Round 3 of 12. As a very good friend and neighbor pointed out to me today, we are 1/4 of the way done! Wow! I thought, great perspective, and very welcomed today as I’m struggling a bit through some extra sensitive emotions. My grandmother on my mom’s side died a few days ago. She was very old and died not because of some terrible disease that she had struggled with for years, not because of infection or a fall or some awful tragedy. She died because it was her time. She was surrounded by all her children in a quiet peaceful room. She hung on for way longer than the doctors thought she would, as my mom put it, She’s a tough old bird! And she was. She was loved and will be missed incredibly, she lived a good long time. But all this got me thinking, Shouldn’t we all be so lucky? To die without pain, at an old age, after a good run at life, surrounded by those we love. Everyone deserves that.
This week has been a rough one. My sons 5th birthday party was such a success, but I don’t know if I can adequately describe the fight my husband and I got into the night before the party. I admit it, my emotions run high during holidays and birthdays. Add this on top of the cancer treatment and the passiveness I’ve taken over the past 3-4 weeks in an attempt to keep everything very calm and not create any undue stress for my husband. I hit an inflection point and I knew I was going to blow my lid. Not just that, but the fact that I still can’t get my husband to talk to me about any of this! I am still convinced he is in deep denial, and as I’m trying to work through this, he remains unphased and completely disregards any real or raw emotions I try to bring to him. Do you know how unbearably maddening it is to have the one person who understands exactly what you’re going through just up and refuse to talk to you about it? He makes me feel like I’m a complete lunatic! While he remains calm, joyful even, as he is making appointments for chemotherapy (poison) and scheduling all this shit that NOONE should be happy about. He just happily whistles a little tune and carries on like everything is fucking fine. Meanwhile, I am trying my best to maintain normalcy and pretend (for him) like things are fine. Well things are not fucking fine. And I just couldn’t take it any more. So that night, the night before the party, I let it all out. The vitamins that he was refusing to take, but was blissfully still smoking cigarettes. (While on chemotherapy. For cancer.) The fact that he adamantly denies he’s in denial about all this. (Isn’t that, like, the most classic symptom of denial?) The fact that he WON’T talk to me or listen to me about any of this and when I even attempt to have a conversation with him, he tells me I’m making it all about me, and gets up and literally walks out of the room. It makes me feel completely disregarded and like an absolute basket case because I NEED to talk about this! Then I’m left second guessing myself, like, Am I making this about me? I mean, yes, I am an asshole some of the time, but I feel like I’ve truly turned a corner in that regard. And, while I admit, I am the one that needs to talk about this, he might need something different. Even so, this is definitely not all about me. But it is also not only about him.
It was late at night when this all erupted. In that moment, I was literally fuming. We had actually had a pretty calm conversation earlier in the day as I could feel I was almost at my boiling point. We sat down across from eachother, he talked, I cried, he attempted to listen, and when it was all said and done, we had a list of to-do’s. I had had a conversation with a friend a few weekends back and she mentioned something to me about asking him how I could help him. This all came about because I kept complaining that everything I was doing in an attempt to be helpful and useful was being met with resistance or was being thrown by the wayside in some form. So she asked me if I had asked him how I could help. I had not, but I thought it was a good idea and decided I had nothing to lose. So our to-do list consisted of him trying to be more aware of when I was struggling and being able to offer me reassurance during those times (for example, him seeing me struggle, coming over to me and saying something like, I see that you’re struggling, how can I help?) and me asking more direct questions on topics or feelings I’d like to discuss (for example, me asking things like, If you were to tell someone who was just diagnosed with cancer how chemotherapy felt, what would you tell them?) So now, although I have no background as an investigative journalist, I somehow have to become an expert at formulating the right questions and asking them at an appropriate time just to get my husband to tell me about how he is feeling. Ughhh whatever. I was not happy with this setup. Just more of the mental load for me to shoulder. Why was it up to me to draw this out of my husband? Why couldn’t he just offer this up to me like some little glimmer of a normal reaction to a stage 4 cancer diagnosis? Nope, I don’t get that. That is not my life.
So yea, I was not happy with this setup. It had stirred in me all day. As we were running around getting the birthday cake and picking up last minute decorations, all I could think about was that he just gets to live his life like normal, and if I wanted any sort of connection with him about this, it was up to me to make that happen. I was furious! How could he do that to me! I have literally given up EVERYTHING to make him comfortable! All my energy, all my time, all my brain power, all my focus, every effort I put in to researching doctors and hospitals and vitamins and procedures and creating a log of medications and his reactions to each. The backseat that I’ve taken at my job, with my own children, with my friends. Literally EVERYTHING has been put on the back burner and all I ask is for a bit of real vulnerability from the one person who I love most in this world, the one who knows exactly what I’m going through. I couldn’t take it any more, I was completely done. It was ALL weighing on me.
And I let it out.
Have you ever heard the saying that no good conversation happens after 10pm? Its true. I was outside screaming at him in our backyard, likely with neighbors listening. I didn’t care. He was smoking cigarettes, and that was just the icing on this shit cake. I told him everything. All the things he didn’t want to hear. All the awful statistics that he refused to read or know about. I told him that the reason I was SO upset is because I didnt want him to die. And I don’t! That is the absolute truth! I told him that I didnt want him to fall into the 62% statistic for those who are dead 5 years after this diagnosis. I told him that all these things I was doing, all the research, all the vitamins, was because I wanted him to LIVE! And he was taking all that and just throwing it out the door, and SMOKING on top of it. I told him that he deserved to feel like crap after chemotherapy and I hoped he did.
And I felt awful.
Guess I am still an asshole after all. It was another one of those moments that I am not proud of. It was a hard night. Its been a hard week. We both said things that we regret, well, at least I know I said things I regret, we havent actually talked about that night. I have a feeling we’d both just rather forget it happened and move on. Sometimes sorry just isn’t enough.
So we got the chemo box off today, and right on schedule, my husband feels like crap. The diarrhea is back with a vengeance and his energy has completely tanked. At least when he’s so exhausted, he’s not on the toilet! There’s a bright spot, lol He’s had a bit more nauseousness this round, no actual puking yet, but he just feels queezy. That’s not fun. This is only round 3. I cannot believe we’re only on round 3!! Why do I feel like time is just creeping along? I feel like we may NEVER get to the end at this pace! We might kill eachother before then.
Just kidding of course!