Another week looms. My face is looking more “normal” (now the stitches are out) although my brain seems to be staggering a few steps behind. Despite my various incapacities I now have about 4 weeks to get organised before I move house. This is a colossal downsizing operation (and an emotional minefield) which means that I need to be fully medicated in order to get a wiggle-on with pruning my possessions. I have managed about 3 hours worth today which has barely got me to base camp…especially as I get side-tracked at every available opportunity, but I have started! I have my eye steadfastly set on the finishing post (or “a” finishing post) when I have moved, am in my own new environment (unpacked and box-free) and am divorced so I can (I hope) start re-building rather than ripping the past apart.
Meantime I have to get through this. I feel drop-dead tired and as if someone is sitting on my chest forcing shallow breathing and panic so I have to keep stopping what I am doing to take deeper breaths and calm down. I have had lots of offers of help which has been amazing BUT unfortunately I need to get through this sorting part before I can think of delegating anything. My organisational/multi-tasking skills seem to have gone into free-fall but I am relying on the fact that everything will get done, maybe not as efficiently as I have managed in the past but it will all happen. I also acknowledge that divorce, death of friend, life-threatening illness and house move are amongst the top stress factors and, true to form, I am doing all 4 concurrently, so I try to be kind to myself. Time to start making some lists and then attempt to remember where I put them…
More scans this week…
More blood tests this week…
….but it’s Wimbledon this week too….
You might think that I have visited and been treated in enough hospital departments, have enough medical issues and enough scheduled tests on my plate …but it appears not.
Through the door has popped a leaflet (nay…invitation) to enter another NHS specialty via the bowel scope screening service. Whilst I acknowledge that this summons has been triggered by age, surely the NHS is able to either not send or send an adapted letter to those actively being treated for cancer (there must be plenty of us out there) .
Whilst it is as likely for me, as the next person to have bowel cancer…I am not bothered about it and am certainly not going to actively seek it out. Despite the encouraging test “Most people are glad they had bowel scope screening done”…I think that I will not be one of them…I have enough cancer to deal with without adding a new strand (along with its enema).
I did open up the package thinking – really? am I really being sent this? Someone, somewhere must be having a right laugh
It was just so perfect (given that funeral and perfect rarely sit happily in the same sentence) that my friend’s final rite of passage was to the haunting sound of 2 Indian drummers. Their beat slow and resonant, from a quiet start, louder and louder until we were all filled with the insistent vibration marking the “official” end to her life…
“…the rest is silence”
…and so, I attempt to move on. I hadn’t exactly anticipated quite how badly the funeral day might end. Whether it was the stress of the occasion, or something else entirely, suffice it to say I had another of my collapsing incidents. This time it was a head to head with the pavement which left me lying in a pool of blood wondering what on earth had happened. I thought it looked worse than it was and so just got myself home and went to bed…despite clothes covered in blood, towels covered in blood, drying clots in my hair and…and then bedclothes covered in blood. I still thought it was “fine” the next morning but was persuaded by some young (and far more sensible) people that I should get it looked at.
4 hours later…after ECG, brain scan, blood tests, lights in my eyes, poking about in my ears and “confusion” (my word, not theirs!) tests -which I nearly failed as I briefly couldn’t remember which month it was…Stitches..or a stitch was briefly mentioned as the doctor put some steri-strips on. He wanted to refer me to “plastics” for stitching as the wound was on my face and went off to arrange an appointment for me. I was very surprised on his return, to find that not only could I have the appointment now but that I was about to add a whole new department to my list…Off to Max Fax!
I was seen straight away and then sewn up. One stitch be damned, it was a regular needlework session across my eyebrow, forehead and nose…done by a very lovely doctor in a really caring and professional way.
Still no clue what is causing these collapses so currently the best guess is…stress…Maybe I am just off the scale!
Back to the herceptin tomorrow…hopefully a quiet day today.
It’s Friday night…how hard can that be? A toss up between a very camp looking pink (coloured bottle) of gin – “Pinkster” which “looked” fabulous with a suitable summer flavouring of raspberry or the apparent Scarborough Fair option (rosemary and thyme) – Gin Mare. I chose the latter – very good choice but now hankering for the unchosen selection. There were (of course) more, but I had quickly narrowed it down to my line of vision. It will have to be another time…meantime I still have my brand of choice at home “Deaths Door” – which works for me….
With my anti-depressants cranked up to maximum, I am starting to feel “better”. Whether I am better enough to speak at funeral next week remains to be seen, but it may be a team effort and that’s OK. People I can trust to lean on and who can lean on me, we will get through…
Meantime I worry…I worry about…(amongst a diaspora of concerns)
- My herceptin treatment. How will I organise this next day treatment whilst I am at a funeral? Should this worry even be on my radar?
- I seem to have several lymph glands erupting (?) – am I imagining it?
- Upcoming scans
- Do I take sleeping tablets and feel/act like a zombie or do I just not sleep and get through lots of reading (or howling) instead?
…and of course these sit beside the rolling cloud “boneless bird” worries of how full the fridge is..(too full…rhubarb and gooseberries have completely taken over); which continent my son is on, now he has his BA “wings”; how content the cats are and the hugest issue of all…how on earth am I ever going to even start downsizing…I can’t get off the starting blocks…? I have stopped even opening cupboards…it makes me cry…
Hard to believe but it seems that life goes on…a “different” life yet again but this time with an endless horizon of silence that eats me whole.
Whilst festering away at home I have been fascinated by The Listening Project. I listen, listen again and then some…People chatting to each other about something of significance, or not…it has been like a conversation in another room, which I tune and out of – family, friendship, health, love. loss and the rest of life besides…Many tales of the elasticity (?) of us humans, so not a bad soundtrack for my life at present.
My health gets re-jigged into the “also ran” position…I am being maintained by increased anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I am largely just ignoring the physical symptoms at the moment…they will keep…and, miraculously I have a couple of weeks without medical appointments!
…and the funeral..
- what to say?
- what to wear?
- how on earth to get through it?
My friend died last night…I am not going to talk about any battles or use euphemisms to describe it. Death is messy, cancer is messy and the past week or so has been impossibly difficult (and I wasn’t even there all the time)…Facing a world without her is even more difficult, it already feels desolate. Staring cancer in the face has, for me, been like staring at what I also have to face alongside watching her suffer.
Earlier in the week, she said what it turns out were to be her last words to me..”Wend..we are going to be mighty fine angels”…As last words go, I think those are pretty damn good..She would be proud!