Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Circling

So the city I live in has just completed another signficant portion of a ring road around the city. (It's making hockey driving so much easier, but that's not the point of this post.)

And I've recently realized that the best place in the world to rant and sob and pray is in my van, all alone, not bothering anyone else, not adding any weight to anyone's worry, especially people who live in my house ...

This morning I headed out to drive as far as I could along the ring road, taking some music and some attitude with me.  The road is lovely - wide and smooth and a thing of beauty.  A pleasure to drive, and if you drive from east to west, there's some lovely freshly-snowed-on mountain ranges off in the distance ...

And then there's construction.  Bare brown earth glaring up from unfinished overpasses, stop-and-go traffic, lower speed limits, lower tolerance levels ...

But the good road?  It didn't happen overnight.  It was exactly like this at some point - frustrating and difficult to navigate.

Was it worth it?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's been one of those weeks

A few weeks, actually.  Somehow I have become the person who has to have a plan in place if her psychologist goes on vacation.  Much circling of wagons and calling of trusted friends and Rescue Remedy and essential oils and reminding myself of my coping strategies.  Because a woman I'd never heard of two years ago was going to be out of town and out of reach for two weeks.

I'm also one of those people who gets triggered by seemingly random things, and suddenly has a vicious headache or stomachache or has to leave the room Right Now because I'm shaking or crying (or shaking AND crying) too hard to be out amongst the people.

This morning, after a particularly internally-exhausting 24 hours, I thought I'd pull out my smartphone and read through some of my "Buechner Quotes of the Day" email that I'd been letting pile up in the Buechner folder in my Inbox, as I sat in yet another parking lot working up the nerve to Do The Next Thing.

And I read this:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

And because words do things for me, suddenly everything around me shifted, just a little.  The sun shining in through the streaks on my windshield was a friendlier.  Putting washer fluid in the van seemed like a task I could actually accomplish.

And windershield washer fluid itself was a deep, brilliant blue, a colour I could imagine myself wearing.

Grace.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Poetry

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
~ T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Well that was nice

Remember all those soccer snack rants I had over the years? About how they already had to find all their gear - yes, well, you can look them up. Suffice it to say I was not a fan of the Soccer Snack Schedule.

And then B made a quadrant hockey team, and there's a cooler full of snacks for energy-building during period breaks. And someone (you, the parent) needs to fill the cooler. 8 liters of chocolate milk, for starters. (also fruit and granola bars and a few other things) In a rare moment of pre-preparedness, I bought the chocolate milk on Thursday, tucked it in the fridge and completely forgot to mention to A that the chocolate milk was spoken for.

Which led to my getting up early this morning to go buy more chocolate milk for the cooler that is going on the bus to Red Deer. Brad and I are driving in time for the game, and I was dismayed to see it had snowed last night. I drove home from the grocery store psyching myself up for snow shovelling but when I got home ...

The neighbours across the street had shovelled my driveway and my sidewalk.

So naturally, I burst into tears.

Thank you, delightful neighbours. I needed that.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Update on Brad's health

(aside:  my goodness, I get weary of the question "How's Brad doing?" EVEN THOUGH I am fully aware that the motivation behind the question is love.  It's like - some days, I'm just going about my life and things are all manageable and then someone asks and I have to remember that there's this big stupid monster in our lives, and I have to talk about it.  Other days, more selfishly, I'm overwhelmed by all the things there are to do that we used to share doing, or that he used to do, and when someone asks how Brad is, I want to say "Brad?  He's FINE, but I am losing the plot over here."  I don't say it, though, and I hesitate even to say it here, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only spouse who has ever felt like that.)

All that said - here's how Brad is today.

Chemo is starting to kick his butt harder.  For the first four treatments, he would be almost completely back to himself before the next treatment date.  I'd watch him slowly disappear into a sick, tired, weary, tired, did-I-mention-tired old man and then about halfway through, he'd start to perk up a little and then one day he would walk into a room, and I'd think "Oh THERE you are."

We got no such reprieve after treatment #5, and so treatment #6, just a few days ago, has him mostly just sleeping. And nothing tastes like it should, and everything has to be not too hot or not too cold (ie lukewarm) and he's not complaining but he really just feels awful.

On the plus side - today I was tidying up the room on his side of the bed, and I moved the puke bucket we put there after his very first chemo treatment.  And it's really dusty, because he hasn't had to use it, not one single time.

Prayer Request:

We originally thought there would be six chemo treatments, and then surgery, and then six more.  Not exactly.  There will be 12 chemo treatments in all, and until we get a surgery date, they will just keep up with chemo, stopping in time for him to have a 4 week break before surgery.  I was so looking forward to a reprieve for him, but it seems as though we will not get that, unless his surgery date (which has yet to be booked - we are waiting for a call) is within a month of his last chemo.

So that's what I'm asking.  Surgery soon, please.  Brad is less convinced - more now means fewer later, but they are hitting him harder and harder and it is very hard to watch.

On the other hand, more chemo presumably means more shrinkage, and an easier surgery, so there's that.