I understand that maybe my last post had some people a little worried. I'm here to let you know that as true as the pain in that post was, it's just as true that this week has been pretty ok. And ok is ok.
By Monday, my mental state was quite a bit better and on Wednesday evening, I felt physically well enough to get myself out of the house for a little trip to Target. Later in the week, I was out and about for doctor appointments and small errands, and even made it to UMSL for a couple of hours to meet with Jean and a few coworkers. Today saw an old-style (meaning pre-cancer-Sara) brunch with "the gals" at Home (in Maplewood - you should go there!), followed by a visit from Angela and Leeli. (Berries and brownies and pastries, oh my!)
While the week had all those good spots, I've also been blown away by tiredness. Like, seriously, I can't get up the gumption to take out the garbage? Nope. (Don't worry, I plan to ask for some help tomorrow. It's gotta go out.) Really, getting in bed at 5pm (even though I won't be able to actually sleep till after midnight)? Yep. I overdid it a bit on errands and aggravated all the healing-in-progress with the old port site and the new one. It's been two weeks since those surgeries and there is still occasional bleeding, which is stressing me out. Who doesn't want to have to go back to the hospital/doctor for these ports again? This girl. Ugh.
Man, I didn't mean for this to turn into another downer update! This is all just really hard and that's the honest-to-goodness truth. When I have the mental capacity, I do try to look for the good parts and appreciate them, to see the bright spots. Brownies and milk, hearing Finn and Nate laugh and play in the background while I'm talking on the phone to Alexis, walking into the Touhill, sitting under a tree for hours at Fozzie's. Figuring out how to manage each day is the game right now and I guess those bright spots make me think I'm figuring it out ok.
Are you interested in some deep-thoughts rambling? During an email exchange earlier in the week, a friend asked me, "So, what does the aftermath of chemo feel like? I've never talked to somebody who's done it." I haven't responded, so he probably thinks I'm ignoring the email, but really, the question flummoxed me and has been floating around in my head for days. What does it feel like? I'm not going to answer here because, frankly, you guys got a good taste of what it feels like for me in that last post. It feels like the end of everything good. But, as I've thought about that question all week, what I've come to is this: the intensity of the experience of "aftermath" slips away slowly, shifts into these kind of shadow memories, and then I put them away because I'm gonna have to go through it again, and how could I if everything stayed fresh? So, maybe the important part of what thinking about that question brought up for me is what the wise people talk about - living in the moment. Aftermath of chemo moments suck. Like, really suck a lot. But once they're slipping away, maybe the point is to be in the moments that suck less, and then even less, and then eventually move to the ones that are ok, and then kind of good, and maybe eventually (heavens, please) there will be some that make it closer to the joy side of the spectrum? So, friend-who-asked-the-question, when I see you next, maybe I'll try to describe the physicality of what it feels like. If I were you, I'd be curious too. But, in the end what your question opened up for me is a way to remember that the aftermath is a present-tense that has passed. For now, I'll just be here in this moment, in my bed, watching the Roku logo bounce around my tv screen, worrying about my dog and my stitches and why I want to eat pot roast so bad. I'll let the aftermath be a shadow while I sit in whatever today happens to be. It's all we can do, right?
Thanks for reading and for caring and, as always, for being you.
Still just appreciating all the genuine love and support...
Ps - More about my beloved canine whose happiness-management just seems like too much for me to handle as I go through this treatment. As I mentioned before, Elgin has been staying with very generous friends in Tulsa and I need to find her a new situation in Tulsa, St. Louis, or somewhere in between. She is 8 years old, weighs about 25 pounds, and is a terrier mix. She has lived with cats, though if she moved in with some again, would need help re-learning not to chase them. She occasionally has doggy-friends, but can have a hard time meeting new dogs. She has a hard time getting comfortable with new people too, but once you're in, you're in and she'll love you forever. (She and I have that in common, I think.) I would not feel comfortable having her around small children. If she is afraid and wants some space, she can aptly warn an adult who is paying attention, but a little one might not get the message. If you know of someone who might want to foster my darling for a couple of months, drop me a line. And again, thank you. Xoxo.