Separation Anxiety

I am a little bit scared of our cat. She seemed sick yesterday, so I took her to the vet and found out that:

1) she was attacked by an animal and had scratches on her bum and that was why she was so lethargic for 3 days and

2) she has a rotting tooth.

So Honeybelle received a rabies shot ( it’s the law), we came home with some liquid antibiotic, and were told that we should observe her for 45 days. And now I am paranoid- I think she has rabies. It is dark, windy, and wet outside but she won’t come in. She is hiding out in the barn and wasn’t even interested when I tempted her with food. It is odd behavior and I can only imagine she is sulking off to morph into a rabid beast. This is when I hate having a pet. We are not pet people. We have 1 cat and she should remain low maintenance if she knows what’s good for her. Sorry kitty you just aren’t high on my list of priorities.

I am flying to L.A. on Friday, which seems very strange. I love the idea of spontaneous travel. There is nothing more romantic than the idea of just picking up and going somewhere on a whim. And for a long time I did: amazing spur of the moment Thelma and Louis style trips. But I drag my heels and procrastinate and stress about a trip in a way that would suggest otherwise. I love to travel but I hate to go. The physical leaving is really hard. Once I am three houses down the road I start to feel better but walking away from my house, my home usually involves tears (ridiculous, I know) and even more so when I am going alone.

I am treating myself to a 36 hour trip to L.A. to attend my brothers wedding. Just me. And as I sit here writing this I am starting to get excited. I still got it, I can still jump on a plane and fly to L.A. for a day and a half like it is no big thang! And despite my separation anxiety I know that soon after I return home it will seem as if I never left.

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Tuesday

I often gush about our neighborhood (when I am not wishing I lived somewhere else,) and yesterday I took some pictures which I think do it justice. After being in doors for most of the day, the kiddos and I took an afternoon walk. Our girl arrived home from school and was surprisingly open to the idea, (her brother had predicted she would pronounce it “too boring,” and spoil our fun.) We had a nice walk, raked some leaves, I got the kids set up with some T.V. and was just settling in to jump into my escape- the internet when who should appear but my guy.

My man came home from work early yesterday. “How do I look,” he asked nervously as he walked in the door. “Fine, why?” His colleagues had sent him home early after expressing their concern about how thin and pale he looked and it freaked him out. “According to the scale I haven’t lost weight,” he reassured himself. “Do I look thin? ” My man is 6 feet something and weighs 160 something…so yes, honey you look thin, but you always have.  I know his colleagues were trying to show their understanding and concern but they should familiarize themselves with this song from Free to Be you and Me. I sing the chorus to our kids when ever they are trying to ‘help’ me but actually aren’t.

My guy doesn’t want to be reminded that he has cancer. This has definitely been a recurring theme for him: “so and so or such and such reminded me that I had cancer, so I don’t like so and so or such and such anymore.” We need to be in control of when we deal with cancer, which makes it hard for anyone trying to sympathize but that’s their problem. On the other hand I totally get his colleagues behavior. My man kept yawning last night: he woke up at 6 a.m. for the first time in months, he was tired. But his innocent little yawns coupled with his co-workers observations started my overactive imagination down a slippery slope which lead to-you guessed it- CANCER! Fear transported me to my husband’s untimely death and the lonely damaged life that would be left for me and our children. But only for a minute then I muttered cancel, cancel a few times just to make sure and brought myself back to reality.

I hope my man gets to stay at work all day today. Although it was nice to have him home early last night.  Especially since he cooked the dinner I had planned. He is hands down the better cook in our family.

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Catch Up Day

I am sitting at the computer while our boy falls asleep on the couch across from me. He is snuggled in a blue blanket and has begun the ritual rhythmic patting of his pillow that signals sleep. He attends a small cooperative pre-school that an amazing woman runs out of her home. Her son is sick today so school was cancelled. My day is pretty open and am happy to have our boy home with me today- especially if he takes a nap.  He really needs a catch up day anyway. A day to have a nap and stay in his jammies while he plays with his dinosaurs on the dining room floor. He needs that every once in a while.

