Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not The Weekend We Had Planned

Warning - this is a long story. :)

Well this past weekend was meant to be one of celebration. I had finished my last radiation session on Friday and my husband´s best friend was getting married on Saturday up in the mountains. Everything seemed set for a child free weekend of fun and a glass of bubbly or two. But the gods of fate had other plans for us unfortunately.

I had not had the best of weeks leading up to this past weekend and had spent much of my time feeling exhausted, nauseous and hanging onto the toilet for dear life. The doctors weren´t sure what was going on but chalked it up to nausea related to radiation and general exhaustion. So perhaps I was being over ambitious going to this wedding but I so wanted to participate in something fun and support my husband as best man and of course his friend who served as "minister" for our own wedding. So we went for it and drove the four hours with our friends to this beautiful place in the mountains. I remember saying how I had imposed a hospital ban on myself for at least a month and wanted to reconnect with the world outside of those white sterile walls. Hmmm...had I tempted fate with those words?

So back to my story - the wedding ceremony was beautiful and I fought back tears in a superficial attempt to not ruin my eye makeup. Always the vain one! Afterwards four of us sat in a nearby restaurant waiting for the drinks reception to begin and I suddenly felt a pain in my left shoulder and chest. It came out of the blue and I remarked on it out loud. Not a big deal - probably some pulled muscle or nerve i thought. We made our way to the reception shortly after and chatted with everyone. A short while later, I was sitting at a table beside my husband and a friend and out of the blue, I felt very unwell very quickly. I felt hot and suddenly my heart starting beating a mile a minute and I thought it would beat right out of my chest. I felt I was collapsing and in all honesty, I thought I was dying. My immediate thought went to my father and I thought - "I am going to die the same way he did." Everything becomes alittle cloudy after that and I can´t tell you how long it took for my heart to stop racing. Next thing I was lying on the floor covered in blankets with breathing problems and I couldnt feel my arms or legs. I was so scared and my anxiety went to stratospheric levels which definitely didnt help at all. Luckily there was doctor at the wedding and she was truly amazing and brought me some reassurance. She actually reminded me of Dr Sunshine which helped calm me. The ambulance was called and now all we could do was wait. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I just didn´t know what was happening. My husband was my rock and kept it together so well - not showing a hint of how unbelievably terrified he really was. We were far from anything and that distance was scary. Then I found myself bein wheeled into an ambulance and once they had done enough tests to prove I was stable enough to make the drive to the closest medical centre, we were off. I remember hearing my husband on the phone in the front seat speaking to his father and also our daughter. She asked him if she could talk to mama and he calmly said that I was in the bathroom and couldn´t talk. I think we both had lumps in our throat at that moment.  Forty minutes later, we arrived at a tiny medical centre tucked away in the mountains and after reviewing my complex history, it was not long before we were put back in the ambulance and off on a 1.5 hour trip to the closest major hospital. I started to feel bit better then and the odd sensations were wearing off and I just felt so tired and just plain scared.  We pulled into the hospital and a whole new slew of tests began again. It was kind of funny actually - my husband looking so spiffy in his suit and me with no clothes on but a blanket, seeing as a cocktail dress and heels doesn´t quite lend itself to hospital examinations. We didn´t have anything with us and everything was in a hotel room 2 hours away including phone chargers and toothbrushes!

