Friday, July 31, 2009

Associated Reactions. . . Ever Have 'Em??

In my recent post on how smells affected our memory I neglected to write about my associated reaction with the Metro North Train to NYC.  Since surviving cancer my love of NYC has been somewhat tainted.  I had all of my surgery, treatment, and followup visits at Sloan Kettering in the city.  I feel very grateful to have found doctors I love at such a great hospital.  But all the trips into the city for chemo, and multiple train rides to followup tests and the like now tend to make me sick.  And I mean that literally.

Whenever I take the train to one of my doc appointments I start to fell sick from when I wake up that morning.  I feel nauseous, have a headache, and get the runs.  This happens without fail.  By the time I am boarding the train the first whiff of the pleather seats and urine sends me into a tailspin.  It reminds me of being sick, of needle sticks and  MRI machines.  So when I would hop the train to something fun in the city like going to dinner with my husband, or meeting a friend for a day of shopping the same thing would happen.  It has been so dam frustrating.  Who wants to feel sick when you are supposed to be going to have fun.  I didn't know how to tell that part of my brain that my train ride wasn't about cancer.  I theorized that the more fun things I went to the city for I would feel less of the associated reaction.  The bad experiences out weighted the good ones.

Until yesterday.  I think I finally had a breakthrough.  This past month I have had 3 trips to the city which is alot for me.  I saw a friend for dinner a couple of weeks ago, then Tuesday on my birthday and then yesterday I hopped the train by myself to meet a friend for lunch.  I woke up yesterday with trepidation hoping I wouldn't feel the headache and stomach pains.  And amazingly I didn't.  By the time I got to the train station and was boarding I happily noticed that I did not feel sick at all.  I actually felt pretty good.  No anxiety or sickness.  And that made me happy!  Finally a good train ride!  I had a great time with my friend and on the train home felt good that I have made progress.  I can only hope it continues.

Do you ever have associated reactions such as this?  Does it ever make you anxious or frustrated?  How do you deal?


Ria Vanden Eynde said...

I went through my wardrobe today and saw a long winter coat I bought just before being dxd with breat cancer. It was on offer then, has a great cut, figure-hugging, nips me in at the waist + it's a warm woolen coat, excellent for winter walks. I wore it a couple of times for errands&while shopping for some gear to take to the hospital...Haven't put it on once since. Even looking at it just now, brings mixed emotions: a smile, wow what great coat, I forgot I had this, immediately followed by a darkness&difficult memories that fall onto me...Ugh, cancer sucks.

Cathy Bueti said...

Hi Ria, That is an interesting reaction. That sucks that something you enjoyed wearing brings on dark memories. I have had that happen with clothes too...a favorite sweatshirt and sweatpants I wore when I was in the hospital after surgery because they were easy to put on and comfortable. After that I wore them during treatment sometimes and got rid of them after I had gone through all of that. I just couldn't bring myself to wear them again. Too much of a reminder of cancer. thanks for sharing that Ria....