Today has been a bit of an emotional ride for me and I will apologize in advance for anything that doesn’t appear to make sense or might offend. The intention is to do neither, but when running on emotions, sometimes things can no longer be controlled. With the week I have ahead, I don’t want to skip blogging about today and give the feelings too much time to settle; it will not only ruin my writing, but I don’t really know when I will have the opportunity to take the time to write again.
This morning I woke and fully expected to be heading to chemotherapy. As Friday was part of the Thanksgiving holiday at my oncologist’s office, they were closed and my appointment with him (and possible treatment) had been moved to today. I loathe going to chemo; it’s really not the way I want to spend my day and the days following are usually rough. Eleana, one of my best friends, is returning to Peru this week for just three days before heading to a job in another state. I really didn’t want to miss out on getting to see her because I was sick. My fingers were definitely crossed that for some reason there wouldn’t be a treatment today.
Dr. Brooks seemed reluctant to enter the room, which made me oddly nervous. Looking back on it, I can’t help but laugh a little; it wasn’t as if he could give me any worse news than I have cancer. He had a huge stack of papers in his hand, which turns out was part of my test results. The reason he had been reluctant to join us, he said, was that he didn’t have one piece of the results due to some kind of paperwork flaw. The final test was being done, but it would be another five to eight days before it was completed. In the mean time, he did not want to do chemo today (yay!) so that once he had these results and could get me into either the study in Phoenix or the one at the University of Arizona, we could begin immediately. His hope was that a new treatment would come within the next week or two.
Some of the less exciting news, however, was that the test results said my cancer should be responding to the treatments I am on. Clearly, this test isn’t flawless, but it did give us a few things that might push my cancer into remission. There were a few oral agents as well as IV ones left as options, but I still can’t seem to get over the fact that our best bets are the ones currently in use that aren’t working. I can only hope one of the other ones work better…or else I’m not sure what our options will be.
Overall, I considered my appointment a win and celebrated with Malika at a ceramic painting store. I was giddy with the knowledge that I would have two entire weeks of feeling great without chemotherapy (and ignoring the nagging thought that my cancer was getting some time to grow.) In fact, my giddiness spilled onto Facebook, where I was about to post a second status celebrating my lack of chemotherapy when I spotted something of great interest to me (which was followed by a text from one of me nieces). My eldest niece (via marriage) is having her first child. It was as if someone had thrown ice water into my face. Until now, most of the people on Facebook celebrating their pregnancies were distant friends (with the exception of my friend Candace.) While it wasn’t easy to see tons of sonograms and countdowns to due dates, I tolerated it by my well trained avoidance. I just skip their posts for the most part (again, with the exception of Candace). It’s that easy.
But how do you skip your niece? How can you not find a little bit of excitement and joy over the fact that you will be a great-aunt?
Um, apparently it’s slightly possible. I love Marette and am so very happy for her, but as I said, it was as if someone threw ice cold water on me. My mood did a complete turn about; I cried. It’s been a long time since I have ever been so confused emotionally: I was happy for my niece (who I know wants this so badly) and yet I was jealous and heartbroken. I feel as if everyone else is able to move on with their lives and I’m in suspended animation. Milo and I can’t try to have a baby; we can’t even really plan for one soon. We can’t adopt. We can’t leave Arizona. I have to stay right where I am, working where I am; until I’m in remission for long enough that they give me the green light to move forward. I hate it. The trapped feeling I get, the longing for what I am missing…it eats at me. In cases like today, it also makes me feel like a horrible person. I can’t just force the green dragon back into her box and paste a smile onto my face; I’m a horrible poker player that way. I’m jealous. I’m disappointed that Marette and I, who had talked about raising babies together, won’t get to do that. I’m worried I’ll never get to achieve that dream, that having a family is slipping through my fingers. In times like these, I simply want to wallow and be the jealous five-year-old I am behaving like. Yet, while I know it will sting, I am going to do my best and push that aside…and do some major spoiling of my first great-niece or nephew!
(Oh, and for those interested, I am apparently not alone. While the following article is about women who have lost babies via miscarriage or infant death, it is something the women in one of my cancer groups agree applies to all of us: http://facesofloss.com/real-advice/dealing-with-pregnant-friends-babies)