I don’t have a ton of pride, I’m more of a self-respect type of woman. The nurses at my various procedures are constantly trying to tie up my gown, or throw another robe on me, scandalized by my milky white rear end floating like a moon around my bed.
But I will cop to a certain pridefulness in front of my kids when I want to appear to be strong. Once Max is back at school, I think I’ll be able to relax the standards a bit, not hold myself up quite so high, and I’m glad he won’t be here every day to see my fight through the chemo. It’s a sad day when simply being CLOTHED is considered a high standard.
The plan at this point is for my dye assistant, Layla, to pick up some of the slack I am dropping during my recovery, and perhaps to do some specialty orders. We won’t be up to our old dye schedule for quite a while, but perhaps we can devise a new normal to allow us to continue to develop color ways, products and projects, while at the same time allowing Layla and Kathleen to have more creative input into the biz.
That part is HARD for me. I wouldn’t call myself a ‘control freak’, but my NAME is on the company (well, 4 letters of my name) and I feel an ownership of the creative side that I might not feel if we had just named our company, “Minnesota Nice Yarns” or something like that.
Apparently my tumor has been a sneaky pete, waiting around, hiding in places where only an MRI would find it. I can’t be TOO angry at the tumor, after all, I made it. And I’m enough of a crafty woman to appreciate a good (artistic?) creation.
[caption id="attachment_6061" align="alignright" width="300"] During each radiation treatment Xrays were used to align the laser for best zapping power[/caption]
The tumor has grown straight (well, not really in-a-line-straight) through my T10 vertebra and is going into my T9. There’s also some growth to the right, which I can feel, which is the weirdest thing in the world.
If I sound scattered, confused, I am. It seems that NO ONE can clearly tell me what is a Spinal vs. a Lumbar Puncture vs. A Blood Patch, but I’m getting all three of them, over the next two days, and I wish I could be anywhere but here.
I’ll be visualizing the loveliest, longest, most beautiful warm-evening bike ride ever. Or maybe a magical Winter evening ride, around the lake, with all my skin covered and twinkling lights strewn over my bike.
But peace wasn’t in her future, and — having been told that it would be perhaps 4 months or so before mom would be going into hospice — I left mom living with my brother Jimmy and his wife, Karen and went home for my own medical journey. I had all the support I needed, it was important that mom wasn’t part of that support. But I was scared, of course, and I don’t know if I was fully prepared for the ways a hysto would change a 40-year old woman’s life. But that’s a different story for a different blog post.
Just about 4 months to the day from returning home I received a call from my brother’s line. As I answered I just assumed, “Oh, that’s Jimmy calling to tell me that Mom’s condition has worsened and it’s time to begin thinking about palliative care.”
But it wasn’t. It was mom telling me that the previous evening Jimmy had passed away from a heart attack. At age 45. And it was exactly as heartbreaking for everyone as you would expect.
Before I left the hospital I joked with one of the nurses about the intimate things I was threatening to put on the Caring Bridge task page, but it was whistling past the graveyard as I was FLAT OUT TERRIFIED.
Once I was home, faced with the reality of what life may be like with so much exhaustion layering every aspect of my life, that little ‘wipe me’ joke wasn’t funny at all.
On the day I returned from the hospital I could barely make it up the stairs into my house. “I need to get a cane.” was all I could say to Gerry. I’d already lost so much energy that my goal was simply to walk up the stairs to use the bathroom. And I didn’t make it.
And it’s only going to get harder. And I am terrified. And I hate our stair carpeting.
A belief is SUCH a personal thing. You cannot CHOOSE a belief, it is — by definition — what you BELIEVE. I think because of societal pressures, ease of social mobility, the need to just get along in a family and community, some folks DO choose to believe what their family has all believed before them. I choose not to.
My belief is simple; whatever god there is can be found in the action of a human helping another human, or helping make the world a better place. Period.
So pray for me, or don’t, but please don’t feel badly if I would rather put my trust in Minerva McGonagall over Mother Mary. Professor McGonagall is definitely more my jam.
[caption id="attachment_5983" align="alignright" width="300"] A Single Heart. Delicious.[/caption]
The Portland Interview was really fun, no baking but lots of talking. They REALLY asked tough questions, it was a very serious interview. Then after that they did a short, 7 minute videotaped interview and I bonded with “my” producer and left feeling like I’d had a blast!
Traveling back to MN I remember thinking, “If this ends now, I would be happy just to have been part of this process so far!”