Wow, I’ve been an emotional mess off and on all day. I guess it really got to me, yesterday when an exterminator came out to give me an estimate on our little mouse and spider situation. I had told him that I really didn’t want to expose my family to poison. I had also asked him, like anyone who comes through our door to remove his shoes (the bonus of living with an Asian) and sanitize his hands as I explained that I’m on chemo and have a suppressed immune system. He didn’t look at me like I was crazy, he just said, “I understand”.
We ended up talking about a variety of things such as the real estate market back in 2005, rodents, his wife’s lupus, mouse crap, New Jersey (where he’s from), mouse pee, California (where we moved from) and then he asked me how my treatment was going. I told him I have a brain tumor and he stated that his mom had one. She also had Grade 4 GBM. He told me that last Christmas was their first Christmas without her and then like so many people when they get to talking, shared a bit too much information about how she ended up losing her speech then after another seizure, she lost mobility on her right side. It felt like when those of us who have attended a baby shower and women share way more than anyone cares to hear about their horrible pain, placentas, and mucus membranes when all we want to do is watch the mother to be open her gifts so we can ooh and ahh for half an hour, get to the cake and then cut out before you get cornered by said moms who want to share too much. For those who have never had kids, it’s enough to make you want to keep your knees together until after menopause. This was far worse. I tried to push the details out of my mind, reminding myself that everyone is different.
This morning I was wrapping two Christmas presents; one for each of my daughters. I was feeling excited until I placed them in the chair. We don’t have our tree up, yet. Then suddenly, this feeling washed over me and I started crying. I was thinking about the information shared with me the day before, siblings who attend Penelope’s school who lost their mom to cancer in September, remembering the past Saturday after Thanksgiving when my family was putting up Christmas decorations and lights in the yard and wondering if it would be the last year I would be here or if it would be physically impossible for me to help next year, then the worst thought hit me. I wondered when my children would be telling someone “this is the first Christmas without my mom”.
It’s also Christmas time and we have always loved going out to look at Christmas lights. It’s been a long time tradition my mom started when I was a kid and I love having that with my kids. That’s changed. I can’t say, “hey, kids let’s jump in the car and go see some lights this evening.” My teenager usually has too much homework and it’s just not the same if she drives because she can’t really enjoy the lights.
I hate shopping online, but going out into crowded places to find that gift that I know my loved one will be so happy I found is putting my health at risk.
I’m in so much pain that I cannot do yoga and I go for very slow walks, but walking in my neighborhood isn’t spiritual like being in the woods, seeing wildlife and the blue skies through the bare tree branches.
I’m so grateful for my friends and family who selflessly drive me to appointments, to stores, post office, to run errands, etc, but I miss riding in my car, going where I want to on my schedule, listening to my music, not having to visit.
Shopping online for groceries and having them delivered has been helpful because I really hate going to the store on the weekends when my husband can take me. Lately, the produce getting delivered by shoppers has been pretty gross, so I’m not really loving the concept.
I have appointments and I’m always asking for a ride, which I hate. Sometimes I take Uber, but that becomes expensive.
I haven’t cried this much in a day even when I got my diagnosis. Honestly, it’s something you can never understand unless you have gone or are going through this. I think it goes for people with a diagnosis and their loved ones. It isn’t exclusive to just the person who has the disease. I’ve been very positive most of the time and so very grateful for SO many things. I would fill up 20 pages of this blog listing them all out, but I am not without the desire and longing for more time with my loved ones, especially my kids.
Penelope came home and was a little teary over something that happened after school, which hardly ever happens. She is usually beaming. So we hugged and she told me I was a really good mom and I told her that she makes it easy for me to be a good mom because she’s a good daughter. I’ve had similar talks with the older kid and she was out. Penelope and I decided to sing karaoke for bit before it was time for homework. That put us both in better moods.
I have to remember it’s not about the amount of time I get to spend with them, it’s about making the best use of our time together that counts the most.