Thursday, November 30, 2006

No! I don't want to!

I need to find a someone to help Art with the kids on Wednesday night. (It’s a chemo week) I’m giving a speech that night for 50 people AND getting paid for it. Apparently that was not enough to sway Art’s dr. into postponing the last round a few days. I need yet more help with the kids next Saturdy as I attempt to further my speaking career by attending a monthly meeting. There again, the person who runs the meetings didn’t think Art’s chemo dates should take precedence over the “scheduled months ago” program. Hello people! My husband has cancer! Cut me some slack!

I don’t want to call my friends and ask for help. I don’t want them to say no. I don’t feel like doing this again. I am sick of this stupid chemo and how it is trying to ruin my life! I want it to go back to normal when I simply report to Art that dates and times I will not be available in case he’s looking for me.

I’m not a good soldier and don’t feel like marching. I am staying right here to pout and to self sabotage. Why look at a calendar and plan a week out when I can bemoan my situation? Why ask for help when I can blame cancer? Besides nothing like a little pressure. If I have to ask only days in advance, I get to kick myself with every “Sorry, I can’t” and go into a higher and higher state of panic, the pressure build will remind me of “feeling the burn” of exercise only, well, it will be more detrimental to my health. I’m suffering (not in silence) from my bourgeois angst…because well, I can.

I’ll get over myself in a few minutes but for now, I think I will throw an all out temper tantrum. So don’t call to offer help yet unless you want to hear me slamming my fists into the floor while I kick my feet and yell “I hate you, stupid cancer! No, I don’t want to! You can’t make me, so there! No! No! No!”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Art's Office and The White Blood Cell Maker

Every day of his "off" chemo week, Art goes to the treatment center to have his white and red blood cell count measured and to have his PICC line dressing changed. The chair is where he reigns for the 30 minutes of procedure. The white blood cell count must be above a certain number in order to insure he can do chemo the following week. Every Wednesday during this "off" week, his PICC line dressing is changed. The PICC line is the line inserted into the inside of his arm where the chemo goes. The line is 17" long ending in his superior vena cava.

In his hand, he holds Nuprigen, a drug that increases the growth of white blood cells. It makes his back ache intensely but it keeps him on schedule. Becuase it does not have any preservatives in it, it is kept in the refrideragtor and must be warmed by hand before it is put into a needle and injected into his arm. If it is not warmed, I have been informed, it stings like hell. He gets Nuprigen shots about every other day becuase the chemo all but eliminates his ability to make white blood cells, the great germ fighters.

Art and his PICC Line

Art at home, allowing me to take his picture. The PICC Line.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Round 5

It's been a tough one. Art slept through most of the day and when he was awake he was angry at how feeble he was. I could do nothing but hold him. In another three months, this will all be over but while we are here, I find myself speechless.

Thanks Giving

I am thankful for:

  • Art’s life that almost wasn’t in the beginning,
  • this disease for showing us the community we built everywhere we moved and didn’t know it,
  • Dr. Wolin’s nurses who “just know” when I need a good cry and push me to it,
  • the friends I have gained and for the ones I have lost. Although it is painful, lessons of the lost bonds stay with me and I am lighter for it,
  • the kids and all their inane, often obscure behavior that forces me share my feelings about this disease with them. And proving once again that honesty is the best policy,
  • the drugs that change my husband but in the end will send him back to me better, stronger and ready to live,
  • everyone that reads these posts. We feel your love, your hope, your strength (as cliché as all of those words are) and all of it makes it easier to walk this mile in our lives.

I am thankful that despite our present hardships, we have a wonderful, wonderful life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

On Sundays Before The Mondays

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo, I am filled with a steady, low humming under-current of dread. It’s barely noticeable. I’m agitated, less patient, and unsure of myself. I am raw -- vulnerable to insults, slights and other perceived wrongs. I dream about Ezra drowning…always Ezra drowning. I’m jittery, amped up, ready to go, as if I took one too many doses of my asthma medicine. My shoulders hurt.

