Difference between Anxiety and Depression


It was very presumptuous of me to actually think I could write a series on depression. The more I research the subject the more I realise that it is not for hacks (like myself) to blog about. It is a very difficult and complex issue. So I shall only share my own notes with you.

Please note I am NOT a doctor or a psychiatrist or psychologist…I have no training or expertise. Just my own notes. I am sharing because it is so fascinating!

Anxiety and depression have been called first cousins…

Whilst there is a lot of commonality between the two – they are separate conditions that requires different treatment! Furthermore,the symptoms often overlap, and one can suffer from GAD and depression at the same time!

People suffering from anxiety often find themselves feeling like something bad might happen and they’re worried it will. People suffering from depression often assume a bad future and don’t expect anything else or think there’s anything worth preventing.

The term “anxiety disorder” refers to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) which is a condition that describes a situation when a person experiences stress for no particular reason. GAD patients worry excessively, uncontrollably, and irrationally about normal situations to the extent that they have trouble functioning because of their fears about money, death, family, relationships, and work. People with GAD might feel tired, fidget, have constant headaches, feel nauseous, and have pain all over the body. Other symptoms of GAD include trouble swallowing, rashes, hot flashes, and problems breathing. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be as disturbing as the emotion itself.

A powerful anxiety attack will cause moments of intense fear. During a panic attack one may experience increased muscle tension and rigidity, an accelerated heart rate or palpitations, light-headedness, chest pain, shortness of breath, a dry mouth, trembling, sweating and clammy hands, a queasy stomach, nausea, and perhaps even diarrhoea. A panic attack might occur in response to a particular situation or for no reason at all.

My BFF Marlene, who died of a heart attack in 2011 suffered from panic attacks. She feared the panic attacks themselves, as they were overwhelming and unpredictable. The first couple of times she thought she had a heart problem (which she did). Her fear compounded the attacks. Her anxiety manifested itself through pronounced restlessness (restless legs), fidgeting, clenching her hands and grinding her teeth.

There is a free anxiety test that can help. It is possible to have a combinations of both. This is called a “comorbid” condition. Symptoms may overlap as both share similar causes, issues, etc.

Depression can occur after someone experiences anxiety, because someone who deals with severe anxiety may end up feeling drained and hopeless once their anxiety or anxiety attack is over. Similarly, those with depression can still fear certain things getting worse, despite already being of the belief that the future is less positive or bright.

Although the physical symptoms between anxiety and depression can be very different there are similarities. Both anxiety and depression can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. But in the case of anxiety, the intense fatigue usually occurs after intense anxiety, while with depression it tends to be more constant, without necessarily any triggers.

Depression tends to have fewer physical symptoms, but the mental symptoms can be so dangerous (especially the potential for suicidal thoughts) and the lack of energy so pronounced that many people with depression deal with intense struggles daily that certainly rival the symptoms of anxiety.

I found an excellent article that reads easily.

Recovery Guide
to Anxiety Disorders

Getting rid of anxiety disorders isn’t the same as taking out the trash. If you take your trash out to the curb, it’s gone forever, and won’t come back. But when you try to dispose of chronic anxiety, you often find that this task is more like the child’s game, “Whack a Mole“, than it’s like taking out the trash. Each time you hit a mole, more moles pop up. Every effort that you make to fight against anxiety, invites more of it.

So you need to be able to work smart, not hard, to overcome anxiety disorders. This guide will help you do that.

The Anxiety Trick

The fears, phobias, and worry that you experience with chronic anxiety disorders often seem “irrational”, and difficult to overcome. That’s because there is a “Trick” to chronic anxiety problems. Have you ever wondered why fears and phobias seem like such difficult problems to solve? The reason is that chronic fears literally trick you into thinking and acting in ways that make the problem more chronic. You can’t learn to float through anxiety disorders if you don’t understand the Anxiety Trick.

The outcome of the Anxiety Trick is that people get fooled into trying to solve their anxiety problems with methods that can only make them worse. They get fooled into “putting out fires with gasoline”.

