The Dawkter's Wife - It's all champagne and caviar now … dahling

Surviving Cancer,The Loony Bin

August 8, 2008

Back in the Saddle…

It has taken me a few days to get adjusted to being back home. It’s hard for me to believe that a week ago I was in Frankfurt getting ready to fly back…2 weeks ago I was on my way TO Germany. Time just flies by too fast! We are already in the grips of the back-to-school countdown and are trying to get everything lined up before we go for our family vacation in less than 2 weeks. When we get back, Andrew will return to school. I’m so not ready to get up early again every day and to readjust to the grind of homework, projects and shorter days. I have to seriously get my ducks in a row for school for myself as well, or I’ll end up not being able to get that taken care of too. I’ve decided to switch child care providers for Zoe, so…I need to take care of things…and…I have to re-register … long story…and now I can’t decide what I want to take anyway. LOL All good problems, of course!

To top it off, the German program that I was supposed to help get off of the ground a few years ago but that didn’t get funding and fizzled out….is now taking off….Right before I left for Germany, the director of the German Program contacted me and asked me for a meeting…which took place this morning. I assumed that I might help out from time-to-time with teaching or something….but his expectations are much higher. I am motivated to get this program built too and there are some ambitious plans for the future…but it looks like I will be putting in much more time than I bargained for. The start date for the school is already planned and it looks like I will have to meet with the University, and meet with the director again as many times as necessary in the next month to do curriculum development. He said he wants to split the time commitment for Sat. mornings and share the responsibility. I’m excited, but intimidated at the same time. How is it that the minute I get busy I end up getting super-duper busy? I’m nervous…I really am. With my energy level where it is at right now, I’m wondering how I can bring all of these things…family, school, and german program under one hat.

This has really been such a good summer! I desperately needed it after this past Winter/Spring. I have been able to recover emotionally from the steroids and the stress of driving all over the place last school year. My only complaint is that … well…I am still struggling with the breathing issues and pleural pain…and when we were in Germany and were doing a lot of walking, I developed the sensation (real or imagined) that my heart was skipping a beat from time-to-time. This has continued since I got home and now it has started to consume my thoughts. I brushed it off when we were in Europe and told myself that it might be the stress of being away from the kids, in-my-head, or just a result of the travels. I have no idea now really what to do about it all because…after my experience with the pulmonologist (an add to that the fact that I’m probably hypersensitive to people’s comments/criticisms regarding health issues) I don’t know who to talk to about this if anyone. Seriously..steroids are not an option for me…ever….ever….ever again. Not unless I’m truly dying or something. I have a steroid inhaler that I could try and I’m on the fence…do I try that on my own? Do I talk to my internist? oncologist? asshat pulmonologist? Do I just try and ignore it and get over this? This is really a point of suffering me and I truly feel like I’m just losing my marbles over it. I don’t want to be the whiney/complaining patient that I hear about so my gut instinct is to try and just suck it up…….sigh…as a result…I feel alone. I’m letting it occupy too much of my thoughts……

I also came across a story about a woman from the Twin Cities who was diagnosed with cancer the same month that I was. She was also pregnant … she had surgery and chemo during her pregnancy and delivered a healthy boy who is now 2….but she is not doing well now. I read her story and spent over an hour sobbing over it. Sometimes grief just overwhelms me when it hits me….Then yesterday, our lawn man (whom we have known for 5 years now) came up to the door and rang our bell. He is ~70 and works for the family business cutting lawns and doing landscaping. His daughter (who I know) is the owner.

He stood at my door with the tag for my plumb tree in his hand and said “I killed your tree. I’m so sorry.” The tree had died over the winter though and I knew that we had already had the conversation about getting rid of it. Then he commented on my raspberry bushes….he gave me some of them a couple of years ago when I was recovering and we get a huge bowl full almost daily now!

He kept standing there and I came outside.

He looked at his feet and said “So, I remember when you had cancer…”

I didn’t know what to say…and then he continued “I have cancer now…” We stood outside on my porch for nearly a half an hour and I listened while he talked about the tests, the waiting, the surgery he is about to have, his fears, facing death….He had tears in his eyes the whole time…his voice shook…

I felt so terrible for him and for his family….and after he left…I have to admit it…I felt sort of terrible for me for awhile….and what do I even have to feel bad about now?

Today I’m back to driving kids around, supervising toddlers, taking care of the turtles (ummm, did I mention that we how have SIX? Lord help me!)….and the rhythmic hum of our daily routine has reemerged.

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