April 13th, 2006
Spencer is a little afraid of certain parts of regular oncologist appointments. Mainly, he hates needles and procedures. I maintain that this is simply a sign of sanity. It is perfectly natural and rational to be afraid of being poked with sharp objects and knocked unconscious (so you can be poked harder with less sharp objects).
When Spencer was first diagnosed, probably the worst part for him was all the “pokes” before he got his port installed. I wrote about that when I first wrote about Spencer being diagnosed with leukemia a year and a half ago. Since then, the fear mutates. For a while, we were not allowed to say the words “shot” or procedure and had to refer to them as “sh” and “p”. Of course, after a while, all of his fears now get activated by the once acceptable utterances, so “sh” and “p” are forbidden. Instead, Spencer has developed his own sign language for “shot” and “procedure”. Spencer Sign Language for “shot” is hand held in front of port area (below his left collar bone) with palm facing himself, index finger pointing down, other three fingers closed, and thumb folded over the middle finger – then move the hand down, imitating the act of inserting a needle into his port. Spencer Sign Language for “procedure” is two hands in pointer position (index finger pointing, others closed) with index fingertips touching and then rock the two hands so the index fingers rock like a bed rocking someone to sleep. I should video tape these and post them.
Having found a new coping mechanism, Spencer has relaxed more about shots and procedures – until the neural connections get made to the new gestures. It is fascinating to watch this, and other coping mechanisms, develop as he finds ways to maintain control of his fears instead of letting them rule.
Today, we have a regular checkup visit to the oncologist and KLRU will have a crew there filming some footage for an issue of “Austin Now” news magazine to air in June. The story ties to “Lion in the House” which will be airing on KLRU in June. More on that later.