This Must Be The Worse Before The Better

thumbs-down

December 11, 2012: Breast Cancer Support Group Holiday Potluck Party – otherwise known as the once-a-year gathering where those who no longer need the group on an ongoing basis bring something to eat and join the rest of us for a quick munch & gab & catch-up.

This event lands in my last week of Radiation Therapy.  To say I’m struggling is an understatement of epic proportions.

When I’m asked how I’m doing, I can barely (and sometimes not quite) keep from losing it, both with people I know from group, and those I don’t who are coming for their once-a-year appearance.

Maria is one of those people I meet who doesn’t come regularly, but comes to the party, and to whom I confess how hard things are for me just then.  It’s been years since she was in active treatment, yet she remembers seemingly like it was yesterday – I think we all do/will.

She tells me when radiation ends it gets worse, then it gets better.

I was told that the radiation is still active in my body for about 2 weeks after the last treatment.  I assumed when Maria said there’s a further dip and then things start to look up (I’m paraphrasing), that the worse would be about two weeks long and then end.

My last treatment was Friday, December 14th – 12 days ago.  I don’t feel like better is going to show up in two days.  I think I made an assumption and just realized it’s probably not a valid one.

Last weekend, Hubby had to work all weekend moving his company.  My office was closed Monday/Tuesday, as was his (providing the moving was completed enough).  When he told me he was working Saturday and Sunday (and that they would be long days), I was thrilled.

I don’t get really any meaningful time alone in my house these (general) days – with the way our schedules interact.  Being an only child (and Hubby a first-born), we both need alone time – maybe more than folks with more siblings.

Now that the absolutely overwhelming schedule of Radiation Therapy has backed off quite a bit, lots of things are flooding in, the chatter seems to have intensified:

Work: revise this, draft this, file this, fax this, answer this phone, schedule this meeting, cover for this person on vacation, etc.

Personal: check in with Mom, check in with Dad, listen to Hubby, (and with Christmas yesterday: buy this, wrap this, send this – do it all On Time), etc.

Household: dishes, laundry, pay this, stop for this, buy this online, descale the coffeemaker, clean out the fridge, manage the grocery list, etc.

And of course, everybody’s happy right now – taking vacations, giving and getting just the right gifts, opening their hearts to family and friends – and looking forward to the “fresh start” the New Year provides.

I’m not happy right now and the new year is Not a fresh start for me (as I’m only mid-way through my active treatment)  – I’m still fucking tired, on So Many Levels – physically, emotionally, FYI in case you were wondering my last pain-free day was August 12, 2012 – the day before my first surgery.  So I either feel guilty about not sharing everyone else’s joy for/with them, or am further exhausted by faking it for/with them.

I was thrilled with Hubby having to work because right now I just want to be alone.  I feel like the last six months have been a blur of overwhelming input and I just need quiet.  To get that quiet, I need to be alone and let the rest of the world’s demands go away.  I had two days of that.  I need more.

I imagine this crawling into a hole period will have some people upset – I’m going to have to try to not care.  I need to walk my talk of being selfish.

I need that quiet to process – to transform another part of the journey toward “after the first year.”

I imagine some people in my life are going to notice this difference and not like it.  Because what they think about what I’m doing is not actually about me, I’m going to have to try to not care.

I don’t know what that means for this blog in the near future, I actually don’t know what that means for a lot of aspects of my life in any (insert short-, mid-, long-term word here) future.

I guess I’ll be sitting with quiet as much as I can create it while waiting for…

thumbs_up_bciy

Upcoming Appts – as of October 11, 2012 (and Probable Holiday Impact)

This morning when my physical therapy was done, my PTher and I reconfigured my upcoming physical therapy appointments to coincide timewise and medical-needwise with my upcoming radiation therapy (which, conveniently, I have chosen to have at the same facility).  When we had rescheduled my upcoming appointments, she printed out a schedule for me so I could be sure of what was what and when was when.

My first glance at the sheet of paper must have had me looking very confused because I was very confused.  Then my PTher reminded me that it showed not just my physical therapy appointments, but all my upcoming appointments for that facility.  The sheet is attached below:

In case you’re missing the import of that – every single line on that sheet of paper is a separate appointment, all mine, and the last radiation appointment is currently scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2012.  This is my upcoming schedule, of course, if and only if my RSurg releases me to begin radiation treatment on Monday, October 29, 2012 (because I have healed from my two surgeries to her satisfaction that the radiation therapy will not seriously damage me), which RSurg appointment is currently scheduled for Friday, October 19, 2012.

If she does Not release me to radiation when I next see her because I have not healed enough for her to do so, then every appointment in the above image starting with the October 22, 2012 appointment to do a CT simulation of the radiation therapy and get my tattoos (see upcoming post “My Boob Is Not the Mona Lisa!”) and continuing to the bottom of the page will be pushed however many weeks she decides I still need to heal before starting this next phase of treatment.

And now we get to the second part of this post’s title – Holiday Impact.  Please take notice that while I will (hopefully) be aware of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as they come and go this year, I likely will be spending the majority of the next three months or so attending doctors appointments and treatments, working, and sleeping.  I therefore will likely not be:

– giving candy to the kiddies on Halloween (OK, because of where I live I really don’t ever do this anyway)
– giving any thought whatsoever to a Halloween costume this year
– participating in any Halloween parties at work or elsewhere
– cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner (OK, another thing I don’t really ever do anyway)
– cooking anything at all to take to any Thanksgiving dinner I may manage to attend
– bringing a Hostess Gift to any social occasion at all I manage to attend
– buying, writing, stamping and/or mailing holiday cards
– OR
– choosing, shopping for, buying, wrapping and/or delivering holiday gifts – for anybody at all in my life

In other words, I’m giving myself this Holiday Season off – I simply don’t have the time or energy.

And for anyone who is hurt and/or offended by the above comments, or thinks it’s not a big deal and I’m being a wuss – you’re welcome to come keep me company at all thirty-two (32) of those consecutive 8:00am weekday appointments (not including physical therapy and other doctors’ appointments during that same 6-1/2 week period), and then we can both go do a full day’s work after that.  Comment and leave me your email, I’ll share the location with you privately.  🙂