Did you think I was avoiding you?

Image

In the grocery store?  I was.  I have been doing okay with most things.  Taking care of the usual necessary arrangements. Switching accounts and bills over to my own name.  Making arrangements to have all of the things done that I never had to worry about before.  I can have lunch with friends and talk about what happened. No problem.  Lately, though, if I see someone I know in a store I want to hide. I try not to catch their eye.  I turn down an aisle whether I need anything in it or not.  There are two kinds of people I see at the grocery store.   The ones I haven’t seen since the funeral and the ones I haven’t seen or heard from at all. As when my sister died, this is summer vacation. People are away. I really don’t want to be explaining what happened in front of the frozen peas or breaking down in the wine section (that just looks bad on so many levels). So if I give you a small wave and then turn away, please don’t be offended. And please don’t go out of your way to catch up with me in Dairy. Neither one of us will leave there feeling very good.  Instead of socializing I walk through the store like a ghost, picking up this and that, putting most of it back.  I buy tons of vegetables and fresh fruit and days later throw most of them away. I pick up packages of snack foods he liked to take to work and then remember that I just cleared all that out of the house and it all goes back. Cereal?  I don’t eat it, yet there are a 1/2 dozen boxes in my cupboard at the moment.

Yesterday was the one month mark.  We (the girls and I and my mother) went out for lunch and a movie.  We had a nice time. The movie was good. Exciting even.  I had a lump in my throat through most of it.  He would have liked it. He might have even stayed awake for the whole thing.  I don’t know why it made me sad.  I didn’t even particularly like going to the movies with him.  Because he always crowded me .. you know the type, taking up all the arm space on both sides.. and then would fall asleep.. only to wake up at various points during the movie wanting to know what happened.  He did the same thing when we watched movies at home. We had this routine.. me:  “are you up for a movie?  can you stay awake?”  him:  “sure”.. me:  “well, I know you’re tired and I don’t mind waiting until the weekend” him:  “just put it on”  him (5 minutes later): snoring.  I would spend the first half of the movie nudging him and the 2nd half hoping he wouldn’t wake up and start asking what happened. And after the movie ended he would get his second wind and spend hours on Facebook posting obscure music videos.  Nevertheless, we had a fairly long list of shows that we watched together, usually a full season at a time through Netflix. I guess all couples have their thing.. marathons of Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Shameless, Boardwalk Empire.. was ours. Interestingly, he could stay awake though all of those, but if I put on Weeds (at his request) he would sleep through most of it.

I can talk about how he died.  I can talk about what to do with his things, should I sell this? donate that? save it for the kids?  Those conversations feel normal. Doing groceries, making dinner, choosing what to watch on TV..those are the things that can have me reaching for an Ativan.   He loved to eat and I loved to cook.  We had an unwritten rule as a family, once the kids were old enough.. everyone pretty much fended for themselves for breakfast and lunch, but dinner was eaten at the table as a family every night.  Even the grown up kids were expected to be there if they were living here or visiting.  And we would hold dinner until they showed up.  We didn’t eat in front of the TV.  Over the past few years, if he was watching a game or we were just relaxing I would sometimes say.. “do you just want to eat in the living room?” .. it became a habit.. maybe once a week, but the majority of the time we still ate dinner as a family at the table.. even if it was just us two.  The table now holds a small stack of magazines (I guess I should cancel those subscriptions) that I have no interest in but can’t throw away, my ironing board and iron, a vegetable steamer and assorted other flotsam and jetsam of my life at the moment.

When my sister passed away we would talk about what the loss meant to each one of us, but the one I could hardly talk about without breaking down was her live in boyfriend.  She died in their bed in the home they had made together.  I couldn’t stand the thought of him being there alone, returning home to the emptiness. He had lived in the house alone before he met her but she had definitely made her mark on it.  I could not imagine what he was going through. It felt so much worse than what the rest of us were.  And now.. less than a year later I am in the same exact position (Dear Irony, I am no longer your biggest fan).  But strangely, I feel more anxious when I am away from home than when I’m here.  I do force myself to leave every day for one errand or another.  Baby steps. One foot in front of the other. Apparently that’s how you move forward.

A friend asked me the other day if I was mad at God.  I said I didn’t dare be mad at Him, I would be afraid of what He had in store for me next. We both laughed. I wasn’t kidding.

