I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
I can usually shake it off, but this morning was different. It was as if I was drowning in what a fellow blogger coined in the phrase a wave of blue. (Thank-you, christinegoodnough.com.)
My husband and I had plans to visit a friend in Collingwood and pick some fresh off the tree apples and pears, but a wave of blue kept me from being able to move forward with this plan.
I slept in. That’s not like me. I didn’t jump out of bed. That’s not like me. I was not even interested in playing with the dog. That’s not like me.
“How are you this morning, Stacey?”, my husband inquired. “How well did you sleep?”
“I’m not sure how I slept.” I replied. And I really did not or could not answer that question.
I’m not sure why I didn’t sleep. May have been something related to the episode of Orange is the New Black I watched. Not to give away any parts of the story – it was related to the in-made who had cancer. I related to her – not being an inmate of course, but the cancer piece. Not good to watch those kinds of things – but I didn’t know it was coming. When I went to bed, I was flooded by doubt and fear. My husband tucked me in and he stayed with me while I cried. There was really nothing he could say — the reality is we don’t know what either Tuesday (debrief for my biopsy and CAT scan) will bring and Wednesday (my second injection of chemo) will bring. I’m not even sure I want to know the results. They won’t change my condition anyhow – and getting bad news will not help me to be strong. I always thought I wanted to know when I was dying – but now, I ‘m not so sure.
When I was told my Mom was dying, I felt certain that I needed to let her know too. I remember hearing the lady in the bed next to my mom crying for us when she over-heard the news. “Are you willing to fight, Mom?” I implored.
“You bet I am!” she responded with conviction.
I wonder, today, if that was such a good idea. I know the outcome would not likely have been any different, but I desperately hope I did the right thing by telling her the news? Do I want to know if the cancer has spread to my lungs – or beyond? How will knowing change anything. I am doing everything I can right now anyhow. Why would I want to know if the cancer is resistant to chemo?
After our morning coffee, I asked my husband if he wanted to go for our walk. “Of course.” he replied in an encouraging manner. Off we went. I felt funny. I felt distant. Things I saw upset me more than usual. There was garbage that had been strewn throughout the parking lot attached to the wetland. I was offended. There was no obvious garbage can placed by the park by the City. I was incensed that the City could be so stupid. There was a bus parking only sign. I was critical – why is that sign there? No busses go in anyhow. What a waste of money. The dog was not walking right with us. I was disappointed that she was behaving so poorly. As we approached Tiffin Street, I knew how I felt. “I am angry.” I said to my husband. “I am angry with everything and everyone. ” Silence. He was smart not to respond. I would have snapped at him for trying to solve the problem of my anger. He was good.
“Just don’t be angry with yourself, Stacey.” he replied.
I vented about things I was angry about. I also explained that I knew I had no right to be angry. There was nothing anybody had done that I should be angry about. I was just angry. “There is nothing wrong with being angry.” my husband again replied.
I vented more. I vented until I cried. I stopped walking and sobbed. There it was. I was sad. My husband took me into his arms and I sobbed. No words were spoken. None needed to be. We both knew that this was long over-due. My energy drained from the very core of my soul. “I am struggling to put one foot in front of the other.” I tried to explain. “I have no energy. I am not strong. I am not courageous. I am scared. I just can’t do it today.”
“Then use me for your strength today, Stacey.” my husband re-assured me. It’s okay to be human. You don’t always have to be strong.
Wow – this was the second time I had heard that on this day. I tried to understand what that meant – but I didn’t have the energy to even consider why that was important. I cried some more.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we continued our walk. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. But we kept walking. Each step closer to home lifted my mood – but only milli-fractions at a time.
We arrived home to an invitation from friends of ours to meet us for (another) walk. Off we went. “Are you okay, Stacey?” my husband gently inquired.
“No. Not really.” I replied. “But I think I will be.” And I closed my eyes. My head pounded and the wave of blue returned. I felt like I was drowning. I opened my eyes to look outside in an attempt to re-surface. Nope. I couldn’t focus through the freaking tears again. I couldn’t help it. And I couldn’t help but tear-up when we met our friends for the second walk of our day.
“Sorry, we are late.” I apologized. “I am having a melt-down.”
“That’s okay, Stacey. You’re allowed to be human you know.” my friend reassured me.
I explained how I was feeling – that I was both mad and sad and that the episode of Orange is the New Black probably triggered my emotions. Furthermore Tuesday and Wednesday were looming in front of me. Nonetheless, we gathered our strength and off we went.
I always feel better after a walk with this couple as they have great senses of humour and we are just silly together. She is a teacher and he works in the medical world. Our conversations are interesting and we always find some phrase that we cling to for the duration of our walks. This time round, in honour of my very bad mood, we prefaced everything with the four-letter word beginning with “f”, followed by “it”. Amazing how swearing can rid you of the anger toxin. It became funny to see our friends swearing. Good thing we were deep in the woods. Eventually, the “f” word was replaced with a line from some web-site commercial where a woman uses the web service to develop her business that everyone told her she would fail. Her response to everyone was, “stick it!” Although it is a little more aggressive than I am – it does make me chuckle, for the most part. (Here’s the link if you wish to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIBfctISM9M). So “stick-it” became our new banter. We started to laugh more. We laughed down a steep hill. We laughed along side a river where our dogs frolicked. We laughed through the underbrush and we laughed as we approach a bridge. Here, we were faced with a steep up-hill ascent. “Mid-way is Tuesday.” I announced. “The top is Wednesday. So once we are at the top – there is no more climb. After my chemo on Wednesday, I can relax.” I encouraged. Up the hill we climbed. At the top – I felt like a victor. I was still upset, but not angry.
We finished our walk an hour or so later and parted ways. The dogs were exhausted and so was I. I still am. I am drained. But I’m not angry. I still want to shut out the world and snuggle into my bed to find solitude.
I plugged in the kettle to brew my “green tea” – the anti-cancer agent I read about in my new book from Bruce. I have not given up. I will not give up. I am just taking a pause. I am bathing in a wave of blue, but I think I can still swim. I may need a life-ring today to help keep me afloat and it feels like I am swimming today against the current. But I am swimming and will keep on swimming.
And the cancer? What will happen if I find out it has spread tomorrow? What will happen if I find out the chemo is not working? I don’t know. I guess cancer can just go and “stick it!”