The Key Fears

There are six principal anxiety disorders. The fears are different, but each one relies on the same Anxiety Trick, and draws upon the same kinds of anxiety symptoms.

And in each case, the person tries to extinguish the fears by responding in ways that actually make the problem worse and more chronic. Here are the key fears, and typical responses, of the six main anxiety disorders.

Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

A person with Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia fears that a panic attack will disable him in some way – kill him, make him crazy, make him faint, and so on. In response, he often goes to great lengths to protect himself from a panic attack, by avoiding ordinary activities and locations; by carrying objects, like water bottles and cell phones, that he hopes will protect him; by trying to distract himself from the subject of panic; and numerous other strategies will ultimately make the problem more persistent and severe, rather than less.

The fear of driving is often a part of panic disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder (or Social Phobia)

A person with Social Phobia fears becoming so visibly and unreasonably afraid in front of other people that they will judge her as a weak, inadequate person, and no longer associate with her. In response, she often goes to great lengths to avoid social experiences, hoping that this avoidance will save her from embarrassment and public humiliation. However, her avoidance of social situations leads her to become more, rather than less, fearful of them, and also leads to social isolation.

The fear of public speaking, and the broader fear of stage fright are considered to be specific instances of Social Phobia.

Specific Phobia

Specific Phobia is a pattern of excessive fear of some ordinary object, situation, or activity. A person with a fear of dogs, for instance, may fear that a dog will attack him; or he may be afraid that he will “lose his mind”, or run into heavy traffic, on encountering a dog.

People with phobias usually try to avoid what they fear. Unfortunately, this often creates greater problems for them. Not only do they continue to fear the object, but the avoidance restricts their freedom to enjoy life as they would see fit.

A specific phobia is usually distinguished from Panic Disorder by its narrow focus. A person with a fear of flying who has no fear of other enclosed spaces would likely be considered to have a specific phobia. A person who fears airplanes, elevators, tunnels, and bridges is usually considered to have Panic Disorder or claustrophobia. However, the fear of public speaking is usually considered to be a part of Social Phobia.

A person with a Blood Phobia may fear a variety of situations, but they all involve the prospect of seeing blood. A person with a fear of vomiting (either fearing that they will vomit, or that that they’ll see someone else vomit) would be considered to have Emetophobia. The official definitions of some of these disorders will change in 2013, so don’t get preoccupied with the label.

Whether you have one or multiple phobias, these are very treatable conditions.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder experiences intrusive, unwelcome thoughts (called obsessions) which are so persistent and upsetting that he fears the thoughts might not stop.

In response, he tries to stop having those thoughts with a variety of efforts (called compulsions). Unfortunately, the compulsions usually become a severe, upsetting problem themselves.

For example, a man may have obsessive thoughts that he might pass swine flu on to his children, even though he doesn’t have the flu himself, and wash his hands repetitively in an effort to get rid of that thought. Or a woman may have obsessive thoughts that she left the garage door open, and repeatedly check the garage all night in an effort to stop thinking that. Not only do these efforts fail to rid the person of the unwelcome thoughts, they become a new form of torment in that person’s life.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder worries repeatedly and continually about a wide variety of possible problems, and becomes so consumed by worry that she fears the worry will eventually kill her or drive her to a “nervous breakdown”. In response, she often tries a wide variety of “thought control” methods she hopes will enable her to “stop thinking about it.” Distraction is one such effort. Unfortunately, the effort to stop thinking about it actually makes the worrisome thoughts more persistent.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A person who has witnessed or experienced some dangerous or life threatening event (a shooting or a car crash) fears that the subsequent thoughts and powerful reminders of that event will lead to a loss of control or mental illness. The powerful symptoms of fear and upset a person experiences when recalling a terrible event are reactions to that event. However, the person gets tricked into responding to these reactions as if they were warnings of an upcoming danger, rather than reminders of a past one.

And Depression, too?

