Tuesday, February 06, 2018

[Backdated to capture missed memories.]

I don't want to just keep missing things.  Of course, I keep trying to write.  Like just now.  An hour went by as I battled what happened today, which I want to capture.  Crap.

Last Tuesday, I had a mammogram ... the third  time I made the appointment.  I wasn't going to go.  The last time ... the last time still triggers me.  I understand better, now, about why it was so awful for me, without even talking about it in therapy yet!

For one, my therapist has spoken about how going through experiences like that are trauma for me.  New trauma and old mixed together.  It doesn't matter that it is a medical procedure.  For one like me, it is trauma.  I haven't really processed that yet.  Actually, I am struggling to understand what it means to process something.  But I have heard it.  Hearing has not be my strong suit for a very long time.

To note one other thing ... there were two techs and both were touching me.  Just remembering that ... [shudder] ... I cannot go where that takes me.

I did so very many things right this time round.  And I can hear that without shying away from it or dismissing it.  I worked to make it better.

  • I had comfortable clothing to wear instead of a gown.
  • I had a photo of Amos to look at.
  • I had an advocate talk with the tech ahead of time.
  • I was able to identify what the tech could do to help me.
  • I asked for that help.
  • I had friends stay on the phone with me whilst driving.
  • I planned for it to be just before therapy.
  • I saved the last of my wood for a fire.

I didn't really ask my friends ahead of time to help me.  I mean, the whole world knew about my appointment, but I am not sure anyone was paying attention to my shoutings.  [I really don't use Facebook the way that I'm supposed to do so.]  But I called Mary on the drive between the imaging facility and Becky on the drive between therapy and my home, knowing my realtor would soon be there to distract me.

She was a great blessing to me, for Leslie really wouldn't take "no" for an answer.  She wanted to go with me and I didn't want her to see me the way that I was the last mammogram.  I knew it was a different facility and it would be with a different technician, but still.  Still.

But it snowed four inches and Leslie's day opened up and she just ... didn't accept my "I'll be fine."  And she came up with the best idea ... I go to therapy and she goes to COSTCO for pizza.  And she din't just bring me a slice like last time she went there ... no, she brought me an entire pizza!  Mmmmm!

But the best thing I did was to schedule the mammogram before my therapy appointment.  By doing so, it put me in a safe place where I could ... experience the flashbacks.

I wanted my therapist to make them stop.  I wanted her to ... well ... something.  But she didn't.  She talked with me.  Well, she let me talk.  And talk.  And talk.  I was trying to keep the flashbacks at bay.  And I ended up talking about cooking.

I'd get lost in what I've learned and what I've cooked and what I thought she'd like to try and then ... someone make it stop ... the trembling would worsen, I could feel hands, the fear, the shame, the pain returned ... then she would ask me a question, get me talking about my bliss once more, the only area in my life that has moved forward in the past few years.  

I learned that she was trying to keep me in the present, because that is the way to get through such a storm.  I learned something without ...  well ... I learned something by experiencing it in such a natural and authentic manner that I understood it when she explained the goal afterwards.   Or near the end of my session.  When I was ... easier ... with what was happening.

What I love best about my therapist is that she was a nurse for many, many years.  When I started getting lost in my past, she explained that what was happening was real.  That what I experience now was triggering the emotions from then stored in my brain.  She explained that what was happening in my body was biological, not just some sort of crazy that needs to be medicated away.  Or shushed.

This is the first time that I understood what is meant about moving through the flashbacks.  And my therapist also explained that by talking about things that clearly made me happy ... content ... that I was, in a sense, overwriting those distressing emotions, lightening their burden a little bit by little bit until they no longer hold sway over me.  

I cannot say as I would like to experience what I was experiencing again, but I know that I will.  If nothing else, I have a pelvic exam next October.  SHUDDER.  I am wanting ... very much ... to have my burden lessoned.  And so I show up every Tuesday when my fear would otherwise keep me firmly behind my closed and locked doors.

Amos!  Oh, how my beloved Fluffernutter rose to the occasion.  Once I started to descend into darkness, in a place no one can follow, Amos was there, abandoning his weekly exploration of my therapist's office to leap up into my lap so I could bury my face in his curls as he pressed himself against my chest.  I wouldn't have gotten through that session without him.  I remain in awe that my Good Shepherd has provided a therapist who is bearing almost the full cost of my sessions and who allows Amos to tend to his puppy momma in her distress.  It's almost unbelievable.  

At least, to me it is.

[So, this back-dated rememberer entry took over 13 hours to write.  Once, it would have taken an hour, if that. How am I going to catch up??]   

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