Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pity Party

People have told me many times lately that they really admire how strong I have been since finding out Rudy has lung cancer.  They think I'm so positive and focused.  First, that attitude has not come easily.  I feel like many times I am faking it for the benefit of others, mostly Rudy.  Some days I can't even fake it. Sunday was one of those days.  I had a big pity party and it pretty much lasted all day long.

I'm not going to be hard on myself for occasionally losing my grip.  I think my life is pretty damned challenging right now.  In addition to the big, ugly thing - cancer - so many little things keep popping up.  Every day, there is a new concern or something more on my to-do list.

  • Rudy is closing his business.  I'm the bookkeeper. 
  • The flu is rampant.  Rudy's immune system is down.  We need to avoid people.  Every time I come in from unavoidable errands, I strip down, throw everything I was wearing in the wash, and take a shower.
  • Laundry piles have tripled.
  • I am having to cook way more than previously. There is enormous pressure to make those meals extra nutritious.  His bloodwork numbers are pretty poor right now.  I juice beets and apples every day.  It's not difficult, but it takes time.
  • With all the cooking comes lots of dish cleaning.  Lots.  Lots by hand (juicers and blenders).  Lots in the dishwasher.  
  • I can't eat half of what I cook for Rudy because I have IBS.  I can't afford to skip out of my nutrition needs.  If I get sick, it could be disastrous.  But truthfully, I don't always have the energy to focus much on my meals.
  • We have four cats and 6 dogs.  We are big animal lovers.  They generally bring lots of joys, but with all we have going on now, they feel overwhelming.  
  • Two of our cats are old and blind.  Henry lives in the barn/workshop.  We tried to move him into the house so we wouldn't need to heat the barn.  That didn't work out.  He terrorized one of the other cats and he starting peeing all over.  We already have another peeing cat - Cindy Lou.  Her sight is fine and she stays outside most of the time.  When we bring her in (at night and in bad weather) she manages to sneak around and mark her territory - mostly on our baseboards.  Baseboards shouldn't be on the list of things to clean often, but at our house they are. I should be cleaning them right this minute.  I'm at my wits end.  We love Cindy.  She's cute as pie.  But there are times when we are ready to declare her a permanent outside cat, no matter what the weather.  Every time we decide that, the weather turns really really bad and we cave.
  • A rescue puppy we got before the diagnosis has developed mange.  That requires lots of vet visits, special baths and medication 3x a day.  I'm taking him to the vet today for his special bath.  I still can't believe this has been added in our lives right now.  I've had a number of talks with God about it.  So far, there are no answers I can comprehend.
  • Bills.  Home bills.  Company bills.   Especially medical bills.  Luckily we have good insurance.  It's not the money.  We are not knocking on the poorhouse door.  It's the time and energy.  Dealing with medical bills is an advanced skill.  You need to match the bill to the insurance statement.  Neither are easy to decipher.  Mistakes are made.  It's a huge headache.  
  • I'm not free to clean whenever I have energy and time.  For instance, as I'm writing this post, Rudy is asleep in the recliner.  He needs his rest.  Rest is important for building platelets.  Several naps a day are good for him.  But I can't vacuum or bang around in the kitchen.  I have the energy.  I have the time.  But I need to be quiet.  So here I am on this darned computer.

I could go on and on and on.  If I had written this post on Sunday, that list would have been much longer.  Thankfully, my attitude is better now.  I've bounced back.  The pity party is over.  

When it comes to my to-do list, the thing that gets me through, and it has worked for me almost since the beginning of this cancer journey, is focusing on what I need to deal with today.  When I think of everything I need to juggle, I am overwhelmed and discouraged.  When I think of the future, I am overwhelmed, discouraged, and so sad that it's unbearable.  Even now, just writing that has made my eyes swell with tears.  BUT - when I think only of what I need to do today, it's really not so bad.  I need to spend time with Rudy.  That's the most important thing on the list.  I need to take Teddy to the vet.  I need to do some cooking and cleaning.  I've already got things in the crockpot and a load in the dishwasher.  I've also cooked pumpkin muffins (with pumpkin and raisins and walnuts - all on his list of things he needs.  The cats are fed.  Teddy has had his first dose of meds for the day.  It's not so bad.  I can do this.

I am sure that Sunday's pity party won't be my last.  Hopefully, I won't make them a habit.  They aren't helpful.  A day in pity is wasted a day.  

I have several reasons for writing this post.  Whenever someone compliments me on my strength and wonderful attitude, I feel like an imposter.  There are dark thoughts swirling thru my head that I constantly battle.  My positive attitude is a force of will.  I know there are others on the cancer journey who read my blog.  I don't want any of them for even a moment to think I'm always rosy and positive.  This is not easy.   I've never felt the need for a support group in my life, but I have been thinking seriously about joining one.  The only thing is I'm afraid if I really opened up, I might start crying and not be able to stop.  And I desperately need to hang on to being positive and happy.  That's what is called for right now.  

To stay positive, I only need to think of the good things in our life.  TRULY - Rudy and I have so much to be thankful for.    We love each other, even after all these years, and we are loved by many.  Our friend and family support group is amazing.  Our doctors and medical team at Cancer Treatment Center are phenomenal.  It's such a happy place and we are very lucky to be there.  We aren't rich by any means, but we have what we need to be happy.  We are blessed.  God is watching over us.

The pity party is over.

PS - Prayers please - We need Rudy's blood test results to be very very good this Friday.