Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Want to Run Away!

All this week, I've been wanting to run away.

Monday night, I found myself plotting and scheming.  If I work until my contract ends on July 1, and I raid the fund I reserved for the down payment on my next house, I could climb back into the camper van for the six months still OWED to me by the Universe, and ...

My inner two year-old is pouting big time, but I've had to veto this scheme of hers.

You see, there's a big difference between leaving and running away.

When I left in the camper van last fall, I was taking a break.  I'd thought through what I really wanted to do with my time for the next year - and that was to 'do' nothing.  I wanted to be; I wanted to rest.

I did all of that for too short a spell - and had a glorious time.

If I left again this next summer, I'd be running from I'm not sure what.  From my cancer.  From car payments and bills.  From responsibility.  From getting up to the beep of the alarm each day.

It sounds good on the surface.  Really good.  Unfortunately, life has shown me that running away doesn't work so well in the long run.  My troubles have an uncanny knack for following me if I run; sneaking around from behind and then laying themselves across the path in front of me, so I stumble across them just when I think I've left them in the dust.  I have yet to come to peace with an issue by not facing it; by running from whatever lesson life is trying to teach me.  For me to resolve my problems and move on, I have to face them.

I hate that part.

I don't want to be grown up and responsible.  I want to believe in greener grass and that life on the other side of the mountain is better than life here could ever be.  But, I don't.  I guess it's part of that elusive gift of wisdom that theoretically comes with growing older.  Or, maybe, it's nothing so venerable as wisdom.  Maybe, I've just made enough mistakes to know when I'm about to get burned, and have learned to avoid the flames.

Either way, I don't think I'll be throwing all the cards up in the air again -- at least, I won't be doing it next year.  Another few years down the road, and I may well be singing a new song...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Now, That's Better!

Today, I finally had both the time and the energy to finally exercise again, after ten weeks on the wagon.

My shoulders haven't been so happy in over a month - and tonight, for the first time in ages, my muscles won't be complaining as I go to bed.

It'll take me a while to regain my exercise addiction, but today's fix felt great!  Instant antidepressant.

It's been a good weekend.

I got to sleep in both days.  (That almost qualifies it as a good weekend right there.)
I got my house cleaned, and aired out (thanks to the cool breeze coming through).
I got my laundry and grocery shopping done.  (Aren't I just the best little do-bee?)
I saw friends, went for walks, and thoroughly enjoyed this first day of autumn.
I read a good murder mystery (an excellent way to take one's mind of one's problems, if I do say so myself).

I can even contemplate going into work tomorrow without wanting to crawl under the bed and stay there.

I've spent some time just thinking.  Same old stuff.  Who am I and where am I going?  Do I know?  Am I going where I want to go?  The scare of the cancer's subsided for now - what do I want to do with these next few years of my life?

My cancer has given me a new awareness that continued healthy living is not a given.  As much as I don't like to think about it, cancer comes back, and no one (yet) know why.  Given all that, am I spending my life in a manner such that, if I found it had come back tomorrow, I would be content with how I had spent the last healthy days I had?

As awful as it sounds, and as much as I hate to admit it, part of me just wishes it would come back, and I could deal with the reality instead of my fears.  Reality, I can face head on and fight.  Fears, whispers and rumors are hard.  If my hip aches, is it bone cancer, or just that I stretched it too far?  If I cough, is it lung cancer, or just a side-effect of my allergies?  I do tend to dwell on the sane and easy answers, but the fear still lurks in the background.

I have a good friend who's just celebrated her one-year anniversary after diagnosis.  Unlike my cancer, hers has stolen the greater part of her life.  They've treated it aggressively with chemo, but while the tumors shrink each time - and when they don't, they switch up chemo regimes - she has yet to be declared even temporarily cancer-free.  The side-effects of the chemo have cost her much - she is yet unable to return to work, and some of the damage from the side effects will never go away.

Why her and not me?

I know - some things are not for us to know.  But it still doesn't make sense, dammit!  It's just not fair!

Be still,
and know,
that I am God.

stop.  breathe.  relax.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


I'm working on this concept of reestablishing my boundaries at work, and for the most part it's working.

Last week, I left on time two out of three days, and the third was one of those days that just happens in IT where something breaks near the end of the day, and you need to stay and fix it.

Especially if you plan, as I did, on leaving town the next morning.

I went to Minnesota last weekend.  Even though the drive was long, it was worth it to get my baby fix in.

She's SO CUTE!  She's started walking, hands held out, ready to catch herself when she falls, which she does with some frequency.  Thresholds are a challenge, cornering will come next, but neither daunts her.  She just picks herself up and moves on.

Oh, I also saw much of the rest of my family at a gathering for my stepmother, who made one of her rare but welcome appearances in town.  I talked fast, ate a lot, was glad to see and be seen, and felt like I didn't get to spend enough time with anyone - typical for me at our family gatherings.  I leave wishing I could have spent just a few more minutes with this person and that, hearing just a bit more about what's going on in their lives.  Did I mention that baby was also there?  She was SO CUTE!

Dang, but it was hard to drive away Sunday afternoon, knowing it'll be 2-3 months before I see her again, and I'll have to start all over again to earn her trust.  Fortunately for me, her mother rarely lets her have chocolate, which means she's easily bribed.

For whatever reason, until I returned home, I'd blocked my annual remembrance of Mom's death.  She died 35 years ago on 9/7.  I think it struck just a little too close to home this year.  I want my cancer story to have a different ending - but the beginnings are awfully similar.  Cancer that looks very treatable, removed and apparently gone.  There are a number of key differences - Tamoxifen is a big one.  The drug helps keep the cancer from establishing itself anywhere else, and wasn't yet available when she got sick.  But it still scares me - her bone cancer seemed to come out of nowhere, just about the time she was out of the woods.  I don't think I'll truly breathe easily until I've passed that magic five-year mark - a mark she didn't come close to reaching.

So here's to being healthy enough to make the drive to MN, so I could celebrate family and life and chances to see babies just learning to walk.  Now, if I can keep me leaving work on time for the next few weeks, I may even begin to regain some of my energy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So Tired!

OK.  I think I pushed it just a bit too far.

In the five weeks I worked between returning to school after my surgery and Labor Day weekend, I put in a little over 80 hours of overtime.

I was driven - I wanted to get those iPads ready to go.  And I did it.

But I'm not so sure my doctors would approve.  I know my body doesn't.

During the week of 12-hour days when we were distributing the iPads, I  hit the proverbial wall, and I hit it hard.  Even though I spent the entire Labor Day weekend just lying about, I'm still beat.  Since I can't feel any pain in my chest, it's easy to forget that it's still trying to heal from some pretty major surgery.  I've followed the letter of the 5lb rule, but not the law.

So, it's time to sit back and reestablish some boundaries.  I started today, by leaving work on time.  I need to realize the work isn't going to go anywhere and there are no prizes for killing myself trying to get it done.  In fact, most people won't even notice.  The only thing I'm going to get if I push it too hard is an exhausted and rebellious body.

Other than that, how am I healing?

For the most part, pretty well.  The latest indignity is that the healing tissues have begun to itch, and while I am certainly aware of the itch, I can't feel the scratch, because there are no nerve endings in my skin!  The nerve! (so to speak)  I just about took my skin off the other night, trying to get at it.  Fortunately for my tender skin, I figured out that if I rub hard on the itch, it does ease it.

The restriction on stretching has my upper body all out of whack.  And while I don't miss the actual process of exercising, I do miss being done - exercise is my favorite antidepressant.

I hope to see the doctor next week and get cleared to begin moving again.

In the meantime, I need to remember: