Scary Days On The Horizon

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be getting a Lumbar Puncture, and I’m a bit afraid. But not as afraid as I am for THURSDAY.

Thursday is the day I have been dreading ever since I read “Death Be No Proud” when I was about 12 years old. A girl never forgets her first Spinal Tap.

DBNP was a memoir by John Gunther, writing about his son’s brain tumor and death at age 17. I remember it was a very tough read, but the most daunting chapter was the Spinal Tap.

Things have improved dramatically since 1949, when (as one of my doctors joked) they used to do Spinal Taps with a can opener.

But I’m terrified. I’m terrified of the procedure, and I’m terrified of the Lumbar Puncture on Wed. I watched Gerry get both of them 12 years ago in his initial diagnosis up in St. Paul (at St. Paul Radiology, same folks who are doing MINE) and I saw how much the pain impacted him for DAYS after.

I also saw Gerry get second (and third and fourth) of each procedure at the Mayo, and how he barely felt anything because they choose to sedate for these procedures.

Since my admission to HealthEast/St. Johns I’d been ASSURED by the doctors I met that I could have both procedures done with very strong anesthetic. This has been a bit of a fight, and it’s clear that NO ONE is happy with me, but tomorrow I’ll be doing to a different facility within HeathEast to get the Spinal done on Thursday.

Tomorrow I’m back at Ol’ St. John’s for the Lumbar Puncture, terrified.

Bone pain is a scary thing for me. I have a hard time when anyone does anything to my TEETH (outside bones, per Kimmy Schmidt) and sometimes dentist visits have to be broken into TWO visits because – pain.

If I sound scattered, confused, I am.  It seems that NO ONE can clearly tell me what is a Spinal vs. a Lumbar Puncture vs. A Blood Patch, but I’m getting all three of them, over the next two days, and I wish I could be anywhere but here.

I’ll be visualizing the loveliest, longest, most beautiful warm-evening bike ride ever.  Or maybe a magical Winter evening ride, around the lake, with all my skin covered and twinkling lights strewn over my bike.

From the moment someone said, “Cancer.” I knew that these would be the scary days.  Damn I’m scared.

13 thoughts on “Scary Days On The Horizon

  1. If only everyone who cared about you could take on a tiny bit of this pain-to-come, you’d be 100% pain free. I wish we could.

  2. We are all surrounding you with a warm, fuzzy, wildly colored blanket of love, Annie. Being scared is *totally* acceptable and expected. Huge gentle hugs…..think your favorite ice cream!

  3. In my experience, a lumbar puncture and spinal tap are the same thing. Blood patch is so that you hopefully won’t get the dreaded “spinal headache” after it’s over. I’m sure that they’ll strongly suggest that you lie still for a number of hours after the procedure in order to avoid said headache, which, I’ve been told, can be worse than the actual procedure.

    In order to get my MS Dx, I was given a lumbar puncture. I thought it would be sorta like an epidural, two of which I had had during both childbirths, but it’s the opposite. Epidurals are pushing drugs IN to your body, and “spinal taps” are the reverse (pulling fluid out).

    I luckily had no ill after effects, and I’m wishing the same for you.

  4. NO ONE gets to be irritated with you for wanting no pain.
    I feel 100% the same. You could always offer to stay awake but craddle the balls of the administering doc in your hand and adjust the pressure commensurate with pain level experienced. heheheheheheh.

  5. I will be thinking of you today and going forward. Your openness and candor throughout this difficult time has been encouraging to me as I embark on my own, comparatively irrelevant, journey with papillary thyroid cancer.

    • OMG! That the phrase, “…as I embark on my own journey with papillary thyroid cancer.” could EVER be thought of as irrelevant is mind boggling. Best of luck to you, sweetie!

  6. I’m with you! I hate pain and I hate needles, both of which I have had to deal with frequently. All I can say is “bring on the drugs!” I insisted on Valium during the times when they wanted me awake.. I hope this week passes quickly for you.

  7. Thinking of you and sending the good juju. I had chemo via lumbar puncture 6 times during my bout with lymphoma (same type as you). Creepy. As. Hell. But, then … everything about cancer is creepy. (As you already well know.) Endure, Annie. Endure. XO

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