It's about time for one though, isn't it, really? I rarely look back and read what I've written but boy when I do, I think to myself, who writes this crap? Well, actually that's just on my bad days. I mean come on now, aren't we all our own worst critics? In my attempts to keep you abreast of what's going on here at Chez Conrad I feel it's my duty to keep it real while attempting to keep The Blog I Don't Write from creeping in too much. Hence the always upbeat and what appears to me to be slightly milk toast/smarmy endings I default to in order not to loose my sanity and my ability to fight on yet one more day. Can I get a witness!!
Let me interrupt myself here before I get too far into my soliloquy and say that this blog comes to you this morning from the tail end of 3-4 days of contending with yet another migraine (#4729 I believe, but who's counting) and at least that many days of piss-poor sleep quality. Considering that migraines are seizure variants and mess with you something fierce -- this isn't likely to be my garden variety post. Lo siento, mea culpa, one thousand apologies and all that and hey, just press on and try to keep up.
Last Sunday my pastor gave a sermon about being real with people and letting them in to your story etc. I thought of this blog and all the accolades I get from folks about how great it is to hear about our story yadda yadda. But I felt convicted all the same because there IS The Blog I Don't Write which is something I constantly struggle with. What you'd find in that blog are all the personal struggles and agonies that I save for my most intimate of confidantes and sometimes, not even for them. But in between The Blog I Don't Write and Conrad Family Chronicles to date there are things to write about this cancer journey that can't be tied up with a pep rally ending. When I am in the throes of a migraine-sleep-deprived state, those are the things that are unfortunately at the forefront of my altered negativistic mind.
For instance, this is our medicine cabinet. Correction, this is Phil's medicine cabinet.
Aside from the Lysol, Kotex, and maybe, just maybe, the Phillips Milk of Magnesia, I would wager there isn't anything in here you'd find in your cabinet or under your sink. Don't even get me started on how many Ben Franklin's we've got tied up in here. A visiting friend told us we could make some serious cash on the side with our pain killer stash. Might have to look into that if things really get tight... Opening the medicine cabinet, which is located ever so inconveniently over the toilet is inviting disaster. Not only could anything and everything fall into the commode, but the same genius who put the meds over the toilet saw fit to stack the towels above the medicines so taking a shower is also always dicey.
And this is how Phil spends quite a lot of time when he is recovering from chemotherapy or surgery - sleeping, resting, dozing, shutting out the world, trying to find his happy place, generally feeling like crap.
Notice our beautiful home decor in the background. Those beautiful red vases? You too can get your own at any hospital or medical supply store. I can honestly say they will give your abode that "home health" look you've always been wanting. We just can't get enough. In fact we've got them in the bathroom too! It's every woman's dream, let me tell you. Oh, and the IV pole in the background? When not in use it doubles as a hanger in the closet - functional and beautiful. Whoot Whoot!
Just a few words on the subject of sleep. If Phil doesn't sleep then the bottom falls out of everything. He doesn't eat well, he doesn't have energy to heal, he just doesn't function. Well, if Sally doesn't sleep, she gets cranky, migrainous and down right hurts all over because she is getting O-L-D-E-R and she hasn't exercised regularly in over 7 months. But, things being what they are, tough shinola. Sleep is the cornerstone. Actually that's true for all of us but when you've got cancer then your sleep trumps everyone else's. Them's the beans.
Case in point, (and here comes the pity party) last night after going to bed I woke up at midnight because my shoulders were clunking every time I rolled over. Seems the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be. Dammit. By 2:30 a.m. I was sweltering from the heat running at 70 degrees despite being turned down to 60. Got up to turn that off. Just after dozing off again I was reawakened by Phil's snoring which, despite having extensive sinus surgery, has become more pronounced than ever. Unfortunately, there would be no poking him in the ribs to roll over. He can't sleep on his left side or he'll get headaches and numbness from the surgery so I've got to take it or go sleep with the kids. There are just some things that make no sense and that is one of them. I grit my teeth and did my best. I fell back to sleep and after 2 hours guess what? My son needed help to go back to sleep after a nightmare. It was now 4:30 a.m., still dark and there was no waking Phil up to deal with it because, oh yeah - he took sleeping meds and there was no way he'd wake up if I tried!!
The Emperor of Maladies describes cancer as "malignant growth and normal growth entwined", and "the most significant scientific challenge of our society". That's exactly my world, the malignant entwined with the normal, the bad threatening every day to take over more and more of the good. Seems every time I turn around there is some new way that cancer has found to infiltrate my little corner of life here. Cancer has given me an opportunity for growth and reflection and to see things from a new perspective yes, but I'm just about all full up thanks.
Like cancer itself, my good days and bad days are entwined and I experience progress and set backs alike. The most significant challenge to society has landed on my doorstep and just getting by this week has proven difficult.