Thursday, June 23, 2016

Playing the Mind Game

It’s been a rough week. I will freely admit it. I’ve been incredibly anxious this week. Unusually anxious for me. And lonely. And not thinking the most positive thoughts. I’ve been tired. And angry. And infinitely frustrated. I think my eyebrows are starting to fall out and that pisses me off. It’s tough to think that after three months, I am only halfway through chemo. And at this point, I have no earthly clue if it is accomplishing anything or not. I like to think that it is killing all of the cancer cells, but it will be a full 8 more weeks until I know that for a fact. And we haven’t even made it to the surgical portion of this shitty ride yet. And possible radiation after that. It seems pretty never ending at this point. I am beginning to believe that the mid-point of cancer treatment is nothing but a head game.  At this point, it is entirely mental and I have not been winning this week.

It’s just a lot to swallow and I’ve had a little more trouble than usual swallowing it all this week.

That is not to say that I don’t have a ton going for me. I thought today I would make a list of the positive things I have in my life right now. An exercise in gratitude, perhaps. It’s something I used to do fairly often prior to being diagnosed with cancer, and something that I seem to have forgotten in the months since.

So here goes.

First and foremost, I am grateful for Ruanita. She is my rock. She is the one person I count on more than anyone in this world, and she has not failed to deliver a single time. She takes care of the kids when I can’t. She takes care of the housework when I can’t. She has even taken over grocery shopping (which she despises with every fiber of her being) with minimal bitching.

My kids are my greatest joys. They make me laugh. They make me want to pull my hair out (an impressive feat considering that I am currently not in possession of a single bodily hair save my eyebrows and eyelashes, which are starting to fall out). They bring me joy every day (when I do not want to strangle them). If nothing else, they remind me that I am still alive and still human by invoking every possible human emotion from me on a daily basis.

My daughter has a soccer game every Monday and every Wednesday night through June and July. I truly, truly enjoy these games. I get to sit in a lawn chair in the sunshine surrounded by hundreds of parents and grandparents cheering for young girls who, for the most part, share a profound lack of athletic prowess. And in my daughter’s age group, the teams are all named for Asian countries. Sophie is on team Vietnam. So I get to passionately yell, “Goooo Vietnam!!” How often do you get to do that in a lifetime?

My oldest son went to chemo with me yesterday. With the exception of playing two quick games of Trivial Pursuit with me on my iPad (which he lost), he spent most of the time with his headphones in watching YouTube videos on his phone and raiding the chemo snack basket. He is such a typical teenager. It makes me smile.

Chemo has not prevented me from drinking coffee. And since being diagnosed with cancer, Ruanita has even stopped bitching about commenting on the amount of money I spend at Caribou.

My dog is getting up there in age and lately has seemed to enjoy cuddling on the couch as much as I do. It’s about time she is embracing her laziness!

I have both Netflix and Amazon Prime – and a list a mile long of shows I have yet to watch.

I am reading a super charming book right now called A Man Called Ove. It is sweet and sad and uplifting and inspiring and…just plain charming. It is making me feel all the feels.

I am back at work. While this might have seemed like a bad idea earlier this week when I was feeling crappy and overcome with anxiety, it is overall a good thing to get back into a routine and to have people actually expect things from me. I’ve become so used to people tiptoeing around me. Handling me with kid gloves. Not asking a thing of me. It’s kind of fresh and exciting for people to expect me to actually contribute something to the world once again.

Ruanita and I are taking the kids to see Finding Dory tomorrow night. I’m a big fan of that little blue tang.

I haven’t had to shave my legs in three months. You have to understand that I normally have to shave my legs almost daily during the summer. When I do have hair, it grows at a super accelerated rate that I think could easily qualify me as one of the X-Men. It’s got to be a mutant trait. I could be Super Follicle Girl! I could capture criminals by tying them up with my unnaturally fast-growing leg hair. Kind of like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth. (Okay, I realize I am mixing my Marvel and DC comic references. Please forgive my egregious faux pas.)  My point is that not shaving my legs for THREE WHOLE MONTHS is unbelievably, perversely exciting to me.

I had a friend stop by with coffee and bagels this morning. I love friends. I love visitors. And coffee. And bagels.

The super-crazy-watery-eyes I experienced with AC chemo has almost completely gone away. For a while there, I could not read at all because my eyes watered so badly I could not see the page.  I am eternally grateful for dry eyes and the ability to read once again.

I have tickets to see Dolly Parton in concert next month. She strikes me as a naturally joyous person, and I think her joy is contagious. I am looking forward to being infected.

My son, Nicholas, gives the best hugs. I think he could market them and make his first million before he even hits puberty.

It’s cloudy and dreary outside today. While I enjoy a good sunny day, clouds and rain invigorate me. Obviously, I should have been born British.

My mom and my sisters get back from their week at the lake tomorrow. I miss them. There has not been a single adult person who has annoyed me all week.

The Minnesota Lynx, our local WNBA team, is currently undefeated. I plan on purchasing tickets for the family to an upcoming game as soon as I finish this blog.  My kids, though not necessarily basketball fans, are rabid fans of arena junk food.

Lyn-Manuel Miranda recently announced that they are filming Hamilton in its entirety before the original cast members begin their mass exodus when their contracts expire next month. This means that my chances of ever seeing it with the original cast have increased exponentially (though it’s pretty difficult to go anywhere but UP from ZERO and ZILCH).

Ruanita is cleaning the house right now. I am not.


Lee Witte said...

Geez, Shannon! I thought it was a rule in Minnesota that women didn't shave their legs all winter. That FAR longer than three months. So, if everything works out, your leg hair won't start growing, again, until after it gets cold. Then you can have nearly an entire shave-free year! :-)

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