Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"how do you feel?" Alive.

Today marks the longest time I have gone without chemo.  Due to an infection, I had one, 4 week break (instead of 3), but that was it. So today marks 4 weeks since my last chemo..............and I am done. So the only place I have to go from here is up, way up--and boy am I ready.  I have cooked dinner the past 2 days, also the first meals I have cooked since I began chemo, Scott is loving it--and I am enjoying getting to do 'normal' things that at one time I wouldn't even give a second thought, just part of a routine. But my routine was taken away from me, I now make to-do lists that consists of small victories, and just a few, for each day and then celebrate being able to do them.  Examples include: making dinner, doing a load of laundry and folding it (then the next day put away the laundry), not taking a nap, dusting the house---yep, chores have turned into celebrations---think about that the next time you vacuum the carpet, something I still can't do....

Last night we had family game night at our house and I cooked dinner for 5--Scott, myself,  Kristi, Kerri and Nick (Kristi's fiance).  I laughed so hard I cried--and we aren't talking a tear here and there, we are talking flooding tears down my face, kleenex after kleenex, it would subside and then one of my sisters would begin to laugh and I would begin to giggle all over again.  People don't laugh enough, I don't remember the last time I laughed like that (and I know I have never cried that much and laughed)--some of the chemo fog has lifted, I can get jokes and feel joy, I can laugh and cry at the same time, I can and will survive.

I also have been working my way through the stacks of magazines that have piled up since I began chemo.  I read an article about a family that has no garbage, none.  It talked about being minimalists and lessening your ties to material possessions.  I don't know if I would say that I am "tied" to material possessions, but I have a lot of shit.  But did any of my "things" help me during my diagnosis and chemo? No. Did the clothes in my closet drive me to the ER, sit for countless hours by my hospital bed? No. Make funny cancer jokes to ease other people into feeling comfortable around me? I don't think so.  It takes dear ones in your life to do that: friends, family, loved ones, and people you have never met sending positive energy your way.  Sweatpants (or Scott's pj pants), scarves and hats to keep my head warm, baby powder, butt paste, Gatorade and meds along with my family and friends stirring the pot sustained me--not my jewelery box.

Love is comfort and unconditional love, it is an enduring quality that comes in many forms. When your loved one keeps you company while you are pooping and throwing up at the same time (come on, we have all been there), holds your hand when you look like a bald, pale faced, walking zombie wearing yellow crocs, polka-dot socks, mens XL sweatpants (that you have slept in for 3 days), a fuck cancer t-shirt and a blanket as a coat with a throw-up bag in one hand and butt paste and baby powder ready to go in her purse, or carry her purse (Scott looks great with one)--endless hours of hospital stays, uncomfortable sleeping in a crazy "bed chair" or floor, and mindless ER waiting; being active support when I turned into a crying pain riddled ball of fear and refused to go to the hospital, then bring my stubborn ass in anyway--love is crazy, and hopefully blind because throwing up and pooping is never a good picture. Love keeps me going, but my TV keeps me sane. I know---awful right? Like a child who is "babysat by the TV" (which I completely disagree with) but in my case, perfect fit.  It saved me from smothering Scott "I can fall asleep in less than 5 minutes" Barkley in his sleep and allowed me to have light and sound to break up the quiet of darkness.  The darkness where worries and fear would overwhelm my body and scenario after scenario would play in my head, where tears were unstoppable and fear make it hard to breathe--where I felt the most alone, even though my partner in life was laying right next to me.

I couldn't concentrate enough to read with chemo brain so TV was my other option--I could escape the loneliness of darkness and jump into any movie or TV show--allowing Scott to get much needed rest (he can sleep through anything) and not me waking him up to keep me company.  He was taking care of me and working full-time--he deserved so much more, but at the time all I could do was give him the space to sleep.  I was safe, he was there if I needed him, but he could sleep undisturbed.

So if I wasn't blogging through my tears, I was mindlessly (very important) watching TV--so take away everything else but leave my TV and Netflix on-demand as my vices (keep booze and other crap, even the Skittles) but until I can fall asleep before 4am and when my hot flashes stop feeling like panic attacks, my TV is husband #2--my partner in keeping the darkness at bay.

"Hey! I'm watching that!"


  1. ;-)) What a super post, I am so pleased to hear your doing well ;-) And you are so right Love and friendship is more important than any material item. You have learned so many valuable lessons in life through your darkest days that most people wouldn't learn in a life time. Your negatives have now turned into beautiful positives ;-))You are an inspiration ;-) Happy new year to you and i hope this year is full of goodness and magic. Warmest thoughts and wishes. Dee x

  2. Keep laughing, Dori June. Fortunately you have been blessed with a funnier than normal family.

  3. You are so beautiful -- inside and out! It's wonderful that you're feeling so much better. Laughing so hard that you're crying feels good at any time and I can only imagine how good it feels after what you've been through!

  4. Dori,

    It's said "Laughter is the best medicine," and it is so true. I enjoyed reading your beautifully written posting, and it really touched me.

    TV is a great salvation. When I had chemo, I couldn't concentrate enough to read, and TV and good friends have been a great support system through surgeries, treatments, etc.

    Scott sounds wonderful!!

  5. Lovely! Sending warm thoughts your way. And a joke from David Sedaris:

    A man hears a knock at his door. When he answers it, he sees a snail who is selling magazine subscriptions.

    "Good evening, sir, can I interest you in a magazine subscription?"

    In response the man kicks the snail as hard as he can.

    Two years later, the man hears a knock at his door. To his surprise, there is the snail, briefcase in tow.

    The man says, "Can I help you?"

    "Yeah," says the snail. "What the fuck was THAT?!"

    Not only did this joke crack me up, but I also think that you and this bad*** snail have a lot in common: tenacity and spirit!

    Love you!