Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Words of Wisdom

Chris and I got into an argument the other night; it revolved around a recurring theme of me not using my words (and expecting him to know, intuitively, what I want) and him - well, not being a mind-reader. As Chris and I talked it out after the fact, though, other issues emerged: my fear of standing on my own wobbly feet post-treatment, his surprise that I don't walk around feeling like a badass-who-stomped-all-over-cancer 100% of the time. On a side note, I sort of love that this is what he expects from me. For Chris, our talk shed light on my vulnerability. All along I thought it was so obvious, how close to the surface my emotions have been bubbling.

I'd reached out to another survivor recently, and the morning after this argument I heard back from her. She emailed to say she's in her second remission and doing well on experimental, mostly non-toxic drugs. She also happened to mention that her marriage was on the rocks, in no small thanks to cancer, which I think is just plain toxic no matter which drugs you're taking. I called Chris almost immediately.

"I don't want cancer to ruin our marriage."

"I don't want cancer to do anything," he responded. Fair point.

On a somewhat related note, I've been having a conversation with a wise friend I met through cancer about how much our worlds have flipped upside down in the last year. She has a little girl who's a week younger than Quinn. And a couple of the things she said in our most recent exchange stuck with me: one, having a baby and going through cancer are two of the most life-changing events a person can experience, and we went through them at the same time, so it's tough to tell which changes are caused by parenthood and which are a result of cancer -- and it doesn't really matter.

The second thing she said was that she keeps learning and learning and learning again that we have to live in the now. It's not the easiest thing to do; there is a huge part of me that cheers every passing day as a day further removed from cancer. I'm looking forward to celebrating my victory at the 5-, 10-, 25-year marks and beyond. On the other hand and at the risk of sounding like a cliche, time passes so very quickly. I can't quite believe Quinn is old enough to blow me kisses good-bye in the morning, and I don't want to lose sight of the gifts in front of me because I'm too busy waiting for another "cancerversary" to pass.

Speaking of Quinn, he spiked a fever that reached almost 103 last Friday. He was sent home from daycare, pale and with red-rimmed eyes that looked like he'd spent all night at a rave. By Saturday, just as we'd gotten the fever under control, he broke out in a rash up and down his fat little legs. There was a confirmed case of hand-foot-mouth disease at daycare; Quinn appeared to have calf-thigh-wrist disease.

He was cranky most of the weekend, didn't have much of an appetite, and wasn't sleeping all that well, waking up crying even before 6 o'clock, which is too damn early on a Saturday, even if Chris and I did go to sleep at 9:45 on Friday. Poor Bug clearly didn't feel well enough to sleep any longer.

All of this to say that Chris and I are exhausted. Parenting is hard work. I don't know if it's any harder in a post-cancer world, except our emotions are incredibly raw, so maybe our ability to cope is compromised in a way it wouldn't otherwise be. Going forward, we have promised each other to try to use our words. It's hard enough with one member of the household pointing at everything saying "Ba!"

No comments:

Post a Comment