Dec. 14th, 2014
I’m in a black hole. I don’t know what’s more important any more: to preserve My life, or fix those lives around me that I love as much or even more. I have no control over either, it seems. It seems like just yesterday that I was able to control something… but now, all that mattered, falls at angles I’ve never seen, thus I have no idea how to straighten them out! It’s as if I’m in another world.
The two people I spoke at length with the most on a daily basis, almost feel as if they’ve disappeared off the planet; my planet. My mom and my best friend, who collectively have been in the hospital for the last 4 ½ months. My mom still can’t talk, due to a trach tube embedded in her neck, while also attached to a ventilator and my best friend is too weak to carry on the way we did on the phone, for hours at a time, after suffering from a stroke. I’m lucky if he can offer a minute or two. It certainly has my head spinning in the opposite direction from where I began. In fact, I’m not sure where the beginning is any more; pre-cancer or during-cancer. We all got sick chronologically, so the world took on a different dimension for me.
The part that is so disconcerting is that I have a potentially fatal disease, and I was fully prepared to explain away to all, that I can’t help it… I didn’t plan on it… I did nothing to deserve it, and if I die- please know that I love you and don’t take it personally! My intent was and is to try like the dickens to beat it! It seems easier to do when those you love are strong and supportive. When they unexpectedly drop from their own illnesses that were unforeseen… what happens to the “support team?” Does it sound selfish that I feel so alone because of their “now you see me, now you don’t,” similarities? I can’t help it! Everyone told me ahead of time to make sure I had my SUPPORT TEAM during chemo! I did what I was told to do, and I leaned on them when needed. Did I lean too hard? I almost feel like the evil force that they came in contact with was because of my doing. Crazy as it sounds, they were mine. They were the ones that kept me afloat when I felt I was losing durability. That extra spin cycle in the wash that you use to make the clothes dry faster, maybe I used them up by trying to get well faster, and they both got sick.
It’s the writer in me that allows myself to think in these ways; I’m not crazy but I do allow my imagination to go into that “overdrive cycle.” It will be the death of me… not the cancer. For goodness sake, I still think there are alligators under my bed from when I was 6!
Many say to me, “Wow! You’re half way through, look how well you’ve done with your chemo!” I smile, as I think about those around me that are no longer around me… and silently, in my head I try to explain, “Yes, I’m half way through with the EASY half! I’m entering into the half I’ve not yet seen. The part that steals your eyebrows, lashes, energy and will.” This is the side of chemo that all other women I’ve spoken with that have had cancer and lived through it – have experienced. This explains the knowing looks they give me when they’ve seen me with energy and filled with smiles; it explains the question my doctor keeps asking over and over, “any loss of feeling in your toes or fingers?” Now I understand. This is the half of chemo that takes you by total surprise; the part that laughs at you when you think you know what to expect!
I GIVE. I admit: I don’t know what’s coming on a day to day basis. When the littlest changes occur, the things these other women knew that I didn’t… I can’t share it with my support team! They are now more sick than me! It’s almost as if the cancer was so pissed off after being removed from my insides, that it is retaliating by playing havoc with my loved ones. I want to race in front of it to face it- and “bitch-slap” it back into position; Stay where you are, you filthy disease, and take your claws out of them! Work your powers on Me- not Them! No, I’m not a martyr at all, I’m just trying to understand the relevance of this poor timing on the people I love.
“I’m leaving on a jet plane…” after spending the weekend with my mom while she’s still in the hospital, wondering if I’ll ever see her again. I was shocked into silence when I saw her after just two months prior, but I quickly regained my composure and listened to all she had to say, as she mouthed the words that couldn’t be spoken, due to still relying on a ventilator, I lied when she asked how I was because what mother wants to know that their child isn’t holding up as well as they expected, and I told her stories to make her laugh and giggle! “Robin Stories,” that are next to impossible for most. It was so good to see her laugh! I showed her pictures of the kids… told her about work, about my friend… about my love life…. Until I ran out of things I thought would interest her. Then she looked at me and asked the question: “Robin, how ARE you?” I was speechless. I shrugged my shoulders, looked the other way as if distracted, and said, “Compared to you Mom? I’m just fine! Can we please talk about getting you off of these damned machines?”
When do we reach the age where we can finally fool our own moms? We thought we could when we were 16; but in our 50’s? The fact that we still try is beyond comprehension! Do we EVER grow up while we still have our parents? I think there’s a part of us that remains on hold until they go.
The cancer is still a part of my life and lately I feel the safest on the days when I go for chemo. I know it’s being zapped, … I know what my numbers are and then I live from day to day until the following chemo session! I worry about what it’ll be like when it’s over! Now THAT’S crazy.
Please continue to say prayers for those I love and throw in one or two for you! You matter to me, very much!
Much love and kisses too- my plane is about to land.