Lightly Sedated

26 Oct

Keep Calm

Earlier this week, I scheduled my upcoming needle biopsy. I was somewhat relieved to know that the radiologist believes he can get a sample this way, since the other way involves knocking me out and intubating me.  While reviewing the preparations for the procedure (fasting after midnight, stop taking aspirin and ibuprofen five days out, show up an hour early, etc.) I was informed by the scheduler that I would be lightly sedated during the procedure.  Hmmmmmmm, lightly sedated?  What does that mean, exactly?  My favorite form of light sedation is likely a margarita or two, fresh fruit (no mix), on the rocks, no salt.  Is that what they have in mind at the interventional radiology clinic?  Somehow I doubt it.

If you want to know the truth, I’ve spent the better part of this month “lightly sedated.” It may come as no surprise that being tested for cancer, and not having any definitive answers, yet, induces a lot of fear and anxiety.  I am able to work some of that our here in my blog, but the truth is that for the past few weeks I have been taking an Ativan a day.  One pill around the cocktail hour seems to keep me from freaking out for about 24 hours, so that’s good.  Some of my other efforts at light sedation include twice daily meditation, which I like a lot more than I thought I would, an occasional glass of wine, playing a video game that allows me to blast cancer cells away with an animated immune system, and work.  Yes, work.

This is a very busy time of year at the museum, always seems to be.  The school year is fully underway, we have a whole slate of important and popular public programs, we are preparing for next year’s exhibitions, and I am involved in a host of other short and long term projects. Being that busy is great!  It leaves very little time to ponder my future, which is still uncertain.  Equally important much of our work is advance planning, preparations for the future, and let’s face it, I am somewhat concerned about how much of a future I’ve got (though I am pretty hopeful).  And so in some way, all of this preparation for future exhibitions, programs, and other projects, is a kind of light sedation, a comforting agreement between me and myself that ignores any negative possibilities and fully assumes that I will be around to see these projects to fruition.

When I began writing this piece I thought I would conclude with a paragraph on how the whole experience of learning you may have cancer results in a kind of light sedation, a numbness that helps you accept your circumstance, but that’s bullshit.  I am frequently scared out of my mind!  They’re gonna stick a needle in my back on Monday, and since it’s in my chest, they’re not sure whether I’ll need one or four days to recover!  After that I have to wait over a week to find out what the biopsy says and where all this is headed, and then I am almost certainly going to have to take a cocktail of various poisons to whip this thing into submission.  The knowledge of having cancer doesn’t lightly sedate you, it compels you to find ways to lightly sedate yourself, to find a balance between an uneasy calm and gut-wrenching anxiety.  So I am thankful that they’re going to lightly sedate me for my biopsy.  Afterwards, I will continue with my own forms of light sedation until I have some sense of closure or completion.  I have no idea when that moment will arrive.  Stay tuned.




3 Responses to “Lightly Sedated”

  1. Erik Zenhausern October 31, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    Reading this I can’t help thinking about Cheech and Chong since you were the first one to “turn me on” to them. I remember sitting in your room listening to their albums when we were about 12 years old. I’m sure they’d have another way of being lightly sedated. “Good thing we didn’t step in it”.


  1. What do You Say to a Guy With Cancer? | Cancer: My New Adventure - October 31, 2013

    […] really freaked me out!  Even my daily efforts at light sedation (see my previous post, Lightly Sedated) were of little use.   Fortunately my biopsy went as planned (perhaps better) and I am back to […]

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