Monday, October 26, 2015

Good Intentions

October 26 today? Last post so enthusiastic about the lymphedema therapy journey to which I was hellbent on committing?  Dermatologist appointment postponed AGAIN?  Several friends questioning my actual existence due to (my) lack of communication?  Shit, it has been a busy few weeks. 

I find myself frustrated again today. Surprise!!  Not necessarily cancer-related, but I'm sure I will inevitably spin it that way.  Every day I examine my actions, more than I did before (cancer).  (See - did it already!)  I want to accomplish things, I want to nail that to-do list, I want to be everything my kids need me to be, I want to NOT be a downer to my friends, I want to survive my kitchen renovation without the hair loss I was fortunate to avoid during my immunotherapy... but I somehow always feel like I fall short. 

I'm doing the best I can but that "take one day at a time" stuff is actually very difficult to do.  When you break it down into small pieces and truly look at it and realise you're just too tired to do it all, it's a real pain.  I try, but.. what's that they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?

I ran into a friend today that I haven't seen in a while, and we chatted quickly to catch up "in code" in a busy store with our kids in tow.  I was open about the fact that yes I did want to get together for coffee and a visit, and I was also open about the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to commit to the actual coffee date in the next couple of weeks.  She seemed to understand and is equally busy, we hugged and wished each other well and we will try again in a few weeks.  *sigh*  I feel bad!  

More importantly what I got from the conversation is my friend's comparable feelings of guilt for not being able to do the things she "normally" does.  She happens to be temporarily off work for health reasons as well, and one of her first identifications of things we have in common right now is the guilt for being "off."  She said the same things I feel every day; in our quick conversation we bonded over that mutual feeling but we also agreed that we need to look after ourselves and our kids numero uno.   Why can't we just shake the rest of the feeling and just go with the looking after ourselves and kids thing?  Aarrghh

Part of looking after ourselves IS the visiting with friends and the social support we receive in doing so.  And I truly mean it when I say I want to visit!  But I notice that I am less and less able to commit to the coffee date.  With the people who are my FRIENDS!  
I am so absorbed with what my family and I are doing, and I am inconsistently and sometimes unexpectedly exhausted so I just run out of time.  Days run into weeks and my feelings of guilt compound until they feel like a noose around my scarred neck and I retreat, I hibernate, I listen to my therapist saying "stop being so hard on yourself!"  I love my friends from a distance.  And I keep plowing through the to-do list as I see fit.  

Therapist says that's okay, I (we all) should be doing exactly what I (we all) want. At any given moment.  Oohh that's a huge statement, what a can of worms!  I believe that if we all just ran amuck doing what WE want then everything would be a disaster!  But that could be my Catholic upbringing speaking... how do the Sociopaths do it, like really?? 

The core of what is bothering me I think is actually the number of times I have had this happen lately.  I haven't invited my veggie friends for a visit since.... ummm.. as I told them last week when I ran into them downtown - I still have their Christmas gift from last year!  I am the WORST.  We talked about having tea, they emailed me, I still haven't caught up on email.... and I have not had the visit.  And last week also I completely stood up another friend I haven't physically seen since I was first diagnosed - how the hell could I FORGET that we were going to meet?  I can blame chemo brain, but I really hate that.  I postponed my much anticipated lymphedema treatments again. My CCAC nursing visits too, I have cancelled the last three due to scheduling conflicts.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions is a proverb or aphorism. An alternative form is "hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works."
One meaning of the phrase is that individuals may have the intention to undertake good actions but nevertheless fail to take action. This inaction may be due to procrastination, laziness or other subversive vice. (I don't think this is me...)

Nonetheless, the saying is an admonishment that a good intention is meaningless unless followed through.

But how?  I WANT to have the friend visits.  I WANT to deal with the lymphedema.  I DON'T want to see the dermatologist...but anyway...  I think maybe I'm just tired of all of it.  I want my life back.  I cannot fathom that this is my "new normal."  I want to go to work, be healthy, run around doing everything all the time, not have to discuss why I am not at work and why I am so antisocial.  The stigma alone is worse than the diagnosis!  

I have no idea what to say when people ask me about my health.  My years of intermittent therapy-couch time have taught me to truly answer WHY I'm frustrated.  Well, this is likely it: I don't know what to say.  Metastatic Melanoma is a shitty goddamned enigma of a fatal disease and I am back to feeling like I have a digital clock blinking above my head counting down my time to live.  

I'm pretty sure that's simply Fear speaking, I don't have any medical-speak news as to why I feel this way. My last CT scans were same, no progression of disease. Unremarkable. Fantastic.  But I am still plagued with confusion about what to say when asked by friends how I am doing.  

I don't know.  I know I'm still here today, and I know I am helping my kids throw their kick-ass annual Halloween party again this weekend, and I know I have three trips to Sunnybrook in the first three weeks of November.  I know I'm still having major insomnia and I know I'd like to strangle the surgeon who made my baby cry a couple of weeks ago when re-opening her ankle surgery scars to remove TEN-FOOT LONG screws with a WOODEN screw driver!!

I can't get any more honest than that.  I hate everything. (to quote George Strait.) (Yes. George Strait.)

Thank you for listening, if you're still here reading my complaints, then awesome, yes, writing is therapeutic for me.  I wish I could learn to write FICTION!!   

Did I mention we are half-way through a kitchen reno right now?  I took a photo of my pooch the other day which just perfectly summed up my feelings.  He was looking all dejected curled up on the most uncomfortable part of the half-remodeled living room floor in the middle of all the renovation rubble and I couldn't help but giggle at that woeful little face:

PS - It's also full moon time.. that accounts for a certain amount of crazy in this household.  ;-)


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