Friday, May 2, 2014

Trying to Be Zen. Trying. Trying (Also, Baby Boot Camp, Days 3–5)

Oh, man, yesterday was hard. Everything pissed me off, I was completely exhausted, and I now realize that I forgot to call Mom; Dad met with the chemo doc yesterday (he saw the radiation doc the day before) and also had a "dry run" of his radiation treatment and got fitted for the mask they'll use to zap his brain tumors.

But I subbed all day, took a short bath after zumba, fell into bed, and was out.

Today, I am trying hard to have a better attitude. These are the mantras I'm repeating:
E-mail is the worst vehicle for tense or emotional conversations.

My brothers are good men with many good qualities, and I love them very much.

My friends care about me and want to help.

I can't control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

NONETHELESS, I just have to share this snippet of an e-mail from my youngest brother. After buying my plane tickets**, I wrote to both brothers with the date of my trip:
I think avoiding overlap is probably best, right? (though Mom did say she hoped you two could come out at the same time, to empty the loft. I would be jealous, but the fun task she's saving for me is helping to choose a funeral home. Ai yi yi!!)
Youngest Brother responded:
Maybe it's just me (and Other Brother), but cleaning out the loft just doesn't seem like the highest priority for our next visit to Chico. At some point there is going to be lots of cleaning out to be done, not just the loft.
I'm trying, I really am, but is there any way to read this in which my brother is not an enormous ass??? How about asking Mom what would be helpful to her and then just freaking do it????

Of course, this would involve actually going to Chico, which so far neither brother has made plans to do.

Breathe. Breathe.

I'm very encouraged by Mom's reports. The three things bugging Dad most right now are hip pain, constant belching, and hiccuping. Turns out, the latter two are caused by the seizure medication he's taking. The radiation, which is starting soon, will target the brain tumors and the hip cancer; once the brain tumors have shrunk, he won't have to take the seizure meds any more, and the radiation will also significantly decrease his hip pain. I am so happy about this!

He'll have chemo after that, and that will address both those sites, also his lungs, where the cancer started. (And I realized later that the Brian Piccolo deathbed voice that freaked me out so much was likely caused by the shortness of breath he's been experiencing)

Anyway, Mom really liked the radiation doctor, and everyone seems to feel confident that Dad can be a lot more comfortable very soon.

His prognosis, on the other hand, isn't great — the doctor says five months. But I'm taking comfort from other stories of people who were given months and are still here, years later. In any event, I'll be there in just a couple of weeks, and Mom says he always perks up when I'm around.

One day at a time.
OK! On to the Boot Camp report. On Wednesday I did in fact take a walk right after blogging, 40 minutes briskly up and down hills in a light drizzle, and I felt great afterward. On Thursday, I woke up with knee pain; I worked all day and was quite exhausted by 3 p.m., but I made myself go to zumba — where I felt like I was moving through molasses.

But other people in the class made similar comments, and they attributed their torpor to having a week off (last week was school vacation) – and I thought, Well, OK, if they're sluggish after just one zumba-free week, of course I will be sluggish after eight!!

But I still hate it. I am slow and clumsy and a big fat hundred year-old sloth.  

Hate. It.

Breathe, breathe. One day at a time.

I came home from zumba and lifted weights (moving up to the five-pound weights this time) and worked my core, 20 leg lifts, and then took a bath and collapsed into bed. And this morning, I saw that I had reached my goal: I'm back in the 50s, 259 pounds, even though it's a Xanadu post-zumba weight. Still, it made me happy.

Though I'm also crippled again, with more knee pain (this time in both knees) than I've had all week. It was a damn long day.

Today I subbed in the special ed learning center, and zoo-whee mama, did I earn my enormous paycheck! I am bone tired. God bless the wonderful people who do this five days a week. I spent six hours with a boy who has autism, and it drained me to my core. However, just by being my usual cheerful bubbly self, apparently he responded very well to me, because I had two different teachers come up to me and ask, "How on earth did you get through to Red Fred? He has never warmed up to a teacher this much before!", which made me feel both happy to have had this great day with him and sad that it seems to be an anomaly . . . and I really didn't have any clear answer for them.

I have more subbing anecdotes to share, but I need to go do something else now. I'll leave you with this snippet:
  • Felix Puppy Eyes (collapsing in exhaustion next to me at the playground)
  • Me: Hey, dude. You're playing hard!
  • Felix: Yeah.
  • Me: What are you going to do when you get home?
  • Felix: I dunno.
  • Me: I think I'm going to take a hot bath and drink a glass of wine and maybe pet my kitties.
  • Felix (thoughtfully): Nice.
So cute!!!

I've had the glass of wine (and a two-hour soul-restoring phone call with Lady Darcy); Husband is bringing me a hot pastrami sandwich; I have all of Wednesday night's fabby TV shows to watch (through the miracle of the VCR); and a hot bath may well be in my future.

One day at a time.

love and kisses,
Lady C

** J, I appreciate your offer of miles more than words can say. I got a decent price from United, it just felt easier, and at the time, easier meant a lot. But I suspect that there will be many more trips westward in the future, and I may well take you up on your incredibly kind offer down the road.


  1. Hey, no worries on the miles. They'll be waiting there for you, should you need them. Probably can be bought with a few minutes work -- not that I've ever done it, of course.

    You are amazing -- all that you do and take on. Yeah, brothers, they're very good at knowing what should be done and then wondering why you didn't do it. (Actually, one of my sisters is that way, too.) Anyway, the trend is as old as time -- not that it makes anything easier!

    EJ coined the phrase last weekend (after her father's memorial) "the next hardest thing". Things can be tough, but we do get through them.

    We all got your back, sister!

    Love, J.

  2. "Word," as the kids say, to your whole note. Well, maybe the kids said that 20 years ago, what do I know. But yes, absolutely true, all of it.

    Thanks for having my back, sister-friend!


  3. Oh no... I haven't popped in on your blog in a bit, and I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. It sounds heartbreaking, and I hope he is one of those exceptional ones who outlives and outlasts beyond any predictions. I"m sending vibes and hugs your way...

  4. Thank you, my henna-haired beauty! I appreciate your kind thoughts so much. He has always been an exceptional dad, so maybe he'll be an exceptional cancer patient -- who knows.