Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Iron Woman

I've been doing my best to hide it, but I've been especially exhausted lately. Six months of chemo and two surgeries have finally caught up with me, and I'm officially very anemic (although it's getting better). At least there's a physical explanation for my lack of get-up-and-go. I'm taking iron supplements daily now, and at some point they're supposed to make me feel like myself again. Which reminds me: I need to buy more iron supplements.

Exercise has also been off the table since I broke my arm in January, so that probably isn't helping my energy levels. I know it's not helping my mood. I will probably get clearance from my plastic surgeon to start aerobic activity again right around the time temperatures reach triple digits here in Phoenix. Murphy's Law.

You know what else causes exhaustion? Two year olds. It's a fact. Ask your doctor if you don't believe me. Yes, we have daycare during the week, and yes, I feel guilty that I probably need it even though I definitely need it because of that whole full-time job thing. I am honestly not sure I could keep up with this perpetual motion machine all of the time while totally healthy, let alone while recovering from chemo and surgery. It doesn't help that my right side is essentially useless at the moment.
Also, we've moved into our new home (which I love, don't get me wrong), but trying to shop for furniture and organize a kitchen and hang pictures and do all of the things that one needs to do when moving into a new home is a gargantuan feat with a two-year-old around. You might as well try to organize your paperwork for tax season outside in the middle of a tornado. Plus, everyone knows that riding tricycles around the block is way more fun than putting together Ikea furniture. 

Chris told me last night that he feels like we're running just to stay in place lately. 

But seriously, are all moms this tired? Are all two-year-olds this active? On Sunday morning, we walked around the zoo for two straight hours with friends and their toddler, spent another couple of hours walking around Ikea (because assembling furniture with allen wrenches is the key to a stress free weekend -- trust me, really! wink, wink. also, I promise this post isn't sponsored by Ikea), hoped Q would fall asleep in the car ride home (but he didn't), tried for a nap once we were home (but failed), went to the grocery store where Q practiced yoga, and still he would. not. sleep.
And two year olds need naps. Blah blah brain development blah. It's also about their mood swings. Their very melodramatic, Oscar-worthy mood swings, described so perfectly by Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com here (even though she's talking about her three year old):

Because here’s the thing: MARLO. She’s the thing. She’s a kicking, screaming, should have stopped at the tenth shot of tequila and is determined to convince you she is not drunk thing.

Pretty much sums it up. But then five minutes later? It's all giggles and "Mama, read this read!" and sometimes I swear we should have named him Jekyll. Or Hyde. Can we all at least agree that two year olds are lucky they're cute?

I also suspect that my not being able to hold him these past few weeks is taking a toll. No, I don't think I'm doing any lasting damage to his emotional development here. But I do think that in the short-term, he's not getting what he wants and is acting out because of it. If this were just him asking for a toy at the checkout line, I'd say, "Tough luck, kid," and be done with it. But all he really wants is his mama to hold him, and I can't. It is so hard.

And again I want to say, "Screw you, cancer." This is just one more instance of cancer interfering with my life in ways that are not one bit welcome.

When I was pregnant, I knew parenting was going to be a challenge from time to time. I expected that. I just didn't expect this particular set of challenges. I certainly didn't expect cancer. And I didn't expect having to have my surgery redone, in part because I've been lucky not to have many complications since my diagnosis (other than, you know, the recurrence thing). I am still not completely used to this two steps forward one-half step back way of life that seems to come with the territory of having a chronic illness. I still wake up some days expecting my doctors to say, "Just kidding. Our tests were wrong. That wasn't really cancer. Our mistake."

Until that day, I am really looking forward to about a month from now when I will have the permission (and hopefully the energy) to hold my son again.

1 comment:

  1. Parenting is exhausting. Cancer is exhausting. Moving is exhausting. My hat is tipped to woman who is doing an amazing job of juggling it all--and a full-time job!