This morning I had a PET scan to determine the status of my breast cancer. After an injection of a radioactive sugar I have to wait an hour for it to travel throughout my body. Since areas of increased activity require more energy/sugar, the scan will pick them up as active areas. Some areas are expected to be more active- lungs, for example. They ask me to try not to think, not to move. Elevator music plays. Try not thinking about anything- especially a new baby. It's nearly impossible. I hold my arms over my head. My body is scanned. After the scan, it takes about 24 hours for the radioactive material to clear my body, so I will not visit Olivia today. Mark knew that was going to be hard for me, so he thought it would be fun to take Natalie and Larissa on a short road trip to Duluth.
After weeks of sailing along on grateful winds, little by little my sails have become slack and empty. With my sense of direction suddenly beyond my reach, I drift along on waters, dark and turbulent. I am overwhelmed by a sadness I don't understand. A sadness out of sync with the obvious blessings in my life. I feel ungrateful and undeserving. My heart feels exposed and vulnerable. I am at the mercy of my emotions. My emotions are not merciful. Tears I cannot explain leak from my eyes and stream down my face. Not tears born of joy, of healing or of a heart touched and moved, but poison tears- existing only for themselves, unconnected and unconcerned. I become their vehicle. I feel sorry for myself. Annoying things- things I usually shrug off- move front and center. Minor irritations leap to fury and at times I am filled with a rage, both frightening and oddly exhilarating, as I ride the waves- lashing out at anyone who dares come near me.
I refused to go to Duluth. I yelled at Natalie and Larissa. For the first (and last) time in my life, I hit Mark. Shocked, he reacted and hit me back. Horrified at what we have become in an instant, he called people in his support system- his friend Corey- a priest, his brothers, Dr. Laudi, his mom, my mom. I escaped and went shopping. I let my calls go to voicemail. When I returned home, I went straight to bed and let the darkness cover me. What is done is done. I am left with regret. Things I said. Things I did. Things I didn't mean.
Call it the 'baby blues.'
Call it 'postpartum depression.'
Call it what you will- it feels like hell.