It’s very common for people to experience depression in response to the way anxiety disorders have disrupted their lives. Less frequently, sometimes people experienced a strong depression before the anxiety set in, and this is a different kind of problem. Either way, depressive symptoms need to be addressed in recovery, so it’s useful to know something about how depression and anxiety disorders are related. http://www.anxietycoach.com/anxietydisorders.html

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201005/anxiety-and-depression

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-test/

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/anxiety/gad.html

http://www.anxietycoach.com/anxiety-and-depression.html

https://theconversation.com/telling-the-difference-between-depression-and-anxiety-disorders-1901

http://www.symptomfind.com/search.php?q=treatment+for+generalized+anxiety+disorder

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm

Caregiver Isolation


Alberton-20120625-00559It happened without warning…

In 2002 I was on top of the world.  My career was at an all-time high, financially we were secure and I LOVED my job.  I was able to work long hours and spend time with my friends.  I was on 9 Church Committee’s and very involved with community work in the poor areas.

Then it happened…Vic had her blotched back surgery and our lives changed forever.  I spent 22 days in the waiting room outside the Intensive Care Unit.  My life ground to a halt.

We moved into a downward spiral of hospitals, doctor visits, x-rays, scans, 81 abdominal surgeries, pain, open wounds, hospital bugs, sepsis and wound dressings.  I felt over-whelmed and out of control.  Doctors and nurses prodding and touching my child.  To them she was a commodity.  But, to me, she was my life.

Slowly but surely my life changed…  I became fixated with finding a “solution” to my child’s devastating health problems.  After all, I am a Baby Boomer.  We don’t accept bad situations.  We find solutions.  We sort out problems.  I refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis as I did when she was a little girl.  I was told that Vic would not live to the age of 12 when she was diagnosed as a toddler…  I refused to accept it.  Vic not only outlived the prognosis but lived to complete school, get married and give birth to two beautiful boys.  The ventilators were turned off and Vic continued to breathe, live….

We went from one doctor to the next.  I spend hours every day of my life on the internet looking for solutions and advice; it became a coping mechanism.  I worked longer hours in-between surgeries.  Quite frankly, work became a crutch.  I spent less and less time with my family and friends…I suppose because I felt no-one understood my fear, my despair, my pain…

My fear, despair and pain became my constant companion.  My computer and the internet my trusted friend…

One day, about 7 years ago, Jared asked me “Oumie don’t you love your family?”

“Of course I love my family!  Why are you asking such a question?” I replied

“Because you are never home….”

I had to sit down and reassess my life.  Quite honestly the financial implications of keeping Vic alive and care for her was daunting.  I feared going home because I could not handle Vic’s pain….  I knew in my heart there was no cure.  The mere thought of Vic suffering for endless years were terrifying!  I could not bear to see the fear and helpless desperation in the boys’ eyes.

So contrary to what I have written before, and comments that have been left, I have not been the best mother.   There was a time that I ran away.  I was petrified of the thought that Vic would suffer for another 40 years…be dependent upon me for another 40 years… There were times that I thought to myself “There has to be more to life!”  I felt lost in the in-balance of my life.  No matter where I turned it was work and responsibility!

In 2009 my Dad came to live with us.  He suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Dad and I

Dad and I

Whilst I reached a maturity level where I realized that being a caregiver is a privilege, not a burden, our lives changed.

I started sleeping downstairs many years ago when Vic was so ill.  I was scared I would not hear her if I slept upstairs.  I slowly slipped into a habit of working late on my laptop and then falling asleep on the sofa.  This continued when my Dad lived with us.  I still sleep downstairs on the sofa – waiting for Vic shuffling footsteps down the passage, text messages saying “Can I have something for pain?” or the intercom screeching!  The intercom was the 911 call.

I slowly and inextricably slipped into depression.  My entire life was dominated by my fears for my child.  The caregiving demands steadily increased as the years passed and the situation deteriorated.  It became a dark and difficult period for the entire family.  We could no longer spontaneously decide to go to dinner, go away for a weekend or even a holiday.  Every activity demanded a great deal of planning.  We became more and more isolated as a family.

