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…