Warning: rambling ahead

I haven’t written for a while. I think my last blog mentions hitting the halfway mark of my chemotherapy. Since then I have passed another halfway milestone. I’ve completed 6 of the 12 Taxol treatments.  While I have been saying all along that side effects are not mandatory and I had no intention of volunteering for any, I’ve kind of hit a bump in the road Image. And yes it feels as big as the obnoxious sign mid-sentence. Today was the first day in a week I’ve left the house aside from my weekly cocktails with the girls.  By cocktails I mean poison chemotherapy being pumped directly into my chest and by the girls I mean Dr. T and the awesome nurses at the center.  In the way of drinking pals I could probably do worse. However the cocktails suck and this is one major ass hangover. I still have no nausea or neuropathy. I have daily nosebleeds and numbness of my fingers that I am assured is not neuropathy because I can “shake it off”. However it is happening more and more frequently.  My hair continues to grow and is about 1/2 inch long now and starting to curl. Still no sign of eyelashes.  I kind of miss em but in the grand scheme of things.. meh.  What has left me housebound for a week is just being plain exhausted.  I swear I can feel my marrow moving thick and sluggish through my bones and my joints ache nearly constantly.  I have muscle pains and headaches but they come and go. Most of the time I feel like I am moving through mud.  I have some energy in the morning, so I do whatever computer work I have waiting, clean the house a bit and exercise (and yes,  remaining upright counts as exercise some days), shower, eat lunch and then at the time that I would be heading into town with whatever errands I have I end up lying down for “just a minute”.  If I’m lucky I wake up before the mister returns from work 5 hours later. I’m still waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. but instead of waking up to those crazy dreams I blogged about earlier, I’m up thinking about all the things I want to accomplish, but just can’t seem to get done.  It will all get done but unfortunately I don’t think I will be contributing too much to the effort and I hate that.  The effects of this treatment really are cumulative and I’ve gone from one day of recovery with the first one to not leaving the house for a week with the 6th. This wasn’t part of my plan. I was going to breeze through it. I guess it’s time for a new plan. This week I will be content to get in some pansies.  Image  If that’s all I end up planting this year, that’s enough.

Since I’ve been on house arrest I decided to catch up on some independent films I missed. Can I just say.. Tree of Life.. what? This is a movie you can nap through and really, it doesn’t matter.  For real. Image

I’ve seen a few other films but they were fairly underwhelming and hardly worth a mention.

In other news.. coupons.  Who doesn’t love a  good coupon? Last week I came across 4.00 off Claritin but I didn’t need any and am not sure how long I will be taking them so I very kindly left two coupons on top of the boxes for someone to use.  This week I noticed it was on sale and wouldn’t you know I’ve been using it daily. I thought about those coupons I had left. On a hunch I looked and they were still there. A week later! There are two things that make this worthy of a mention. First.. no one bought Claritin in a week? Or if they did they ignored the savings?  Two.. and this kind of grossed me out.. that shelf wasn’t touched in a week. This is an allergy med in the pharmacy department and no one dusted? Really? In a whole week?  That shouldn’t surprise me, but it does.  I wonder what other things have been deposited on those shelves and left to fester.  *shudder*.

My thoughts have been all over the place in this post, but I want to mention a little girl in our community who lost her battle with cancer this week. She was six years old and had faced many challenges since her birth. I didn’t know her, but I understand she loved all that was pink,  purple and princess related. If you pray, please send up a prayer for little Megan and her family.  Image Balloons optional.