It is natural for family and friends to drift away when a loved one becomes ill. The longer the illness, the longer they stay away. By it’s very nature, caring giving is draining. It is far easier to stay home and rest than socialize outside the home.  Isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, and illness. It takes energy and effort to maintain friendships when one feels tired and discouraged.

My salvation was cyberspace.  I joined an Alzheimer support group, https://www.caring.com.  Without the support group I would never had coped with my dad’s descend into Alzheimer’s.  A year ago I started blogging on Vic’s final journey.  I have found a cyber-community with parents who also lost children, friends with a word of encouragement, a kind words.   I receive advice, support and information from a loving cyber-community.

I however realize that I need re-join life.  There are days that I just want to stay on my sofa with a blanket pulled over my head.  I fear that if I sleep in a bed I will never get out of it.  In the TV lounge there is always people.  Whether it be the boys, Danie or the housemaids.

Today I had tea with an old friend.  For almost 4 years I have not been able to see her.  She has a young son that I have never seen.  Our friendship was reduced to the odd phone call or text message.  Often she would phone and there would be a crisis with Vic.  I would say “I will phone you back” and never get around to it.  I isolated myself from friends.  I was so miserable and totally absorbed with Vic that no “outsider” could penetrate my “barrier”.

My life centred round my sick child and family.

Despite the trauma of Vic’s death and coming to terms with the horrible loss, my life has changed.  I have had tea with my new Magnolia friends and Christelle.  We go out to dinner on the spur of the moment; we have been on holiday and I spent 4 days at a Spa with my sister!  I have watched Jon-Daniel play hockey matches, started gym and started remodelling the house.  I have seen a psychiatrist and take antidepressants.  We have started Stepping Stone Hospice.

How amazing is this?

If the truth be known it is not amazing at all.  I am dying on the inside.  I cry uncontrollably – mostly when everyone has gone to bed.  If the boys were not living with us it would have been so different.  I KNOW I would still have been in bed.   I am consumed with longing for my child.  Last night I replayed 100’s of voicemail messages that Vic had left me….

“Love you Mommy…”

“Love you Baby Girl”

Tears are sacred…


There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”

Washington Irving

 

Is there pain after death – post 2


A pensive Vic…. 2011

Two days ago I reblogged a post “Is there pain after death” written by a Dr James Salwitz.  This post elicited some comments – mainly from Vic.  Vic has started reading the odd post of my blog.  In a way I am truly okay with it but on the other hand I find it difficult to blog my fears and emotions knowing that Vic may read the post.  I find that I have become guarded in what I am writing.  I am thinking that I should blog about stuff that may allay Vic’s fears….

Yesterday Vic asked  “Mommy, I know what we believe in but what if there is more pain after I died?”

“You read my blog?” I asked.

“Yes” Vic replied.

“Sweetie, I believe that when the time comes our loved ones will be our guardian angels and hold our hands whilst we cross over….”

“I know that Mommy but what if I am still in pain… What if the pain does not stop?”

“Sweetie, the pain that continues after death is the emotional pain that belong to the loved ones that are left behind.  That is what the post is about…..”

Tears welled up in Vic’s eyes and she said “I know that Mommy but what if I am still in pain… What if the pain does not stop?  What if your pain does not stop?”

Andrew, http://lymphomajourney.wordpress.com/, commented as follows… “Even before one leaves, I always thought it more difficult on my family to watch me go through what was pretty aggressive treatment than on me.” 

sbcallahan, http://thedrsays.org commented…”this is one of the difficult things about being the one who leaves. to know that your loved ones are going to suffer more than they already have is heartbreaking.”

