the valley of my armpit. Its hard not to let the panic swell within. You'd think I'd be used to this. You'd think I could tell my mind to hush and not create a saga of worry and fear. But even when my mind stills, my heart thumps loudly and I grow shaky all over- my body betrays my mind time and again.
It must shine through my eyes at times. When my anti-anxiety meds are running low, I go to the pharmacy for a refill. Its been months since I've needed them other than for sleep at night.
With the convenience of Rick's office having been so close to the pharmacy, I have only picked up a refill on occasion. But the pharmacist recognizes me instantly. You're Vicky, she says. Yes, I say. How does she know me? Should I know her? The holes in my memory are like swiss cheese some days. A combination of chemo brain and radiation to the head with - oh yeah- shutting down my estrogen and I marvel that I know very much anymore at all.
The pharmacist quickly looks up my meds and states that I am out of refills on this prescription and she'll have to call the clinic. But somewhere my frayed nerves must show as she scans my eyes. Quickly and quietly she says- but I can give you a week's worth to get you by until the script can be filled. Calm embraces as I grip both the bottle and the key to my sanity locked away in the tiniest white pills.
I will see Dr. Panwalkar next Monday. I have a medium-sized appointment for a super sized list of questions for him. What if? How will? When? What will we do? As my panic rises, its grace that wraps me in an embrace again. He is on hospital service that week and the scheduler had to finagle a gap in his afternoon for me to be able to see him- but I will get to see him. I know, he will know the answers.
Fear embraces... and I don't have to embrace back. I lean in, with my arm taught and tingling, damaged and broken, and its Grace that I embrace. And I feel the full weight of Grace embracing me back.
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