Sunday funnies

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved reading the newspaper. I always start with the comics and work my way to the front page, Sunday being the holy grail of funnies!  Some old favorites have come and gone and some should have retired years ago, but I still read them. After I spent yesterday watching the entire Mildred Pierce miniseries (over 5 hours!) then choking down some bland chicken chow mein for dinner, I went to bed early feeling a little rocky and the feeling lasted all night. Not really sick, just blah.. I hate taking antinausea medication because it makes me sleep the day away. But I hate feeling sick even more. When I got up I decided to try and settle before I took anything. I honestly couldn’t tell if I felt sick or hungry so I tried eating.  It took me over 40 minutes, but I ate a muffin and a cup of coffee and was starting to feel okay. While playing fast and loose with my gastric juices I read the paper. I started out with a little Garfield and Peanuts, Hi and Lois, For Better or Worse.. all the old favorites. Then bravely ventured through the paper, finally making my way to the front page where much speculation is being made of Senator Olympia Snowe’s decision not to run for reelection. I have the greatest of respect for Olympia and wish her the very best.  There was yet another heartbreaking article about a little 20 month old girl who disappeared from our small community just before Christmas.  There is much speculation about what happened to her and very few answers.  A lot of mudslinging amongst family members and other members of the community. Sad, sad stuff. Of course to get to the front page I had to take a stroll through entertainment and sports, local news and the editorials.  On the entertainment front I am anxiously awaiting Mad Men! The wait has been far too long. I check out the new movie reviews weekly, but don’t ask me why. I rarely agree with the critics.  Sports? meh..Then I tried to read the editorials but honestly how much more can be said about the GOP vagina monologues that has not been said already?   Rush? Really?  It would be funny if it weren’t so damn predictable and distasteful. As much as I miss the funny papers of my youth, I’m really not interested in a one way ticket back to the 60’s.  Thanks anyway, boys.

50/50

Not the movie, though I did end up seeing that and it was okay. Not the tear jerker I expected. Or maybe I’ve toughened up over the last few months. Could be. What I’m talking about are my odds of finding the write right word when I’m trying to get a thought out. I’ve always had a way with backward talking (I’m the only person I know with myface and spacebook accounts) but I always catch myself as the wrong word is slipping out. Lately who the hell knows what I’ve been babbling about?  Chemo brain?  I’m not sure if that’s even a real thing (as in medically acknowledged – trust me, I know it’s real!)  or an urban legend.   Another good term  is brain fog.  I started another blog and I’m not sure why. I got as far as naming it. Now I have to keep checking to make sure I’m in this one when I post something.  I think I was going to blog about ebay.  It’s becoming a pita to have to keep switching over and that one remains blank.  I could probably combine them, but that would take effort. Bah.  I’ll get to it.  In the meantime it’s taking me all day to accomplish the smallest thing. Like laundry. Reading is nearly impossible and watching a television program sometimes takes more than one time through if I care enough to follow the storyline.   Today I grocery shopped and was quite impressed that I remembered (almost) everything and with no list!  Then I realized I left the house with no eyebrows. FML.

The magic of ordinary days

This morning it looked like a fairyland outside. We had rain yesterday, along with snow and some sleet. This morning the trees were covered with ice and the sun was shining.

Too nice to stay put, so we went out for lunch (I had a gloriously greasy burger and fries without the usual side of guilt), did some shopping then went to see Liam Neeson’s latest movie, The Grey. It was awesome! Go see it!

Finally a trip to the book store where I cleaned house! I got 9 hardcovers and the most expensive thing was the tote I bought to carry them home in.

For the whole day I didn’t once think about cancer or treatments and I even managed to forget I was wearing a wig.  I should do this more often and there is no reason not to. Working at home has always been a bit isolating and even more so now.  Right after my treatments, even though I feel well most of the time, I don’t have to be anywhere and it seems prudent not to expose myself to the germy public in the days immediately following an infusion if I don’t have to.  Before I know it, a week has gone by and I haven’t left the house at all.  Then I have to force myself to.  I’m going to stop being so cautious and get out there more. If I get sick, I get sick.  Six months is too long to play hermit.

Today’s giggle:  I must have been on automatic pilot when I got ready to go out today.  I stepped out of the shower and saw that I had plugged in my curling iron.  I should put that away for now, along with the hairspray and gel.

Updating Netflix

When I first got my diagnosis I was about halfway through Season 1 of Breaking Bad, a story of a man diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who starts manufacturing meth to make money to leave his family.  I finished seasons 1-3 and next in line was the entire series of Six Feet Under and I’ve just finished Season 2 with 3 more to go.  I had a glance at my queue this morning and after I finish this series, next in line is 50/50 and and waiting in the wings is Season 2 of the Big C and Season 4 of Breaking bad.  Do you sense a trend?  Interspersed among all the maudlin is a lot of comedy, admittedly mostly dark comedy, and some horror and adventure as well, but a whole lot of medical drama, cancer and death.  I’ve decided to offset the morbid viewing with reading only uplifting and funny books and have just started Cool, Calm and Contentious by Merrill Markoe.  Perhaps I’ll save Love Story for another time.