Friday, January 29, 2016

Who wears a wig to Pilates anyway?

Wasn't it just Christmas? Where did January go? How are the Seahawks not in the Super Bowl?

I've spent January mourning the losses in our metastatic community, trying to enjoy sleep-deprived new-puppy-parenthood, briefly visiting my brother and his family in Spokane, and making room for a few other advocacy endeavors I've got going (stay tuned!) Not to mention start-of-the-year doctors' visits, dental check-ups, and a biopsy of a weird spot on my elbow thanks to an overly-cautious dermatologist.

I haven't found much time to collect my thoughts these past few weeks. I've been waiting for my words to come back. Waiting for my anger to subside.

Related, I find, to letting go of some anger is me trying to work on my patience. It was my one resolution for 2016. As one mama put it on

"Nothing is more important than the right now, so focus on right now." Yes, a million times this.

Last night I dreamt that I had a bad PET scan, even though I'm not due to cross that bridge for another couple of months. I dreamt that I had to start broad-spectrum chemo again, that I was losing my hair but didn't tell anyone until my friend noticed I was wearing a wig at Pilates. I woke myself up crying. Scared. Angry. Quinn was in our bed, between Chris and me, and I snuggled up against him, inhaling his little boy scent, feeling the reality of his warmth and the steadiness of his breath until I was able to steady my own. It was -- for now -- just a bad dream.

Nothing is more important than the right now, even at 3:30 in the morning. But, man, do cancer and mortality and friends dying know how to mess with a girl's subconscious. My nurse (and friend) at my infusion center tells me there's a pattern to these deaths, that she's been doing this long enough to know January is the worst. People set goals for the holidays.

In that case, I'm setting a goal for Christmas of 2074.

I hope to get back to some sort of regularity here sometime soon, but in the meantime I've been busy focusing on the right now -- busy with soccer practices and birthday parties and puppy hikes (much shorter than regular hikes) and trying to think of ways to better serve this metastatic community to which I belong. As I said, I have some things brewing. I hope they'll pan out. I hope they'll make you guys proud. Please bear with me.

Monday, January 11, 2016

I Can't Thank You Enough

So it appears I really DID run out of words for a bit.

I've calmed down a little, but then I have moments -- frequent, frequent moments -- where I am not okay all over again. My grief and fear come out in irritability, anxiety, and more goddammits than I'd like to admit. I find myself out of patience more often than not, short with Chris (or worse, Quinn) more than I'd like, and then hard on myself for how shitty these episodes make me feel.

This weekend, Chris was out of town and our new puppy peed on the kitchen floor approximately 45 paper towels' worth of times and Quinn might be going through a growth spurt because he wants to eat all of the things all of the time. And -- oh, man -- his whininess. And my grouchiness. And and and.

Our cat is on Prozac, and this weekend, I thought of borrowing a couple of his pills for myself. (I'm joking. Kind of.)

Last night, Quinn needed help brushing his teeth, and called for me. I was moving the dog's crate into my bedroom and didn't respond immediately. My hands were full. Quinn got cranky and snapped at me a couple of seconds later, a full-on yell with a little bit of desperation in his voice: "MOM, I SAID I NEEDED HELP!!" I was already on my way to his bathroom door, showed up a second later, and asked him to remember his patience. "I'm doing the best I can, buddy."

But am I really? I yelled approximately eighteen times yesterday, exhausted and at the end of my rope and just over it.

Quinn is my mirror. These are my faults reflected back at me. Sometimes I really don't like what I see.

My resolution for 2016? Work on my patience. Breathe more. Be mindful in my relationships at home. See less of "mean mommy," who is angry and scared and prone to swearing in front of her 4-year-old, sometimes about dog pee, which is really not his fault in the slightest.


On the drive to my oncologist's office this morning, I listened to Diane Rehm interview Carly Simon about her memoir Boys in the Trees. Simon was talking about a song she co-wrote with her son after an argument between them in which he'd said something quite hurtful. He'd immediately followed her upstairs to apologize. She was crying, and sat down with her guitar to come up with the first verse of "I Can't Thank You Enough." When she sang it to him, he asked if he could help write the rest of it.

So of course I was a blubbering idiot driving to my doctor's office (where I'm now sitting getting my thrice-weekly infusion of Kadcyla). But this came exactly when I needed it, and might be the song I request to dance with Quinn at his wedding. In the meantime, I'll listen to it when I need a reminder to be more careful with my words...or a good cry.