Trek Women
November 28, 2007

One of Pavlov's Dogs

Dog_large Long, long ago a man named Ivan Pavlov used dogs, food and a bell to discover that we can develop a conditioned reflex to things.  He would ring a bell and then give the dogs food.  Pretty soon, just hearing a bell would cause the dogs to salivate because they thought there was food - a classic conditioned response.  Well, I am a classic Pavlov dog case. 

Today, I went for the bone scan on my foot.  This is the type of scan that has to be done at a hospital where they have said scanner.  So, I found myself sitting in patient registration this morning at the same hospital where I had the biopsy of my lymph nodes that diagnosed my lymphoma.  While a bone scan has nothing to do with surgery or cancer I found myself with a rapid heart beat, sweating and a lot of anxiety while forking over all the necessary items for the scan (none of these said items was related to my foot mind you - mostly prescription, insurance card, various signatures guaranteeing my first born if my insurance didn't pay - the standard stuff).  The whole thing was made worse by the fact that the woman registering me was a nun (it's a Catholic hospital).  That made it hard for me to rationalize throwing something at her to distract her so I could bolt out the door.

This type of reaction (only much worse) also happened to me after chemo.  During my first set of chemo's I always wore the same clothes - I was in the hospital all day and my style had to be dictated by what allowed easy IV access.  How bad is it to go to the store and admire things like this, "ooh, this looks comfortable, versatile and can be rolled up or down for easy IV in either arm?"  Anyway, for months after chemo ended, I couldn't look at those clothes in my closet without getting severely nauseous because of the association.  I finally had to throw them out.

What I'm wondering is how long these reactions will last?  Will I forever be hospital scarred/scared?  The effects of cancer treatment go well past the IV's and scans.  I know that I'm not the only one.  How about we do a cancer clinical trial on this and see how long it takes to break the cycle?  I'm not sure if Pavlov ever told us.



Hang in there sweetie. It's a natural reaction to be aprehensive. If you didn't respond that way, we would think that you were a "Snowman"
Keep us posted on your progress.

Posted by: Trek Sister Marie | Nov 28, 2007 10:08:42 PM

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