“how to die? I have watched many die over the years and the range is as you would imagine. there were those that just could not let go and suffered every indignity to their body and soul. of course others went quietly with love around them. I have not decided if I want to be alone or with loved ones by my side. is there a way to make it easier for them? would they rather receive a phone call with the news or be at bedside? either way it will hurt them, not me of course as I am the one leaving. I would be lying if I said I don’t think of how I will miss so much. the thing is I have had so much, so much more than others and it seems selfish to complain. what they will go through is tremendous compared to what I will go through. I will sleep eternally and they will live. the best I can hope for them is peace of mind and future happiness. I want them to think of me and smile as I do now thinking of them.”  http://thedrsays.org/2011/03/

I am beginning to think it is easier to be the person leaving than the one being left. I have always known that about relationships and breaking up but now realize that it is the same when someone you love is dying. My husband became suddenly angry and I knew there was something wrong. it is so unlike him to get angry over nothing that I was completely off guard. we had been watching the movie “steel magnolia’s” and he asked me what Julia Roberts was dying from and I told him kidney failure. later when he was able to talk, he shared that it had reminded him of my own kidney failure and near death. we live in limbo waiting each week for blood tests to know if I am back in failure or good for a few more days. I don’t really think about it and when he shared his fear my heart ached. The sad thing is I have no fear and realize more and more how hard this is for him. I know that he will be fine in the end but it is hard for him to imagine he will be fine without me. It is so much harder to be the one being left behind. http://thedrsays.org/2011/03/25/the-one/

Vic so often tells me how worried she is about the family.  She worries about how the boys, her dad and I will cope.  Whether we will cope…. whether we will be able to get over her eventual passing….  Andrew and sbcallahan write about their fears… for their loved ones.  It is a fear that all terminally ill people appear to have.

My Mom died a bad death!  Two weeks after major surgery she died an agonizing death from septicemia   We could see the gangrene spread…. She was burning up with fever and no amount of pain medication could dull or relieve the pain.  God alone knows what went through her mind because she was ventilated.  When my Mom finally died we were so relieved.  We were relieved that her suffering was over.  We were traumatized by the dying process not her death.

As a family we have lived with Vic’s pain and her excruciatingly slow journey towards death for the past eleven years.  For eleven years we have heard her scream with pain, moan with discomfort, we hold her hair back when she is doubled up over a toilet bowel, vomiting until she fractures a vertebrae.  We have nursed open wounds, changed colostomy bags…. We have watched our daughter and mother suffer the most horrendous symptoms.

So baby, if you read this post, know that we will miss you.  We don’t want you to leave us behind but we want your suffering to end.  We will continue to love you until we are reunited one day.  You have to trust us that you will always be “my baby” and the boys’ mummy.  But know that we will be grateful when your little body is freed from its pain and suffering.  You will be at peace…  You will not suffer more pain after death.  We will mourn you but we will also be at peace…  We will think of you and smile…

It is okay to let go my angel child.

This is Vic’s Journey


Despite the fact that Vic has known for a long time that she will not die from old age the grim reality of Hospice involvement has forced Vic to come to terms with many losses.

 “I still can’t believe it’s going to happen. I thought I had more time. I’m tired but I don’t feel that bad. I just feel like such a burden! I am so worried about how you will cope Mommy.  We have always been so close….” Vic lamented this past week.

I am told that Vic is expressing many normal emotions that occur near the end of life. She is feeling the shock of how final death is and the guilt of being a burden on the family. Vic is also concerned about her family she will leave behind….

Knowing that death is imminent is takings its emotional toll on all of us

Vic said tonight that she has never been more scared in her entire life.  She is scared of being “isolated” from us.  She fears that we will not cope.  She is so scared of the pain.  She is so scared of leaving the boys behind….

I blogged on Vic’s fears before.  https://tersiaburger.com/2012/07/01/vics-fears-2-7-2012   That blog was based on some research and actual observations.  Now the fears have intensified and are more real than ever. The situation has changed so much in the past three months.   For the worse!

The good thing is that Vic is actually sharing her fears with me.  Tonight we prayed over her fears.  Vic, at last, is dealing with her fears.

