Health update: I'm 10 days post-chemo treatment #3, and 11 days away from treatment #4. This round was tough. After my second treatment, I heard a lot of "you're half-way done!" to which I could only smile and say, "Yep." I get the positivity, and depending on how I felt that day, I may have even shared your enthusiasm. But that's also a tough thing to hear when you know you have months of surgery, recovery, and more treatment ahead.
I am VERY grateful I have tolerated treatment well, in spite of the numerous side effects. There are the effects people can see, and the effects people can't see, which honestly are much tougher to deal with. I am hoping for six weeks of recovery after my final round, then also hoping to fully enjoy Houston's graduation and soccer festivities before heading into the next phase of this journey.
When 2021 began, my son let me know he was working on his goals for the new year. He wanted to have an even number of 20 things he was working toward, but was still wrestling with exactly what they should be. I said, "Hey, just get cancer, then you really only have one goal!" (remember, dark humor = family coping) While funny at the time, I had no idea how this one thing in my life would be feel so all-consuming. Early on, that meant nearly every day was filled with tests, phone calls, and appointments. Once treatment started, that meant more of the same, but also the added stuff of physical symptoms and the emotional toll. It's a lot.
I have always been a high energy person. I have a high capacity to juggle responsibilities well, and thrive when I have multiple plates spinning. Over the years, I have been cautioned, criticized, and occasionally commended for this ability, and I have been made aware of the pitfalls associated with the kind of life I've chosen to live. However, I am also the kind of person that needs a significant amount of time alone, and when I get it, I spend a LOT of time thinking through my roles and responsibilities. So, I will add this; I quit apologizing for the speed at which I do life, long ago. You do you. I'll do me. Enough said.
Since closing down a business in 2017, I have been working toward simplifying my life in a few key areas. Whether it was turning 50, or anticipating an empty nest, or just a desire to finally be fully invested in my professional pursuits, I knew it was time to settle into a different speed of life. I put up some speed limit signs in my life over the past few months. For me, that meant getting off the interstate, driving 75, (okay - 80), and trying to hold it back to 55. While there have been days when that felt incredibly slow, I have also enjoyed the more leisurely pace. And then cancer. All of a sudden, it felt like I was driving in a school zone every place I went. Occasionally, it's felt like finding myself behind a school bus that stops and every intersection and railroad crossing. Stop signs everywhere. Roads closed. Many days, it has felt like my life has been reduced to leaving the car in the garage, then sitting on the front porch like my grandpa Herman used to do. Just sitting and watching the world go by.
I've been tired before, but never felt fatigue like I've felt the past couple of months. Between rounds 2 and 3, there was a day when I had enough energy for some fleeting thoughts about actually dreaming about the future and making some plans. I decided to make time later in the day to do just that. By the time I sat down to dream, I didn't have the energy to think anymore. So frustrating. I talk to God about it. He keeps saying, "You have one job. Just do your one job and get well." I keep wishing He'd follow up with other statements like, "Here's what's coming next," or "Get ready for this amazing thing" but He doesn't say those things. I do think all of this is preparation for the next season of my life, whatever that is. I thought I knew. Maybe I don't.
One of the hardest parts is of all this really is watching other people drive by, drive away, and drive fast and far. I keep telling God I'm missing out on things; opportunities, experiences, adventures. Again, He says, "Just do the one thing I've given you to do. Get well." Me, doing one thing. What a concept.
So, if you need me, I'll be over here in the repair shop, waiting on parts, getting a tune-up, a new paint job, and finding out exactly what speed the new me will be capable of driving. It will be a glorious day when I get the keys back and can take her out for a spin. Until then, I think it's time for another nap.