Yay! First full week of summer vacation…..I thought I would relax and have space to breathe, regroup, get it together. Nope. My old friend Mr. Anxiety has returned, mostly when I am alone which is more frequent now that school is out and the coconuts have moved to Southie. Last summer Tim pointed out that I get anxious before a big trip–worrying about my cats, the coconuts and my house. Poor Bridget–she is in charge and everything that seems to go awry happens on her watch–water overflow, pumping the septic system, ant infestation in the dish washer, losing my cat, the fire department breaking in through the window because of a smoke alarm! Yikes. What will happen next?
Last day of this round of chemo today! Hurray! I am tolerating it better, mostly nausea in the morning. I like to pretend its morning sickness and I’m pregnant.
Another source of anxiety: insurance. Thirteen years ago insurance never questioned anything about my breast cancer and extensive, expensive surgeries. This time they reject everything. No to a Pet Scan–Dr. Rachel again has to explain that I can’t handle the contrast dye used in a Cat Scan with only one kidney. She wrote me a prescription for Zofran to help with the nausea. CVS doled out 6 tablets. What? I need this med 21 days a month, maybe more, but insurance did not approve the 40 tablets–again an over ride request. We are leaving on vacation Saturday and I will run out of Letrozole while I am away–too soon to refill, again a vacation over ride I am waiting to hear back about. The chemo script ran out and I had to go back to my old grumpy doctor to get it refilled unless I wanted a nasty tangle of paperwork and faxing. Cancer is a full-time job and managing the 8 or so meds I take is a big problem. Okay Barb, enough complaining.
What bothers me? My life ambition has been realized–marriage, kids, a job I love with co-workers I adore. I love high school life, the hum of the halls, the bells ringing, the laughter and raised voices of excited, sometimes angry, teenagers. The arguments, the creativity, the outside of the box thinking in a pretty structured black and white, rule bound world.
It is that my life potential will not be realized, not fully. The opportunity to have son-in-laws to love and nurture, grandchildren to spoil, to grow old with Blanket Tim next to me. That is what haunts me.
Kelsey does not like talking about the future but brings it up often because it tortures her. We have the hard conversations, it is torture, but we must have them. They help her and me to process and to surface stuff I do not know is on her mind and gives me the chance to clarify, opine. Last week she asked me if I thought Tim would commit suicide. What? No, Kelsey, suicide is a selfish act and Tim does not have any selfishness in his being. He would never leave his beautiful children and loved ones, no matter how sad he was.
Another area of concern. The early breast cancer detection and awareness campaigns that have proven to be an epic fail (well not the awareness part–20 years of pink ribbon waving has worked) vs. the metastatic breast cancer peeps like me that get very little attention, research, support. No one dies of breast cancer. Everyone dies of metastatic breast cancer–100% and no change in that little fact in 40 years. I am not sure why it has to be an “us vs. them” but a lot of MBC peeps are very angry and want to do something about it, and especially to stop the sexualization of breast cancer with stupid slogans about ta, ta’s and boobs. That last part has my total support–it trivializes and demeans women and cancer is neither cute nor an opportunity to reap profits. I have learned a lot about the Susan B. Komen foundation recently and it is sickening to me that they do not want the MBC peeps at the table because we are too dark–a real downer for people. Sorry that I make you pink washers uncomfortable but they will not be getting my support or money until they change their business plan and give real money to MBC research. Okay–off the soap box Barb.
I had a beautiful week-end at the beach with Bill and Carla last weekend (and Tim) at the home of a college friend, Kathy N. –Carla and I were discussing the whole anger thing above when we ended up in Wickford, RI, one of my favorite little places along a river. Carla wanted to visit a friend’s jewelry store and Tim and I were both pulled to an ancient silver amulet from India with the image of Durga riding atop her lion. Durga is a fierce warrior goddess, beautiful and full of rage. This struck me as pretty funny in light of our conversation and my situation. Tim Blanket immediately purchased it.
These amulets and tokens that I collect help me with my anxiety. They remind me of each of the people I love and what they mean to me and how much I cannot give up, leave behind, unsettled. I know I will shatter the lives of 3 people. Cancer sucks but I am trying to be awesome.
On a lighter note–doesn’t Donald Trump just suck? Really? He is entertaining me this summer but he really isn’t that funny. Amy Schumer–now she is funny.
So it is off to Central America to a little Caye off the coast. The resort we are going to can only be reached by boat. I am guessing there isn’t much of a hospital near by. Oh well, gotta live my life. Hope the coconuts survive without me (and the cats too). When we return it will be time for the Booty By Brabants fundraiser for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. They have worked so hard. Love those girls.
Song: Keith Urban “Making Memories of Us”
Tim Blanket, Barb, Kelsey and Bridget