Vic is not ready to die. I am certain that very few people actually ever feel ready to die. I have read that it is perfectly normal to feel angry about life being cut short — it’s unfair and you have a right to be mad!  Unfortunately, anger often gets directed at those closest to us, the ones we love the most. We feel safe with these people and know they will probably accept our anger and forgive us for it.  Vic over the past couple of months has lashed out at the boys and I.

Vic is now channelling her anger as a source of energy to help her take action where it’s needed. She is telling us, her family, things she really wants us to know. Vic has re-channelled her anger to do meaningful and positive things.

Vic feels guilty about being a burden on us.  She also feels guilty that she will be leaving her children behind.  Tonight she told me that she felt guilty for distracting me whilst I was driving, 32 years ago, and we were involved in an accident!  I told her that I felt guilty for yelling at her when she was 4 years old.  Until my dying day I will always remember the fear and confusion in her dark brown eyes….

Worrying endlessly about these long-gone things won’t make it feel better about them. It won’t ease the burden we are carrying. It won’t make us feel better. It won’t make Vic live longer…

We spoke and I told Vic that we simply have to let things go.  We cannot change the past.  We must fix what can be fixed and try to let go of the things that cannot be changed.

Vic is stressed that Jon-Daniel and she have drifted apart.  He is angry with the situation.  She wants to spend time with him to rebuild their relationship.

Vic is no longer looking ahead to a seemingly “endless” future. She has lost so many things already.  The strength to get around like she used to, the ability to get together with friends….. Vic feels distanced from friends who cannot handle the fact that she is going to die soon.

Vic has had many physical and emotional losses which have come before the loss of life itself.  Yet she has gained some things too.  She is seeking spiritual peace, a new relationship with her God.

Hospice has given Vic Azor for the anxiety.  I believe that the drug is allowing Vic the calmness to seek spiritual peace and closure.  She is getting her life in order.  Over the years we discussed death as a natural extension of life….  Now she is discussing her funeral with me.  Psalm 23 ans 1 Cor 13 will be the readings…  What I will dress her in… Her pallbearers…

I sense a loneliness of the heart in Vic.  I cannot imagine what it feels like to be aware of the fact that you are facing your last months of life, planning your funeral….No matter what we do or say – this is Vic’s journey.

I remember how I cried when I watched the movie Passion of Christ and saw Mary having to stand by, helplessly,  whilst her son suffered carrying The Cross…  She had to stand by and watch Him die the cruelest of cruel deaths…

Tonight Vic prayed “Dear Lord Jesus, we have not been friends for a long time.  Yet I have come to you tonight to ask You to put Your arms around my children and to protect them…”

God please have mercy on my child.

We are scared


Wednesday a specialist surgeon came to see Jared. He said CT findings, such as indicated in Jared’s scan, is nonspecific and are generally “not recommended to rule out the presence of a neoplastic process such as lymphoma. A surgically obtained biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma.”

Jared asked the doctor exactly what he meant. The doctor tried to avoid answering Jared.

Jared repeated his question: “What do you mean doctor?”

“We have to eliminate lymph cancer.” the doctor said.

He continued to explain to Jared that due to the position of the para-aortic lymph nodes the surgical biopsy is major surgery. A large incision has to be made to allow access to the lymph nodes situated near the aorta, right in front of several lumbar vertebrae. Jared said “Doctor I had major surgery with my Nissen Repair and it was keyhole surgery…Now you want to make a large cut for a biopsy?”

I thought it was a rather intelligent and rational question and even in the scary moment I was proud of my grandson.

The surgeon said Jared would go to theater on Thursday morning for the biopsy. He asked me to be there by 6 am so we could have a further discussion before Jared went into theater.

Jared’s eyes, when he registered what the doctor said, will haunt me until my dying day. He simply said “Oumie can we phone Mom?”

Vic’s first reaction was “Mommy I am just too sick…..” I told her Jared wanted to see her and that her dad would bring her to the hospital.

I took Vic aside and broke the news to her first. Then we spoke as a family. We went to the cafeteria and had a cup of tea. Nobody had an appetite.

