Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I think sometimes you don't realize how stressed out you are until it's settled in for the long haul, embedded to the point where it will be really, really hard to extract.

I came to this realization last night when I pulled out the party-sized bag of pretzel M&Ms I impulsively grabbed at Sams Club, and placed it on the bed next to me to eat as I read "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" on my Kindle. They tasted so good...even though I don't normally eat a lot of sweets. I do sometimes when it's That Time of the Month. But not to this magnitude. I'm also beyond exhausted; and I've been going to bed by 9:00 and sleeping until 6:30 or 6:45 in the morning. 9 to 9.5 hours - plenty.

Said M&Ms are on the bed next to me right now, too. There's just a lot going on. And while I know there are better ways to handle it than ODing on M&Ms, given everything that's going on in my life right now, and my family's lives, I just don't feel all that guilty about it.

Tonight, as I go to sleep, I will do two things. One, I will summon the dream I had the night before M told me about her cancer, and concentrate on that fire, on that one wall, not one flame spreading. Two, I'm going to visualize, just like I did the night before her first surgery, exactly what we're hoping additional tumors, no sticky cancer cells, just a few stray ones circulating around, kind of like the smoke in the house.

I know how antsy I am about the PET scan tomorrow; I cannot imagine in a million years what she is going through right now. Sometimes, I wonder if NOT knowing is better than the agony of waiting for more test results, when you know the treatment is going to be the same either way. Of course you have to do the tests, and know for sure. It's just so excruciating. I'm praying that she can find some peace, get some rest, and just get through this last week and a half. Scan, surgery, and then the last of the pathology - then we can finally, finally start killing those cancer cells.

My life has been insane the last few weeks, although I refuse to complain about it. Work has been so busy, more than normal - we are at an extremely pivotal time, about to implement a groundbreaking plan and completely reorganize our org chart, taking us to a whole new level. Exciting, but demanding, and mentally exhausting. G landed his first speaking role in the winter production with the local children's theater company, meaning rehearsals M-Th and Saturdays. O has gymnastics and dance, C has guitar, and they all have homework and chores. And this week my afternoon sitter is in Hawaii. Thank god Larry cooks dinner every night, and usually does the dishes. Sometimes I don't know how we get through it.

So it's funny, and it may sound crazy, but I end up feeling guilty not thinking about M more. What she's going through is, on every possible level, so much more important than than all these other things that are demanding my time and attention right now. Of course, my family is important, and my life and theirs have to continue. But then she'll drift into my mind and I'll think, how have I not thought of her more today? How could I be so selfish, with everything that she is going through?

I am not sure what I'm thinking I should do; I call a couple of times a week, especially when I know there is some new news to talk about, or a pivotal day of some kind coming up (planning to call her once kiddos are likely in bed). I write, and I do this in her honor, as much as I can. I've always believed in the power of positive thinking; for many, this is the power of prayer. So maybe I'm feeling like I am not doing as much of this as I should, to give as much of my energy as possible to helping her get well.

It's that constant battle of needing so badly to do something to help, but not having anything really tangible to do. Of wanting to be able to make a difference - to help her cope, to help her get well, to kill those cancer cells myself - and I don't think anything I ever do will feel like enough.

I heard a Breast Cancer 3-Day ad on the radio today, and nearly burst into tears. I've heard them a million times before. But now when the woman in the ad says, voice cracking, "I never thought it would happen to me..." oh my god, do those words have so much more meaning now. I listen to those voices, of survivors and of their loved ones, knowing, for the first time, exactly how they feel. I will forever be a supporter/walker/donor/advocate.

It's 7:59 and all I want to do is go to sleep. And eat a few more M&Ms. If only the laundry fairy would visit, so that I could perhaps rest a little this weekend. If only.

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