Monday, October 27, 2008

The Dark Place

I made an unscheduled visit to the Dark Place yesterday, a place I hadn't been to in quite some time. Some of you know this gloomy territory all too well: extremely negative emotions are nurtured and amplified; fear, anger and resignation rule.

I woke up with aching muscles on top of the usual creaking joints, but otherwise felt okay. For some reason, my thoughts went running toward the door posted DANGER DO NOT ENTER. Enter I did.

I tried to recall what my symptoms had been when I was first diagnosed with leukemia, and then again when I relapsed. I never had any of the classic signs, just a vague sense that maybe things weren't 100%. Unfortunately, anything short of perfect health falls into this category.

Some serious digestive track issues suddenly hit me and jolted me out of my funk. The thought that a stomach virus of some sort could explain the aches and general malaise I was experiencing made me almost gleeful. Was this merely more fallout from last weekend's germfest? I liked this explanation, and grasped at it so tightly my hand cramped.

Another thing I liked: chatting with fellow veterans Dori and Ann. Dori's husband Jim called just as I was trying to rally myself for a trip to the supermarket. Jim authors the blog Run for Dori and recently participated in the Nike Women's Marathon for Team in Training. Dori had a transplant for AML one month after I did and knows well the hellish physical and mental paths traveled by leukemia patients. Later in the afternoon I spoke with Ann of Ann's Fight. She's coping with the challenges of transplant #2 and knows the Dark Place well. I was easily able to share my thoughts with her, and she pulled me back into a better place.

In my next life, I plan to be a dog. Dogs live in the moment and don't know from dark places.


Jim said...

I say "woof" to that. Enjoyed connecting, Patricia. Jim

Ronni Gordon said...

I think we're due for a phone chat!
This time of year makes us more susceptible to the Dark Place, I think. Glad you quickly found an explanation for your aches and pains.

** SAVE MICHELLE ** said...

Hi my name is Michelle and I found your site through Run for Dori which I found through Ann's site (it's funny how we are all connected). I am scheduled for a cord transplant on the 20th of Nov, but got some news that there are still blast cells in my cns. Luckily the docs say it hasn't turned into a total systemic relapse and they are going to do extra irradiation on it, but I've been knocking on that evil door. I totally know how you feel when you ask yourself what it first felt like right before you were diagnosed and then again when you relapsed. My first sign was a headache...
So everytime I have a persistent headache (quite often these days) a voice comes out to ask me that ugly question "is this what it feels like to relapse?" I wish the voice would go away and I try to ignore it, but I'm sure it's going to stick around forever. Hopefully it gets quite over time. Thanks again for this post. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Ann said...

I am so with you!