None of this feels good. And that is the only reason I know that I am transforming. Before, in the beginning, being jittery was comfortable, easy and familiar. I dealt with the need to move by moving, constantly, like a humming bird from object to object, doctor to patient to friend to grocery store clerk. The jumpiness soothed me. I was doing, going...running. Now, my life resemble that of a pelican, sitting patiently, easily rolling with the waves on the ocean. Only big things make me fly, so I think.

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo, Art begins his withdrawal. But not before he spends the day holding me, kissing me, looking deeply into my eyes (cliché, I know!). He mopes a bit and spends the previous days thanking me for holding the fort together, with spit and grass. He is filled with sorrow and remorse that he has to return to the place of the internal dweller. He regrets he cannot do otherwise. He is sorry he will become, for a week or so, a burden on me. Part of the Sunday before the Monday that Art starts chemo is spent in our family version of business meetings. Who is picking him up or dropping him off? When will I visit? When will I take Ezra to buy Pallas’s birthday present? Who will grocery shop for us? We try to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, a futile effort.

Then Monday arrives. It’s all business; kids are up, the low humming turns into open agitation. The kids rebel and react to the electric emotions. “I want daddy to get me dressed! You’re stupid, mommy! I can’t hear you mommy! I don’t feel well. I don’t’ want ----- to take me to school!”

Suddenly they are all gone. I pace the house, straightening, making mental notes that will be lost the moment I pick up the next thing off the floor. Finally I settle and then I cry. So many weeks of this shit and I am surprised by how unarmored I still am.


How do I know if I am worthy of all the love we receive? Should I be the one who judges? Why is it that I pay more attention to the one “nay” and relegate the "yea’s" to the background? I never ever knew receiving was so hard.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kick Art's Cancer In the Butt Fund

The fund is going strong and again, we find ourselves breathless with the generosity that has been shown to us. THANK YOU!

To donate, click this link, or click on the Kick Art's Cancer in the Butt Fund (I still love that title!)

The Bright Side

I am here with Art and the treatment center. He asked me to come with him. He sleeps now. He is face up on the pillow, mouth open, his chin having lost its definition, morphing as part of his neck. He looks like the old man he will become. I laugh. 40 years from now when I see the same sight, taking an afternoon snooze on a chair, I will laugh then too. It is not an attractive look, but one that will hold great endearment to me in the years to come. The endearment starts now. I sit in a reclining chair, feet up and despite my chuckling, I am having a difficult time allowing myself to be here.

In the 14 days preceding this one, I have been from exhilaration, grace, and hope to fear, worry and confusion. Art rode his bike! He got fierce about fighting this disease and sailed through his third round of chemo. He was as clear as our southern California skies. He was loving and present and just….here… with me and the kids. He drank a beer. Then, he got sick. His colorless skin and the sound of his cough blinked me back to the beginning, the weeks before we discovered this thing growing in him. I fell to my knees with the memory of it.

This chemo round has been a tough one. He has been weak, exhausted and absent. I, on the other hand, have been trying to get that exhilarated, yeah, rah, rah feeling back. It felt like the old us. It felt good. Maybe it’s because that feeling came on so strongly and with great vigor. Maybe it’s because it was so wonderful to feel so connected to Spirit again, true and clear. And maybe it’s because in the end, all I want is a rhythm that I can stand in, like the sunlight, something sane, pleasant and gentle. I keep looking outside for what is inside me. The bright side of life is inside Art and inside me, no matter what the illness. I just need to sit still long enough to feel it.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Can't believe I haven't written in over a week. Both Art and I have entered a new phase and I am still trying to eloquently explain it. Every time I try, it reads unclear and sappy so I stop. I'm waiting to get it right for me. It's an odd place for me to be since clarity usuall comes when I let my fingertips go.

Good news came to us this week. Art had CT Scan on Wednesdy. The result? The cancer is gone from 2/3 of his chest! That would explains why he looks so and his continued weight mine as well! Although the costum is too big around the belly....the chest too!

Here is a photo of us on Halloween. Art doled out the candy while the rest of us (the Unknown Phantom, the Devil, Wonder Woman and Wolverine) all went trick or treating. It was the first time in all these days that we entertained. We invited two families and their kids, served pizza and beer to the grown ups and pizza and juice to the kids. There was noise and chaos and laughter and loudness and it was wonderful. It was normal and it felt good...for all of us.