They began tests to rule out the obvious culprit - a heart attack. Thankfully there appeared to be no signs of that so next was a blood clot. It was then that I got to experience a whole new medical procedure that was so frickin awful! Ever get an arterial blood test? Guess what - it sucks eggs and I was lucky enough to get four attempts at getting a sample. They put a needle into the inside of your wrist until they get to an artery. The anaesthesiologist said it was of the more painful procedures - I can concur on that. I seriously started crying when they told me they needed to do it a third time. My body started shaking uncontrollably after every attempt and the problem is that if your body isn´t relaxed no blood will come out. It truly sucked but as my tough love husband told me at the time - they are doing this for a good reason to find out what is wrong so grin and bear it girl. When that test came back negative, I was sent to intensive care for the night and round the clock heart monitoring. It was 2am by the time we were settled and my husband and I were wiped out. We joked that no one could have picked a better way of getting out of a best man´s speech and that it was one hell of a wedding if one of its guests was in intensive care before the dinner even started! Always gotta find the funny side of everything. So by morning, my heart had been stabile and instead of being picked up by our friends to go home, we were told we were taking another ambulance back to Oslo to be admitted to my "home hospital." The fun continues...So a 2 hour trip and another assessment in Emergency, we found ourselves back in C-Town again. At least it was familiar and all the nurses and doctors knew me and I felt especially pleased that I was not there to get chemo this time. After a good night of sleep, it was time for a round table with the doctors to figure out what the hell happened. They wanted a ultrasound of my heart to rule out damage from treatment but we were most likely looking at an unexplained and spontaneous panic attack. I am happy that it was nothing serious but I can´t help but be afraid of it happening again. I wasn´t worrying about anything, I wasn´t thinking the worst case - I was just trying to be normal and enjoy life. I keep thinking about it happening when I am alone or with my daughter. What do I do? I already felt so vulnerable already and with this latest episode, I feel even more so. I just want to get on with life and stop taking it easy and stop being afraid. My husband and I just don´t need anymore right now. We are at the max of what we can manage and the stress of it all takes its toll. One emergency after another it seems. I kept thinking that I needed to write a will while lying in the ambulance. That I hadn´t organised everything I needed to and no one would know what I wanted. It doesnt get more morbid then this people but even as the dust has settled and I am better now, I still feel the same way. No one knows what is going to happen - regardless of being healthy or sick. Maybe doing something like that will just make me feel more safe and secure. I was a girl guide after all and wasn´t our motto " Be Prepared"?

So after the last few days, I am forced to take the next week to rest and not do anything. My body has clearly sent me a message that enough is enough. I have to listen to it. I gueAnd seriously universe - can you please give my husband and I some kind of break? We just can´t handle anymore right now and just want a few moments together where we can forget about all the bad stuff. So we can just be. I think we more then deserve at least an evening???

Long story I know but it was a long weekend. And I want to congratulate Hege and Halvor on their happy wedding day. I so hope that our crisis didn´t take anything away from your special day. We are so happy for you and hope to properly celebrate with you both soon.




  1. oh, dear kate,

    I am so sorry for what you went through; the pain, the trauma, the feeling like you were going to die and the entire bucket of fuckedness. I am just so glad you pulled through and hope this never happens to you again. I have experienced several similar episodes, and the only conclusion we ever came to was that after a lot of hard knocks with treatment, both chemo and radiation, and after surgery, the systems that help regulate vital organs back to normal functioning just needed more time to do their job. each time I remember that i THOUGHT i was doing well, in fact, i thought i was off the charts resilient and that if only i didn't have fucking cancer, i would be the epitome of a fine specimen. though that was only my experience, and i am in no way insinuating it might have been yours as well.

    i see no reason why you can't take charge of what's within your control. write your will and make any plans that will ease your mind. if it turns out to be a very positive result, at least you will be able to say that something worthwhile came from a truly horrible way to mess up an evening of fun and celebration for you and your poor husband.

    love and light, XOXO

    Karen, TC

    1. Hi Karen, Yes absolute fuckedness indeed. Our bodies never cease to amaze me and how they totally throw us for a loop at times. i think that is what scared me after the danger was ruled out. That when I actually as having fun my body decided - whoah there tiger, we arent used to this. This past week I feel my heart only in times I am distracted or doing something relaxing. Go figure but at least I can tell me myself I wont die and this will be okay. Hope you are doing well urself and managing everything life throws at u my dear. Love, Kate xxx

  2. Whew. Scary. Glad it didn't seem to be anything 'serious' but hope it was the LAST time that it happens!

    1. Totally with you on that Thandi! I have had little episodes in the last week here and there but nothing like that. And I think now that I know it isnt dangerous it helps me cope. x

  3. That episode sounds like so much more than a panic attack. But regardless of how aggravatingly it was, it is better to know that it was ONLY a panic attack and not based on some real underlying cause.

    Here is hoping you rescue a bit of peace and rest out of your medically hectic life, over the next days and weeks.

    1. Hi Lisa. Yes it definitely felt like more and it sucks when you have been so ill because no doctor ever just shrugs anything off as no big deal. I am so over tests and all these mega intrusive tests. I still get scared though and always worry it is something more but for now I just need to stay positive and trust that everything is going to be ok. x