P.I.T.A. Party

17 Oct

The reality is that our reality has changed. Dramatically. Even a headache that lasts more than a day feels like a potential portent of doom. (It was eyestrain. The hubby is now sporting some stylin’ reading glasses.)

I feel like when you are at this point — this eight months past the last chemo — all should be hunky-dory. You should be living life to its fullest. Able to finally live in the moment. Be mindful. And it seems like the expectation is there.

Probably every last one of you has quietly asked, “So how is he?” when the moment lends itself. No one wants to rock the boat. Or remind us of that very black year. But the reality for us is THAT WAS OUR YEAR. We lived every solitary moment of the fear and anguish and hellishness.

It WAS OUR YEAR and it has been imprinted chemically and physically like those scientists with the geese. We do try to move on. We try so hard we find our teeth tightly clenched and our knuckles tight-white. We make BIG plans. ELABORATE plans. We remodel our ENTIRE house. New paint, new furniture. We start FRESH. We start nailing down our vision for a chicken coop (along with the plans). We order seeds for next year’s garden. We plan to finally spend a decidedly long span of time JUST THE FOUR OF US. On an ISLAND (anywhere). We start chipping away at the list of dear friends we want to have over for dinner in our new kitchen, hoping they’ll understand if we call to cancel last minute.

But even in the planning there lies the tick-tock-clock of if only. If only we can hit that first three-year mark. THEN and ONLY THEN will we really and truly be able to take a big DEEP BREATH.

In the meantime, we deal. We deal with a fresh round of colon action that has left the hubby moaning (worst) and running to the bathroom over 10 times a day (best). We go back to Dr. Matt (that’s Dr. Asshole to you — his nickname, not mine) and I cry. I need him to say it’s nothing. But he can’t. Because it’s most definitely SOMETHING. It just may not be the really BAD something (return o’ the tumor). It may only be a LITTLE something (no more dairy or a lot more fiber). But what remains is the anxiety over which something it is. I beg him to tell me and I can tell he really, really wants to give me the answer I need. But he can’t.

So we cancel our weekend away for a friend’s 40th. Stay close to home. Make the best of it. I quietly tuck away the girls’ weekend in Steamboat I’d already declined. I need to be HERE.

That’s our new reality. We shift, we bend. We adapt. We support the hubby (even if it means a whole round of deep disappointment for the little girls over a cancelled trip). I told the girls, “Daddy hasn’t been feeling well and we’re a family. That means we do what we have to do to support each other. That’s what families do.” And they got it.

He is so much more himself when we’re home and together. The anxiety ripples across his face each time we are about to leave the house for any length of time. Getting caught somewhere and feeling humiliated is just not anyone’s idea of fun. So staying home it is. I’m in.

Miss-miss said, “Daddy, you’re just sick. It doesn’t mean you have cancer again.” And it was like a shot through the heart. Her anxieties laid bare. Because we all are thinking it.

The bean had a different take. A friend’s sister just got diagnosed and she said, “That kind of cancer isn’t scary. It’s just sad.” Oh? What kind is that? “Daddy’s kind. POOPER CANCER.”

And I should be clear. We are most definitely fine. We are living life. We aren’t house bound. We get out. We ride bikes. We hike. Go to Boulder’s awesome restaurants. And spend the afternoon at a particularly near and dear one in Lakewood. (Shameless plug: UNION BRASSERIE). Most days we are pretty damned normal. We’ve just learned to be flexible. To know that not all of those BIG PLANS will happen. Day-to-day PLANS just aren’t in the cards. That is just our new reality.

Instead we find ourselves soaking up the joy of an impromptu gathering of neighbors in our front yard. Or a tromp through the leaves with the girls.

And now we wait for the scope (scheduled for 11.11.11) and just focus on eating fiber. Lots of fiber. And keeping a food journal and making plans. BIG plans that no effin cancer can take back.

(You HEAR ME, cancer?)

Because we are SO DONE with you. And you? You can be a real PAIN IN THE ASS.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: All My Friends. LCD Soundsystem. And so it starts.
You switch the engine on. We set controls for the heart of the sun. One of the ways we show our age.

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