Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No chemo today

The day started off with the car not starting and the truck with a flat tire! I managed to get the tire inflated and drop Mike off at Circle of Friends but was late to chemo. Then I was told that chemo was postponed as the doctor was not available! I'm scheduled now for tomorrow morning. Probably a good thing because I'm sure my blood pressure was way high and I was over-anxious by that point. I went ahead and got my lab work out of the way while I was at the clinic. I also told the oncology staff that if the doctor isn't local and can't get in because of the storm, I'd be happy to 4-wheel it to get him to work. They laughed. Now, it's not that I want to do chemo but since it causes me so much anxiety, I just want to get it over with! Then I went off to work. Not a bad deal as it let me finish up the CDBG grant that is due Friday. I delivered it to the City this afternoon. That was a big anxiety reliever so the rest of the week should be smooth sailing as I won't have to figure out how to get the grant finished! Now all I'll have to do is "crash" after chemo.
I was wondering what effect the stress of chemo along with work stress might be having on me so, of course, I started researching it. I found this information in Cure magazine: According to the National Cancer Institute, psychological stress combines an individual’s emotional and physiological reactions when confronting a situation where the demands may exceed the person’s ability to cope. Simply put, the body is constantly bombarded by “stressors” of its external environment. It responds by releasing stress hormones, such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol (hydrocortisone) to help the body react to the stressful situation with speed and strength, while at the same time increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. While small amounts of stress are seen as beneficial, studies indicate that chronic high levels of stress could be harmful and increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and depression, among other illnesses. Stress beyond an individual’s ability to cope may also lead to unhealthy coping behaviors, some of which may affect cancer risk, such as overeating, smoking, or abusing drugs or alcohol. And newer studies indicate stress creates a cascade effect that promotes an inflammatory response in the body, which leads to a friendly environment for cancer. Again, it makes me wonder about the effect Mike's accident had on me.
Emory Winship Cancer Institute's Burke likens dealing with cancer stress to how an oak weathers a storm versus a palm tree. In a hurricane, the rigid oak may snap, but the palm bends with the squall. Learn to adapt, like the palm, to changing conditions to help you continuously manage stress, he says. He recommends reintroducing daily routines, having fun again, being productive at work, volunteering and being involved with family and friends. But most important, he says, give yourself a break and accept help from your support system. So, even though I have a terrible singing voice, I think we need a night out at a Karaoke bar! Who's with me?

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