Wednesday night I Googled the results of Jared’s CT scan and found the following:  “The paraaortic lymph node is lymph tissue located near the aorta, right in front of several lumbar vertebrae. Another term for the paraaortic lymph node is periaortic lymph node. As part of the lymphatic system, a paraaortic lymph node helps drain dead cells and immune system-neutralized foreign bodies. In particular, a paraaortic lymph node helps drain the organs in the pelvis and the lower part of the digestive system.”  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-paraaortic-lymph-node.htm

Five broad etiologic categories lead to lymph node enlargement, as follows:[1]

  • An immune response to infective agents (e.g., bacteria, virus, fungus)
  • Inflammatory cells in infections involving the lymph node
  • Infiltration of neoplastic cells carried to the node by lymphatic or blood circulation (metastasis)
  • Localized neoplastic proliferation of lymphocytes or macrophages (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma)
  • Infiltration of macrophages filled with metabolite deposits (e.g., storage disorders)

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/937855-overview#a0102

Paraaortic lymph node

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lymph node regions

 

.

We left home at 5.30am on Thursday morning.  It was raining and freezing cold.

At the hospital the surgeon spent a lot of time talking to us.  He discussed the results of the CT scan and said that the most common reason for lymph nodes to enlarge is infection.  The blood tests, done on Monday and repeated on Wednesday, however showed no infection levels.  The CRP levels were perfectly normal.  The problem with Lymphoma is that bio-markers are not enough evidence for a diagnosis…

The surgeon was concerned that he had a very long theater list and that Jared had already had four anesthetics this year.  It was a long procedure….  Furthermore he had to go back to theatre in two weeks time for the removal of the stent.  We agreed that the biopsy would be delayed for two weeks…

Jared came home on Thursday.  He is on very strong antibiotics.  His kidney is still sore.  He is scared.

We are all scared.

“We never cry in front of the children …..”


Jared and Vic after the “news” today

Babies are emotional beings right from birth. As parents we know that babies respond to emotional expressions such as smiling within the first few weeks of life. Within three months babies can react to and express joy, interest, anger, sadness and disgust.

Babies and young children express their emotions without reservation.  In time, they however learn to control and even conceal some of their feelings, especially when they are sad, frightened, or angry.

As adults we lose our ability to communicate spontaneously.  We become guarded.  Many of us may still be comfortable expressing positive emotions, such as joy, pride and happiness, but will refrain from sharing feelings that we fear may make others uncomfortable.

The grieving process that walks hand in hand with terminal illness however catapults the bravest of us into a whirlpool of emotions ranging from fear, sadness and anger to irrational hope.

We are what we are.  If you are naturally an introvert it will be very difficult to reach out to others when we or a loved one battles a serious or terminal illness. This makes the grieving process difficult for us.  People who are comfortable in expressing their emotions are usually more able to reach out to others for the support and reassurance that they need.

When I am scared or angry I withdraw within my safe place where no one is welcome or allowed. In fear I will push people away from me.  Anger is different – I will lash out and go for the jugular.  Fear for my family will bring out the most primal instincts in me.  I will do anything to protect them.

To maintain control I hold tightly onto my emotions– I know that if I allow myself to falter even a little, I may collapse into a whimpering heap of tears.  It has taken superhuman efforts to allow Vic to see some of my pain.  Well, I fool myself that she only sees some of it.  Vic knows so well how my life will screech to an end the day her life ends… We have spoken about absolutely anything and everything.  She knows my heart.

Tomorrow morning Jared will have a lymphoma biopsy.

Today, when I saw the tears of fear form in Vic’s eyes, I said “Stop!  We never cry in front of the children”

Tomorrow I will smile, support and encourage.

Tonight I will weep for my beautiful grandson, his mother and his little brother……..I will weep for his grandfather and everyone who loves and admires him.

When I wipe my last tears I will retreat to my safe place…..  Tomorrow I will smile, support and encourage.