A Post. Can you believe it? I actually wrote a post.

Published by pam on Wed, 07/04/2012 - 5:29pm


So, it's been a while.  I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading.  But, everyday I seem to find myself composing a blog post in my head and then never finding the time to write it.  It's 11:30 and I should be going to sleep, but I'm going to do my best to write instead.  The fact that I'm still awake and that my days are too full to write should tell you a lot.  


Yes, there were days in the last month when I was simply too tired to write.  And there were days when my head was too cloudy write.  Now, I tell myself I am too busy to write.  But truthfully, I, like most writers, will do almost anything to avoid writing. 


But I'm feeling great.  It's hard for me to believe that a few short weeks ago, I felt the need to sleep every afternoon.  And what a sleep it was - like a black hole that would suck me in to a dark and dreamless place.  Waking up was like emerging from a tar pit.  I might have been able to fall asleep instantly, but waking up took an hour.  


But two weeks after the adriamyacin/cytoxin ended, so did the haze.  And I feel great.  


I still get 'the look'.  "How are you?," people ask, heads tilted slightly to the side, voices lowered as though the mere sound of the question might wound me further.  "I'm fine," I tell them.  "I've had periods worse than this."  And it's true.  


Is it like this for most people?  I don't know.  There were four hard weeks, and even those didnt seem so hard at the time.  I just needed a lot of sleep, and my mind seemed a little dull.  Everything seemed a little dull.  But it passed and now i feel remarkably strong.  In someways, I  feel more fiercely confident than I did before.  I'm painfully aware of how easy it is to waste time on things that aren't important.  Maybe it's all the walking.  Maybe it's the incredibly supportive community around me.  But it's clear what is most important and it is much easier to push all the other stuff aside.  


That is one of the upsides of this experience, but its not the only one.  The longer this goes on, the more confident I am in playing the cancer card.  I can't do everything, and frankly, sometimes I just don't want to.  I can say 'no'.  People expect it.    There is no remorse in paring down one's responsibilities.  Especially when there is a child at home waiting to watch Desperate Housewives.


And you know that large popcorn you get at the movies?   Haven't you always wanted them to split it into two bags.  It's easier to eat.  Everyone gets the amount of salt and butter they want.  The butter/salt has the chance to migrate to the bottom of the bag because it is possible to shake the bag when the it is only half full.  But none of those awkward teenagers behind the snack counter would ever consider splitting a bag it before.  That was against the rules..  'But,' I tell them.  'I am a cancer patient.  I'm not supposed to share germs.  Pleeeeeeease.  Won't you split the bag?'.  Needless to say, they always do. 


No point in feeling guilty about drinking two giant bottles of San Pellegrino a day .  I'm supposed to drink as much water as I can hold.  Every chemo patient is.  But it's particularly important for me.  I only have one kidney.  Flushing the chemo through is really, really important.  When I discovered that San Pelligrino had just the right amount of carbonation and seemed to go down so easily, I stocked up.  It's cheaper than dialysis.  And those nectarines that are so good this time of year, but still quite expensive?  Well, they might not be doing anything for my kidney, but they have all kinds of nutrients in addition to the fact that with each bite, they make the world seem like a more wonderful place.  


More upsides:  Well, When you look like a chemo patient, people don't sneeze on you.  They understand when you excuse yourself from a conversation. You`re tired, they tell themselves, not bored.  They get out of your way at the supermarket or in line at the bookstore.  Looking like a chemo patient is a little like driving a truck that way.  It doesn't take long before you find yourself  growing accustomed to having the right-of-way.  So, when some guy at the supermarket check out line does cut in front of you, there is no guilt in scowling.  He should know what he's done is wrong.  Very very wrong.


So, I am officially half way though my chemo - by treatments, not by weeks.  I'm a little more than half way by weeks.  Tomorrow will be taxol-herceptin treatment number 5.  There are twelve total and then it will be time for radiation.  There are lots of things to worry about, but there doesn't seem to be any point in worrying right now.  Right now,  I'm enjoying having the right-of-way.  I'm enjoying my half-bags of popcorn.  I'm enjoying saying yes when I want to and ducking out to be with my family when I don't.  


Life is good.  


There's a shirt that says so.





There may be a shirt that says "life is good," and it is, though life is so much better when those we love think so, too. It's great to read your post and hear your voice and know you're up to scowling at the line-cutters!  And yes, we're still reading. And yes, we hold our breath a moment when there's no post and we exhale when there is and we smile, a big smile, when we read this one. CAN'T WAIT to see you in a couple of weeks!  I hope the honeysuckle hummingbird is here to greet you while you're here as it was this morning, making us think of you and look forward to the Shor Family Arrival in the Shor Rooms.

With luck, we will be on the road by 1:00 and I will have slept off the bbenadryl. 

Pam, I am just catching up on the latest posts and now that I have a moment to think (end of school is always a blur, then a week without internet in Maine), I have been thinking about you guys a lot.  In fact, I was recently saying to Tim that I had to figure out a time sometime in the next year (February? April?)  to get to Seattle and see you guys --even if it's for one day...  
You sound pretty good right now -- it's reading between the posts that I imagine all the really hard times.  Hitting the halfway mark must feel pretty great.
I love reading your writing and was excited to hear about the book possibility (not sure where that stands now).  You have such a strong, distinctive voice and I don't want you to give up on the book thing! (Okay, maybe don't tell Marc I told you that.)
Hang in there and give my love to all your family.  I will be following Ryann's college plans closely in hopes that we can be her "East Coast parents."
love and sorry for the long silence,

Ryann is at carelton this week doing a summer writing program.  We're not sure she's ever coming home.  She seems to have found her niche.  We look forward to seeing you at some point next year,  even if there aren't college visits to plan.

Yes, we're still out here.  And as your friends and family, we know and understand that you'll write when/if you can and when/if you feel like it!!  That's your prerogative!
So we'll look forward to your next post...and wait patiently if it's a long wait.
Debra & Jeff