Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I've finally found some humor in the picture I've presented for the past six days, all hooked up to my tubes and black backpack: I look like a suicide bomber! With a cane. Ha ha! Are you laughing?

So tonight I get taken off one of my drugs, and tomorrow night I get off both of them, and then my arms will be freeeeee!!! And I can change into my own shirts, take a shower, a bath, wash my haaaaaiiirrr!!! I can scarcely wait. And I think they'll take the PICC line out, which means I can have that bath without wrapping my arm in Saran wrap!

I've finally managed to describe the sound my pumps make every minute or so. It's taken me a lot of mindless time just lying there listening to them as they keep me awake, so I might as well describe them here. They sound like the glide-click sound of an auto-focus camera lens trying to close in on its mark. gliiiide-click-glide-click.

I am so behind on thank-you notes. Seriously. We keep getting such cute gifts for Benjamin, some of them from people who don't know yet, and then I wonder if I should mention something about The Cancer in my thank-you note. And then there are all manner of amazing gifts to help ease our burden. A gorgeous set of sheets. A big container of soup. A check. Babysitting offers. A set of books. Wow ...

A few friends with whom I'm less in touch are just finding out. A few have contacted me in the past week. They are still bowled over by the shock and grief of the news, having the emotional reaction I had a month ago. I remember what that felt like, so I understand what they are feeling, but there's also a disconnect: It's not so immediate for me now, so raw. I'm in a different place now - a place of just getting by, trying to live my life day to day. So when I witness the initial reaction in others, I am unsure of how to handle it. I can't bring myself to meet it with equal emotion — too exhausting — yet I want to honor their feelings and allow the space for them. Sometimes I find myself apologizing: I'm sorry you are having to find out this way. I'm sorry we have been so out of touch. I'm sorry you somehow weren't on the big e-mail list I sent out. I'm sorry you slipped through the cracks. It's making me think a lot about my friendships and how behind I have been on so many of them.


Marketing Mama said...

Em, that must be strange to still be sharing your news with people. By the way, you are totally exempt from writing thank you notes, and I'm sure Miss. Manners would agree... unless you really enjoy doing it, in which case, carry on... ;)

Anonymous said...

There once was a lady with tumors
who sifted through junk mail and rumors,
When the chemo was done
She said, "That wasn't fun,
But I made it through still with my humor."

Good luck telling the rest of your friends about this journey of yours.

--Laura S.

Emilie said...

Laura ... that was the most AWESOME limerick I have ever read! :)

LutherLiz said...

I'm sure we all understand if we don't see a thank you note, but I'm willing to bet you want to do them anyway. Know we all understand if they are delayed or don't come at all.

I'm glad that your spirits seem up and that you get to take a shower tube-free soon!

Elena said...

Coincidentally, I received a handwritten thank-you note from you two hours before I logged on and read this entry. There's no obligation attached to gifts made from the heart--not reciprocity or even thank-yous. I was glad to get the note because that way I knew you'd received the package, but an email would have served that purpose too. (Or, if I'd thought of it, a postal return receipt!) No one holds us to such high standards as we hold ourselves.

Anonymous said...

It is frustrating, indeed, when you've passed the initial shock of learning you have cancer, and then you have to deal with someone else's ititial shock after telling them. Almost like YOU'RE having to comfort THEM.

Sometimes you just have to tell them the facts (that you have cancer), and then disassociate yourself from the emotional reaction on their part, if anything, just for mental survival.

- Susanne

Emilie said...

"Almost like YOU'RE having to comfort THEM."

Exactly, Susanne.

Heidi said...

One thing I learned from one of my very best friends who had cancer several years ago was that she had to stop worrying about other people (besides immediate family--she has four kids) while she was fighting her cancer. It was hard for me, because I was hurting too from this, but I realized I had to take care of my own feelings and not make them her concern. She needed to be free to focus on her own stuff. You know what I mean? Hopefully people will give you that space too. You shouldn't have to comfort any one else right now.

SeaStar said...

It is so odd and hard, the telling people and feeling their reactions especially when one has already passed the shock. It's like other people's shock retriggers the initial pain of diagnosis, makes it more real. And the impulse to comfort others and the desire not to have to - I've been there with that too. You write profoundly and with moving reality about your struggle with cancer, and I find myself checking your blog each day, wishing you and your family well. This is the first time I have commented, but probably not the last.

Anonymous said...

The human heart craves certainy yet life is sometimes uncertain. In times of ambiguity doubt and apprehension, I claim the certain safety of my spiritual connection. Reminding myself that even in the face of difficult change, my grounding in Spirit remains secure, I find ground on which to stand. Spirit connects me to all things. It is timeless and serene. Spirit is the bedrock beneath all experience. When I am threatend and adrift, I remind myself Spirit is an innner fortress, constant and secure.

Today, I embrace Spirit as the rock of my existence. Spirit gives my soul and earthly home.

liz said...

Ugh, I hated telling people about my brother because then I would wind up comforting them. That's so NOT the way it was supposed to be!