November 16, 2014
I feel so much in limbo. With so much change this year and more still to come, I am experiencing emotions unlike I’ve ever felt. I have had and will still have some great days. In the last few months I’ve had a spontaneous resolution to a chronic partial bowel obstruction, began practicing yoga (love it!), lunches with the girls, have enjoyed walks in the park on simply beautiful days and have slowed my pace of life significantly. I am, however, still in treatment for my cancer. In fact, since January of this year I have had 3 different chemo regimens and now facing yet a fourth one. My cancer does not seem to be responding to anything we’ve tried so far. I’m living in parallel universes. Some days I just feel too good to believe I have cancer, then I get random and nasty reminders. In the last several weeks I’ve had a few bouts of sickness, not chemo related. Potentially, and most likely, a sign that cancer is dancing around on my intestines again. My scans and tumor marker results indicate progression, hence the rapid fire chemo switch ups.
It seems no matter how good I may feel, how well my day may be going, I have a period each day where I feel….melancholy? No, thats not it. Sad? Scared? No, not quite those either. What is this I am feeling? It is mostly unfamiliar to me but I think it is grief. I asked myself the other day why I care that I will die earlier rather than later. I do worry about my family when I am gone. They all need me in some way or another. I am a critical part to the function of our family; the “glue” if you will. I also worry about the death process particularly from cancer. I am afraid of being sick and afraid of the pain it might bring. But mostly I think a lot about the future I won’t see. I may miss out on children’s marriages, birth of grandchildren and easy retirement years with my husband, but if I am dead, I won’t really care, now will I? So I spent some time examining this question and realized that I am grieving my future loss. It’s not the sharp pain of loss that occurs immediately following the loss of a loved one, but more like the empty and surreal feeling that settles in after the flow of cards and casseroles have stopped.
I’m told (constantly) to live in the present. Don’t think about what’s to come, everyone says. But I don’t know how to do that. Bob and I looked at some communities in a part of the state we think we would like to retire to. It was fun and exciting, but afterward I felt that weird emptiness again. I have decided to not put our plans on hold because of my health. Lets move forward as if…but my post retirement desires are different now in that the plans and decisions we make need to sustain Bob, not me. It’s almost like I am already “looking down” on the life that I will not be a part of. At some point it becomes no longer about me.