Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Just Like the Old Days

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Just like a typical off-kilter day pre-cancer, today I felt frustrated, unable to quite harness my time. The weather was restless, blustery, warm, spitting rain. I had surprisingly good energy but no trust that it would last, nor a clear trajectory in which to burn it off. Rather than plan, I drifted from one "I should do this" to another. Yes, I was crossing chores from my list, but not the ones that required real concentration or determination, not the ones that mattered most, and with good hours squandered along the way thanks to procrastination and indecision.

I rode the spin-bike instead of risking the run I craved in a downpour. Hours later, still no real rain in sight, I took the dog for a walk, only to get caught out in a downpour after all.

I even woke up wrong, to Millie barking in the yard and a bad dream fresh in mind, in which both my husband and I had taken up cigarette smoking. I became aware in turn that his smoking, unlike mine, was more than occasional, and that he was unwilling to address the stress underlying the habit. In fact, he wouldn't even look at me. I began to think maybe I couldn't stay in the relationship, and then it occurred to me that perhaps, unable to tell me he didn't want to be with me anymore, he was trying to drive me away. I saw myself in the mirror as this realization washed over me. My face was gray, my eyes were desolate, and my right breast, the one that no longer exists, was encrusted with boils.

Late this afternoon I bought chocolate, ate too much, felt sick, and had a big, long, overdue cry with one of my counselors. I also talked to my husband, who assured me he is not smoking and does not want out.


Lessons learned:

1. Make a plan. As an artist and a self-employed person solely responsible for structuring my days (almost), this is especially important. Tonight I will take ten minutes to think about tomorrow, to make some notes about my goals and priorities for the day.

2. Reassess, revise, and release the plan. Regularly. As a cancer patient, I need to do this more than ever. Something may sound right tonight, but tomorrow, the energy may be different.

3. Have fun. An old friend wrote on Facebook recently that she finally figured out how to get everything on her To Do list done: only put fun things on the list. This may not always be practical or possible, but it's worth striving for!

6 comments:

pasmithx2 said...

I'm glad that chemo #8 was not as bad as your last one. I could feel your stress as it is challenging to get an IV into my arm too. Only having one arm to offer up makes it worse. Here's to easy IV's from here on in. P.

Kerry said...

Bad days happen no matter what! Sorry you had a bad dream! You're right...make plans and then be prepared to change them! I live that way all the time now and 'going with the flow' is my new mantra...wishing you Peace kiddo!

Shafeenaaz said...

Amy, that place by the beach, in a hammock under a palm tree has a name: Mauritius.

And October is the best time to visit :)

I'd love to show you around :)
S

Anonymous said...

Amy, as a stage IV breast cancer patient and an oncology nurse, I can feel how much you are struggling. The oncology nusre in me wants you to know that here at Dana Farber we also would not let you take less pre meds. We have seen too many patients have fatal reactions to ever take that chance. The breast cancer patient in me wants you to know you are lucky to not be a number, as i feel, even in my own surroundings. And the human being in me is wishing you peace to settle your constant questioning mind....Sarah

Anonymous said...

Your writing is getting really good!

Wow, no-one has ever offered to show me around Mauritius.
Jane

Anonymous said...

Hey girl, I like number 3, but hate that you had that bad dream. Take it easy and try not to be too hard on yourself.
Love u!!
MH-