Today my man went back to work. He was up to an early alarm  for the first time in months. By the time I came down he was wrapping up his morning routine and heading out the door. We drank coffee together for a bit and then he was gone. Back to life. Our daughter didn’t even get to say goodbye.  She slept late today. Probably because her brother was in bed with us and hadn’t woken her. It is oddly quiet, and I realize I haven’t had the house  to myself in 6 weeks. There is an entire afternoon in front of me and I am not sure what to do with myself. The house is a mess so I should probably start there: figure out what is for dinner, put away laundry, pay bills. Geez Louise call me homemaker. I have to get a handle on things now that I am back to being solely responsible for the day to day 7:30-6 functioning of our household.  So today is a catch up day for me as well. A day to put things in order and get ready to move forward. The reason sucked, but I loved having my man around. It was fun while it lasted

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Change

It has been warm and muggy these days but never the less autumn is here. The leaves are changing color and falling. The other day my man stood at the window watching yellow leaves from a poplar float down to the grass. “Don’t fall, don’t fall,” he pleaded. He hates raking. In fact he hates all things associated with home maintenance and wistfully expressed how much he misses the tiny apartment we used to live in. “You mean the one where our children slept in the kitchen?” “Yup, that’s the one.” It seems like another life now. We have been in our home here in coastal New England for a little over 3 years. Long enough for the place we were before to have faded firmly into the background. When I move (and I have moved many times) I do a lot of looking back. It is as if one foot is still in the place I left and continues to be there for quite some time. Eventually both feet come together in my present life, but this period is usually brief because inevitably one foot starts to inch forward again already eager for the next destination.

These days I feel pretty firmly planted here: in our home, in our community, in my family, in my life. Have I grown, broken a life long habit- am I learning how to be an adult and deal? Maybe. I still get the itch- usually when I hear of someone else’s adventures or when we travel (or when I look at old pictures- I had a major bout of nostalgia digging up the pictures above.)  I am notorious for walking out of the airport at a new destination taking a deep breath, looking around and gleefully exclaiming, ” let’s live here.” What I need to remember is- I said that once about the place we now live.

This summer we started eating dinner together as a family. For years I fed our kids first and then my husband and I would enjoy a peaceful meal together. During my man’s six week recovery we got into the routine of eating dinner together. At first, I hated it- and sometimes I still do. I sit in between my children -while my man has a child free zone at the head of the table. I am constantly interrupted while I eat not to mention poked and prodded by greasy dinner dripping hands. Some nights that is all I can focus on and dinner often includes me swatting at my head as if being attacked by bees while yelling, “stop touching me!” But I have also started to enjoy it. I like who our children are and am enjoying getting to know them over dinner.I hope we can keep it up when my man returns to work.

Last night we went out to dinner and then to the local library’s family movie night. We saw a few families that we know and for some of them it was the first time they had seen my husband since his original diagnosis ( he is a bit of a homebody.) It felt a bit like we were presenting a new and improved version of my guy, “cancer free.” In fact at times it feels like our entire family is new and improved. At least these days it does.

And speaking of new and improved- I changed the look of this page (obviously), and I will probably do it again. Sometimes you just need a change.

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A Gentle Beginning

It continues to be a good week. A peaceful and contented time. Last night we celebrated the end of ‘surgery’ with a delicious Linzertorte from a local gourmet shop, ice cream, and a gift for my man ( a book on baking bread.)  I got my man a card with a wise and appropriate quote:  ”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain”, (cheesy but true,) and our girl asked about it right away. “What does it mean,” she asked after reading the card. “It means”, I explained, “it isn’t about trying to get to the end of the bad stuff, it is about learning and trying to be happy during the bad stuff, too. Like papa’s surgery.” “And we did so high five.” I exclaimed hugging my guy, and we had a round of high-fiving for everyone.

I felt like a wise old sage and thought, “hey we are teaching our kids some good stuff here.”  I was imparting wisdom to my child. And even though it came off of a greeting card- I am proud of us right now and I am enjoying it.

Here is another glimpse of my man. Our girl drew this picture while he was recovering from surgery and I have to say- I think she captured him. He starts work again today. A gentle beginning- he is working from home until the end of the week and starts commuting again on Monday. It will be a rude awakening for both of us I am sure.

