Friday, August 31, 2007

It's all about Choices

A couple weeks ago it was our 11th Anniversary. My…my…how time flies. We ended up hitting a movie at budget, Spiderman 3. It was mediocre at best…but it did get us thinking. Life really is all about choices. People say, “I had no choice.” But really, you always have a choice. You may not like the options, but you always have a choice. Neither of us likes the fact that David’s body is being bombarded by all of these chemicals. Or the fact that he had Cancer. But we do have a choice. We could stop enjoying and exploring life together. Stop laughing. Stop loving. Stop living. Or we can continue to move forward. Play. Laugh. Go on walks. Make art. Live.

So often, I will run into people and they say, “How do you do it?” You always seem so upbeat. How can you just keep going about your daily lives? But really that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? You can’t let the Cancer beat you. You can’t let it define you. Control your life. This is definitely not where we envisioned being at our 11th anniversary, but the cancer is not going to own us. We choose to fight. To try to face the future with hope and without fear, which sometimes feels impossible…but the alternative is worse. We will stare “the beast” in the face and give it the finger and laugh. And then we’ll go out for tea!

As far as David’s health goes, he’s doing extremely well. His platelet counts dipped for a couple weeks, but they’re fine now. His kidney seems to be having a tough time with the new meds, but the doctor said it was nothing serious yet, just something to keep an eye on. The doctor even said that at least now we know David is taking his meds. Maybe they thought he wasn’t taking them since he showed no outward signs of being on chemo. I thought that was amusing. As for me, my neck, head and back is doing better. I’m no longer having the excruciating headaches. I’ve been to an acupuncturist a couple times, as well as a couple good friends of ours had us over to their house last weekend. Along with dinner, I received a deep tissue massage along with some acupressure and who knows what else. It did wonders and I was grateful.

So, I’m on the road to recovery. Thanks to everyone in our life watching out for me and making sure I’m taking care of myself. I’ve also been told by three different people in the last month that I need to begin meditating again. I haven’t been able to do any meditation or relaxation exercises since David went in again in June. I just couldn’t seem to go there emotionally. But, as my back can attest, I need to take care of myself and find a way to release all of this tension and fear…otherwise it will consume me both physically and emotionally.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A little reminder

I received this in an email from David, as a gentle reminder that I too need to take care of myself. Because all too often, I put the needs of Alec and David above myself and even more so since David’s diagnosis.

This is what he sent…
"In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically drop from a compartment above your seat...If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on yourself first, and then assist the other person."

So true. And probably something I needed reminding of. I’ve found that since the second surgery, it has taken much longer for me to bounce back emotionally. Finding more GBM cancer cells has hit me hard and I find it difficult to think optimistically of a Cancer free future. But somehow I will wade through all these fears swimming in my head and move forward. But right now, I seem to floundering about. And all the stress seems to be taking its toll on my body. I’ve starting having these insanely bad headaches two days ago, from you guessed it. Tension. My back is all knotted up and it’s now traveling to my head. When the headache first hit, and even the slightest movement would cause sharp pains to wrack my head…I didn’t think sinuses, tension, or any other normal malady. My first thought was brain tumor. Hypochondriac much?

It’s just that it was so bad and no matter what I did it wouldn’t go away. And then when I started getting nauseous from the pain, there were just too many parallels between this headache and David’s last year. It was more than a little disconcerting. David grounded me a bit by reminding me that his never lessened and that I have had brief moments of relief and he also reassured me that I don’t have a brain tumor. Too much stress yes. Possibly overworking my body and not taking care of myself…definitely. But a brain tumor. No.

So, here I am…feeling a little better. I’ve been taking it easy the past couple days, taking lots of hot baths and filling my work with the lovely odorous smell of my “bed buddy” which works wonders on my neck but has the oddest toasted wheat smell. Very interesting…but the hot compresses have begun to alleviate the headaches. So…lesson taken. I need to take care of myself. I know it’s important to take care of my family…but I won’t be much good to anyone if I let myself fall apart and am unable to care for neither myself or David and Alec.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What do you do when your husband just had brain surgery?

Ok. Some people clean. Some people shop. Some people sleep. I do home renovation projects when I’m stressed out.



So, this is what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks. We had already bought the bricks in spring, hoping to put in a mini-retaining wall in the front of the house for a garden. Once the whole basement snafu hit, the bricks just sat dormant in the corner of the garage. And life went on. Once we started to settle back into some sense of normalcy after David’s last surgery, I started to get a bit angsty. I had all this pent up energy and stress. I felt completely powerless against this damn tumor. And I realized…I can’t always control the fear. I can’t control the cancer. But I could do this. It gave me something to focus on besides all the crap swirling about in my head. So I threw myself into it. It was great. It took an insane amount of physical labor…much more than I expected. But it felt great. That little wall took 5 bags of paver dirt and rock, 93 bricks, 6 bags of manure, and 25 bags (40 Lbs each) to make that sucker! Whew! With David’s weight restrictions, he was unable to move any of the bags, but he could move 1 brick at a time. Which made him insane. I didn’t mind though. I relished the physicality of it all. It was a great stress reliever and it was great to finally do some sort of landscaping on the house. I have the bug now. It turned out so nicely, I want to do more! Dave did the putzy part of the wall. He leveled each individual brick on the first layer. Fun. But as you can see, he did a great job and the wall is level and sturdy. Then a couple of our dear friends came over to help us move, assemble and install the fountain. That was a beast, but worth it. We found it on summer clearance and decided...what the hell. It looks gorgeous and adds a wonderful calming affect to the back yard with the melodic sounds of water. Just love it.

A good friend of ours who has insane allergies decided to tear out her entire perennial garden. The flowers and plants were making her sick basically and she said we were welcome to them. So, we made a day of it. We met another friend from work and her husband there and we spent the morning digging out plants! Alec loved it. He ran around like a banshee with his little wheelbarrow and trowel for awhile and then decided to spend the remainder of the time playing with Maggie the Golden Retriever. Those two just love each other. Once we got a ton of flowers and plants dug up, Including: Hosta’s, Day Lilies, Purple Cone Flowers, Freesia, White Daisies, Stilby, a pretty green and white ground cover plant and some gorgeous Ferns. Once they were up and out of the ground we loaded them into “Sophie” our mini-van and our friend’s truck and proceeded to drive them across town and planted them into our garden. Mind you, we had tons more plants than we were expecting, so not only did we start to fill our little garden in the backyard but we put some on the sides of the house as well. It was a fun day and we are grateful to have such kind and generous friends in our lives.