I took Lyra to her friend’s birthday party on Sunday and stayed there for the duration. I knew the parents of Lyra’s friend well enough from playdates and chats at preschool where they met, and I had briefly met one of the other parents there at one of Lyra’s dance classes (she remembered me; I only vaguely remembered her). Otherwise, the parents were all strangers to me. I find it difficult to be in a room full of people I don’t know particularly well at the best of times; it was unsettling, to say the least, to be in a room full of people when I’m mostly distracted by thinking about cancer and upcoming potential treatments and side-effects, without talking about it somehow. To me it feels a bit like I’m a sheep in wolf’s clothing… like I’m pretending to be a perfectly normal human being, but there’s something wrong with me and I’m not telling them.
I’m guessing that this feeling will pass eventually. Or maybe it won’t, but eventually it will be obvious to groups of strangers that something isn’t right with me. I don’t know. By then I may not be as weird about it.
I’ve noticed that some of my friends and family cope with my having cancer differently than I do. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, since it’s not up to me how other people handle their own feelings. And if my general disposition bothers them somehow, I know I’m not responsible for their reactions to my coping mechanisms. I’m pretty sure that so far I haven’t felt guilty about this. I may have to keep it in mind, though.
Today I walked in the rain through Vancouver’s Chinatown to get a stomach x-ray. This was one of the first tests that my doctor booked me for, because my cough sounded to her like it might be caused by acid reflux. I asked her if I should go ahead and get the test done still, even though I’m doing all these other appointments and scans and ultrasounds, and she said I might as well. If I have an ulcer or something on top of everything else, it would be good knowing that in advance.
I love the rain. Every fall since we’ve lived in the Vancouver area, I’ve welcomed the beginning of the rainy season. I love the sound and the smell of it, and how the clouds make the sky so interesting, and the colours that come out when a sunshower peeks its way through. I’m happy to see the end of summer and the grey skies. It’s possible that I was meant to live here.
Into the future
Looking ahead, Adam and I can see that this is going to be a long, challenging winter; probably among our most challenging yet. Friends and family have been offering to help in any way they can, but for now we can’t see anything that we need. Unless someone wants to come and mop the floor, but really, that’s only not happening because our steam floor cleaner broke and we both don’t like mopping. Right now, though, I feel normal. Well, I feel fatigued, but I have a 15 month old who doesn’t sleep very well and a five year old who isn’t much better. Adam and I are both fatigued. I’m pretty sure that, for now, it’s not the cancer.
I have another CT scan tomorrow to look for more tumours. Once they know if/where I have any other growths, then they will work out my stage, and figure out what my treatment plan will be. Thursday is the Oncologist appointment. Hopefully my actual chemotherapy will start not long afterwards.
Chemotherapy and breastfeeding the baby dragon
The one thing I am least looking forward to in the upcoming chemotherapy I’ll be undergoing is weaning Pandra. That baby loves nursing. She’s practically gleeful every time she gets to cuddle down into my lap and drink her fill of milk. And I love the nursing relationship that I have with her. I was prepared to continue nursing for the next year, but that is no longer an option.
I don’t think it’s going to be an easy transition. No, I think think that this is going to be a very, very difficult transition — hard on Pandra, hard on me, and hard on Adam. There will be nights of not enough sleep. There will be tears, and yelling, and banshee-shrieking, and exhaustion for everyone. I may have to sleep somewhere else for a night or two — in the office, or at a friend’s house even — leaving Adam to handle the banshee girl (I must admit, the idea of sleeping out of the house where I might actually sleep the entire night through fills me with a bit of guilty joy).
And in the end it will all be fine, and my relationship with my baby won’t be damaged, and she’s big enough and eats well enough that she won’t be malnourished if we stop, and maybe we’ll all start to sleep the night through earlier than we did with Lyra. But oh, how I do not look forward to the process. Because how could anyone say no to this face?