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One, Two, Three…

August 16, 2012

Yesterday I had a repeat MRI of my head and PET of the rest of me. The goal is to determine if there has been any additional cancer growth and to qualify me for the ever looming drug study. When these have been resulted, they will be put in the all powerful OZ ( computer randomizer) and tell me my fate for the next year. You may remember from last time that I dread and hate these scans as evidenced HERE but they are completely necessary.

I have been working with a woman who is coaching me on guided relaxation, focused meditation and mindfulness. I have been practicing. I have done these scans before, I know what to expect. I am smarter and stronger this time. It has only been four months since the first set and I have had multiple surgeries and procedures to remove any evidence of cancer or suspicious particles. I am savvy. I am experienced. I am battle weary. It should be a little bit like a seasoned ICU nurse starting CPR. It should make my heart beat a little bit faster, but then I should just go on about my business.

I convinced myself I was ready. I was prepared. I was going to be relaxed. I would be calm. I would be mindful. I would be the picture of serenity.

The PET scan went just fine. I was still. I was humming little tunes and thinking about the book I was reading. I was thinking about a work project. I was, maybe not serene, but I was calm. I was hungry. I was thinking about what I could manage to forage between the PET scanner and the MRI. Then I was done.

I managed a Snickers between my tests and was steeling myself for the MRI. They are going to put your head in the cage. Don’t open your eyes. It won’t be helpful. Close them before you even go inside the tube. Call and response. You are not alone. The MRI tech gave me the obligatory ear plugs and he put some blocks on either side of my head as a splint so holding my head still would be a passive process. I wouldn’t have to try to be still but rather try to move. I closed my eyes and slid inside the tube. The noises started. It’s like being inside the bowels of the Death Star. Very mechanical and very loud. Call and response. Meditate. Be serene. I started to run through some scriptures I had put in my head, with intention, that would bring peace. Standards that I know as well as I know my name that I wouldn’t have to think about to repeat. I opened my eyes. Just a little, just for a second. Bad idea. Meditate, Mareeka. Don’t push the panic button. You will just have to start all over. Your drug therapy depends on this.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high…ONE, TWO THREE…music starts playing in my head. Come on, brain, concentrate. Be mindful. Say your scripture…He that dwelleth in the secret place…ONE, TWO THREE.

Stop it, Mareeka. You have to do this. Be in charge, get control of yourself. BE SERENE. ONE, TWO, THREE. Okay maybe that one isn’t working, try a different one, an easier one…The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not…ONE, TWO, THREE…

CLANG, CLANG CLANG, WHIIIRRRRRR, Rattle RATTLE, RATTLE…The lord is my SHEPHERD…I am fighting with myself in the scanner to repeat the psalm and this ONE THING is superimposing itself over everything that I try to place in my mind: One, two, three, the devil’s after me. Four, five six, he’s always throwing sticks. Seven, eight, nine, he misses every time. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen. Over and over and over. The more panicked I feel, ONE, TWO, THREE…The harder I try to be mindful and serene…FOUR, FIVE, SIX…The louder the noises get inside the machine…SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE…the nursery rhyme that I have sung as long as I can remember plays over and over and over in my head.

I am reminded, forcefully, that no weapon that is formed against me shall prosper. I am reminded in the simplest of ways that I am not in control, that my circumstances are not my reality, that it is not mine to fix or control or cure.

One, two three, the devil’s after me. Four, five, six, he’s always throwing sticks. Seven, eight, nine, he misses every time. Hallelujah, Hallelujah.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela Altman permalink
    August 16, 2012 10:36 pm

    I know a lot of nursery rhymes, but I’ve never heard that one! AWESOME it is!! I imagine it to be rather sing-songy… Love it! So glad you are sharing your faith as part of this journey! Much love to you girl! Proud of you!

  2. Korinne Callihan permalink
    August 17, 2012 12:06 am

    Proud of you girl, but even more so, thankful with you and peaceful that God, our mighty warrior, showed up again and held you in tenderness and mercy. Thank you, Papa for never leaving us alone, and being in your nature to hold hands and hold hearts!
    Holding your hand too, Mareeka, through all this journey, until we are all safe on the other side.

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