It is still a bit strange to just slide back into life and have it look on the outside as if nothing really happened, (I don’t even have the scar.) But it feels less strange than 6 weeks ago. On our last trip to Dana Farber my man and I talked about the connection we have had throughout this ordeal. I mentioned my fear of losing that connection. He didn’t have much to say, and when I bitched at him later for not responding to my comment he looked at me and said, ” yes, I have noticed the connection, but honey- I don’t want to have cancer.” Amen to that my dear.

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Celebration

What a wonderful weekend. Family bonding, a real connection with my man, and time with good friends. ah- sigh of contentment. I feel like I just won a prize and I really deserved it, so first of all-yeah for that. We played some family games Friday night. I had the clarity to come out from behind my computer screen- where I tend to hide out when I’m under it, (and last week I was under it.) I totally understood how important it was for me to try and stay present, and I did and it was nice.

Then on Saturday I took off for a bachelorette party for this wonderful lady. I have to say it felt like a Sex in the City episode. I’m not ashamed to say it: I loved it. We had our feet soaked and massaged, had sippy poos ( as my mother called them) in a church, ate delicious food, and finished the evening with dancing. Good company and good conversation and it was easy: thanks ladies. Then I came home and was glad to.

I am happy to be where I am even though it’s hard. My man and I were in it together yesterday. It was a scary day- a day where we were both facing the possibility of him dying, but it was somehow ok.  ”I’m feeling scared of cancer,” my man sighed at one point. “Me too, but we just have to feel it and motor through,” I smiled at him.  He seemed satisfied with that and it felt completely true. It was a day of clarity. And so is today despite Monday’s best attempt at ruining things- I hate Mondays, but tomorrow is a good day.

Tuesday is 6 weeks. Six weeks from the exact date of surgery- the official end of my guy’s recovery. We are going to celebrate with a cake.  I told the kiddos, “tomorrow is the end of papa’s surgery,”  For them the word surgery symbolizes the entire episode. And in a way they are right. This is the end of 4 months of active cancer treatment. No walk in the park and so, even though my man has to return to work, it deserves to be acknowledged. Especially before we move on to the next phase.

My man has opted out of chemo, but there are other options. It is however, a rabbit hole. A confusing, overwhelming espionage novel full of warring factions and conspiracy theories. It is heartbreaking and tragic that it is so difficult to get clear information about this disease. I have an immense amount of respect for the people trying to make sense of it. We are at the very tip of this iceberg and not yet sure if we want to sled this hill.  We will have to find our path, but at least we have come out of our corners to do it together.

Last night we took a moment to pat each other on the back as if to say: that was awful but we did it.  We just survived something terrible so high fucking five!

So here is my man- isn’t he hip.

and some other images of this lovely weekend.

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Drama Mama

Sorry for being such a drama mama yesterday. A few people got the impression that I was in a car accident so I feel I need to clarify. There was no car accident- just some female issues that ended with a trip to the ER for me- all is fine now-but it was traumatic. I am trying to find a balance here between baring my soul and keeping some things (albeit not much) to myself.

I am also trying to find some way to live with the idea that this is possibly the hardest time in my life and/but we are OK. I was reminded today it is all right for both of these things to be true: it doesn’t have to be one or the other. For some reason it is hard for me to accept this but I am working on it. I was recently turned on to this blog by a friend. Her post today resonated with me- especially her response to her son’s question, “why do bad things happen to people?” -So we can learn and grow.

I sort of skipped over that possibility yesterday when I was wallowing in self pity. So here’s to learning and growing. And being a drama queen :)

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I’ve Got Lemons

What’s so bad about lemons.  The expression  ”when life hands you lemons make lemonade,”  doesn’t do it for me. I wouldn’t mind be handed lemons: They smell fresh, have a beautiful color, are great for cooking, baking etc. etc. the list goes on. How about- when life throws rock salt in your eyes and then grinds it in- It’s a little trickier to find an equalizing ending to this scenario but not impossible.   When life throws rock salt in your eyes and grinds it in grab on to the people closest to you,  stumble along blindly until your eyes stop watering and your vision clears.

