My Dad starts his first round of chemo tomorrow and I just don’t know how I feel. I don’t really have anyone to talk to save A and my feelings seem to be all over the place. I started crying on the train yesterday as I was reading and cancer came up. The heroine in the book was saying how awful her chemo was and I just couldn’t really handle it. It made me realize that this was my Dad’s last weekend before he beings six, long months of chemotherapy.
When I found out that he had cancer, I was upset naturally but…I had so much going on with me that I don’t know if I really processed it. I went into problem solving mode and dealt with it rather cooly to avoid a full meltdown like I’d had weeks prior due to my own chaos. When I was in Maine for a bit, he found out more about what treatment would entail. They found swollen lymph nodes in his neck, groin, chest and armpits as well as in his bone marrow and I guess that’s when it really hit me. He doesn’t just have a cancerous growth, he has lymphoma. As he talked about how careful he would have to be with himself to avoid infection, it hit me harder and I did my best to not react negatively, even though my heart hurt. They will have to really hit his immune system hard since it is not localized, but lymphoma. The doctors have been positive and say it responds well, but if it was your father, would you be able to really take that at face value?
He can’t fish, for fear of getting a hook in his hand. He has to wash his garden veggies even more stringently than he normally does. He has to be careful about people with colds or flus coming over. He can’t handle firewood without gloves, for fear of a splinter. Now, if you know my Dad at all (which I realize most of you don’t…) he lives in a log cabin on 25 acres of woods. It’s dusty. It’s dirty. I worry.
I worry about what 10 days on then 10 days off will be like for him. I wonder how sick he will be and if he needs more help than he has. I wonder how he will pay for it all in the end, without medical insurance. I worry that he’ll get frail and too soft. I just…worry. Six months of 10-day increments. Six months of no immunity. Of sickness and pain. I just…it hurts.
I just…I feel like I’m a mixture of things. One moment I’ll be happy exploring New York, the next? I am overwhelmed. There is no telling when, where or why this will happen. It just…does. Today I just want to be alone. Even A isn’t helpful or comforting yet I find myself screaming for that comfort. That love. Today I find myself missing some people in my life SO dearly, those I was close to and am now distant from. I find myself struggling as I battle needing to go pick up a few things with not wanting to move the car lest we drive around for days on end to find a parking spot. I realize life is consistently a balancing act, but jesus.
A quick moment too, to say thank you for all the support you’ve poured out to me in the last month. I feel ungrateful to be so needy, but honestly. Every last word has meant SO MUCH to me. To be able to reach out and get some cheering, a hug and some genuine love and support has been just unbelievable. I know how much I lay awake worrying when one of you is struggling, or something I see reminds me of one of you, so I can only imagine how true and sincere you all are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Honestly.
Yesterday I felt pretty good. Pretty accomplished. We put together my kitchen, the bathroom, a couch and chair. The apartment is starting to feel liveable. There’s a mile-long list of things we ‘need’ or would like to have. Some as little as a drawer organizer and some as large as a table and chairs. But there’s a list that feels like it is CONSTANTLY on my head. I’ve been looking online at curtains and bedding until my eyes go cross eyed, trying to shop at places my family has offered to order and ship from. I am TIRED. My feet ache from the hardwoods and my head feels cluttered from the sound of the fans and air conditioning unit. By the way, a quick AMEN for the air conditioner. Holy hannah. I wouldn’t have lasted this long. (Speaking of heat, I clearly am an outsider. All of New York is in pants, HOODIES…I just can’t even comprehend this. I am in dresses and tanks and shorts and am a virtual slick of grease and sweat as the humidity clings to me. I know. I’m a delicate flower)
Anyway. This is all a jumble but like I said, I just feel like I’m all over the place right now and am not sure how to manage it all. I feel stupid whining like this. I feel like, some have it SO much worse than I do. I am lucky. I have family support. A husband. I feel somehow ungrateful to speak like this but what else do I do right now?
Also? My aging but beloved cat with kidney issues has started peeing on furniture. Yeah. Not good. I’ve dealt with her having accidents on the floor etc but now I just can’t handle it. Unfortunately, I know what this means. I can’t spend a few grand on surgery again for her, so I either deal with this, or I have to put her down. This is what I’m thinking of today, on the eve of my Dad’s cancer treatment. Having to put my fur baby down. I’m tearing up as I write this because it all just feels like too much and I wish I had friends nearby that would let me cry. I’m quick to stop up my tears most often, for fear of pushing others away, but I really just need someone to let me get it out. To sincerely care for me and let me let it out. I’m not so good at asking for the help. I mean, I’m kind of awful at asking for the help I actually need, which is someone to dig it out of me. Someone to really ask what’s going on, and not expect a superficial answer, because I’m pretty good at giving those if it means keeping everything intact on the inside.
I love my family, but their motto in life is “Buck up!” so not very helpful when I need to cry and express my fears, sadness and worry. I’m just not sure where to go. I know things will even out and I’ll find my groove. I know it. In the meantime? What to do is the question. I want to do something for me in all of this. I have just enough money sitting in my personal account to sign up for the doula course I have been wanting to take but am too scared to dump it into this one thing before I’ve found a job, a steady source of regular income. I want to JUMP into the doula work but at the same time, my fears and worry about keeping that extra ‘nest egg’ hold me back under the name ‘rational thinking’.
So, there you have it friends. I am here. Some days are good. Some days are bad and others are just confusing. I am bone tired from this journey. From the packing, the unpacking, the hotels, the travel, the hardwoods, the walking, the shopping, the constant feeling of ‘needing’ things. I am tired of the emotions raging through me, the fears, the worry, the huge highs that come crashing into fearful lows. I feel turned around and upside down. I want to pray, but don’t even know who to pray TO at this point. I just feel like begging for breath, for air and for compassion. Begging for a break from my sensitive self. I feel like such a whiny, complaining…thing saying all this. Worrying at how it will come out. But…this is where I’m at.
I moved across the continent. I struggled in my marriage. I need to find a job after two years of not working. My Dad has lymphoma. His other daughter doesn’t speak to him, even after I have told her about his illness and I might have to put my best friend to sleep.
Then, I see a woman on a train, asking for money and food for her and her baby and I tear up. It hits me and suddenly I feel selfish and self-indulgent to be able to sit here and complain with food in my fridge and a bed to sleep in. But here I am.