We had a little drama here at our house last night: one more thing on a very full plate- and my mind flooded with cliches and expressions like when it rains it pours, when life hands you lemons, and what goes around comes around.  I had to laugh occasionally through the tears because sometimes things are so tragic they become slightly hysterical. And it wasn’t a tragedy in the global sense of the word-  everyone is fine- just another little ‘tragedy’ in our lives. And enough is enough!!!

Last night I thought (not for the first time) ,  ”what have I done to deserve this!” My angry aggressive driving doesn’t seem to be a wicked enough offense for our string of bad luck but it was all I could come up with. It also seems unfair that my husband would be stricken with cancer because I think I own the road. It is self indulgent and egotistical to wallow in self pity and assume that I am a powerful enough force in the world to have brought this upon myself- but the alternative- that there is no reason is even more unsettling. This is just our lives right now- a difficult, challenging time. And I hate it- I hate being the ‘tragic’ family- having to call on friends yet again to cover another mini emergency, having to bow out of work and commitments. I am embarrassed by all of the drama in our lives and I need to get over it.  So I grabbed onto great friends and my man last night and today my vision is beginning to clear. I can put all of my negative emotions here so that I can see that it really isn’t that bad- things could always be worse (cancel, cancel.) And on a positive note:

My man’s bread rose (and was delicious)

No head lice yet

I have a Bachelorette girl’s night out this weekend

and I used the word blogosphere for the first time yesterday. “Did you just say Blogosphere?” My man asked incredulously – it might just be time to kill me.

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Just Life (or Lice)

Today our girl walked in the door from school and announced, “someone in our class has lice!” I guess I should be grateful that we made it to 7 without even the threat of lice, but of course my scalp is already itchy and I keep looking around our fairly large home thinking about all of the places her little head has and will touch in the next few days.

My brothers and I had lice several times as children- once the infestation was so bad that my mother had to cut off all of my very long hair, (our girl has very long hair.) I also remember being treated like a leper by a very hairy boyfriend of my aunt’s who  cut his visit short when confronted with three lousy haired children. I was highly offended at the time but I think I now know how he felt. Let’s hope for the best!!

My man and I walked a local breakwater today and then enjoyed a delicious lunch- lobster tacos, yum yum. In 8 days his six weeks are officially up:  no more restrictions and back to work. It was an adjustment, but now that I am used to having him home I will miss when him when he returns to work.

Without much cancer news I am at a bit of a loss as to what to write, but I’m not complaining.

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Bread Advice



Some  images of my man and our son baking bread this morning. “If this doesn’t work I am never baking bread again,” declared my husband. His first solo attempt didn’t work out: the bread never rose. Today’s attempt  is lovingly tucked in the laundry room where it is nice and warm so keep your fingers crossed. As for my man’s stick-to-itiveness, let’s hope he works on that. But he has more stamina these days than I do when it comes to cancer research. He is working on being the pro-active, assertive patient- making sure he has copies of everything from day 1 forward- contacting Sloan Kettering for another opinion, etc. etc.

I told him yesterday that I don’t think he should do Chemo. Just look the list of pros and cons:

Pros

Chemotherapy might kill microscopic rogue sarcoma cells, but there is no data that confirms this

Cons

all the usual- hair loss, nausea, fatigue etc. etc . plus

Doxorubicin (one of the drugs) is known to cause secondary cancers in certain people

Doxorubicin causes heart problems in 1-6% of people

There is no data to suggest that this Chemo will kill rogue sarcoma cells

Dana Farber doesn’t recommend it

Our Naturopath doesn’t recommend it

It seems pretty straightforward to me ( I wish sarcoma was). And I think my man is also leaning towards skipping chemo, but we will get another opinion for peace of mind.

In the meantime, here are some articles and  interesting sites I have found on more alternatives to traditional cancer treatments. If any one out there in cyber space has any experience with any of these I would love to hear about it, please, please!!! Any advice on breadmaking is also appreciated.

Tonight I have to go to a work event dressed as a fortune teller- if only I were.

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