I haven’t cooked much at all for the past 9 months. When I first came home from the hospital I tried to cook but kept dropping things, like knives, and losing my balance. So I have taken time off from cooking, for the sake of safety. Honestly, I haven’t missed it. Not only do I dislike cooking, but I’m not very good at it. But we have had our fill of not-too-cheap fast food so I cooked zucchini lasagna today and did not drop one single thing. The kitchen survived, I survived, and the lasagna was not half bad. Steve had 3 helpings. Eating helps his chemo-induced nausea. So my cooking is good for something besides saving money…
Anyway, it is nice to hit this milestone in my recovery. I am driving and cooking again. Now I just need to be able to read without the words jumping all over the page. I will see the eye socket surgeon on Wednesday and schedule the surgery to replace the missing bone. Fun!
Today was the third day of Steve’s (my husband) second round of chemotherapy for bladder cancer. So he is halfway through now. Thursday’s dosing took about 7 hours. Yesterday was 8 hours. There was a delay getting started because it took 5 pokes to finally get the IV started. His veins were not cooperating. Today was just an hour. The nurses poked him 5 times again hoping to get the IV started again. You can see in the picture they put warm blankets on his arms to get the blood there. After the last try, Steve decided to refuse the treatment, which was one bag of fluid. He figured getting poked so many times wasn’t really worth it – he could drink a lot of water to make up for it. He got a shot in the arm to stimulate his white blood cell production and went on his merry way. I wanted to say he was wearing his lucky hat, but obviously he wasn’t very lucky. His hat has built-in hair, so maybe that will work if he loses his hair. Then we can call it his lucky hat I guess. Anyway, sometimes refusing treatment just makes sense. Now his veins have 2 weeks to heal until his next round. And it gives him time to find a luckier hat.
To overcome fatigue, I have been working on staying active and my activity of choice is gardening. It’s been a lot of hard work putting in a new flower bed in the back yard. However, an interesting thing has happened. Now that it’s done (it took 3 days), the flower bed calls to me. I go out in the evening and just look at it. It is very relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful. And then yesterday before dinner my husband wanted to “just walk around the yard” and enjoy the garden. I am always looking for meaning and metaphor in everything, so how about this: I worked very hard in the garden and it was a big challenge, but now that it’s done, I love it and I have learned the lesson about hard work paying off. Perhaps what my husband and I are going through now (my brain surgery and his Cancer) is a big challenge and a lot of hard work, but in the future I think the lessons we are learning will call to us and feel relaxing and sacred and beautiful. My girlfriend sent me the following quote: “In school you have the lessons and then the test. In life you have the test and then you have to figure out the lesson.” I hope I am figuring out the lessons that are coming my way during this challenging time, so I can appreciate the beauty of this experience.
I went to my Tai Chi a little early today and waited quietly, sitting on a chair in the front row of class. I didn’t know anyone, and just sat there with no expression on my face. Since the wall is made of one big mirror, I could see that I looked a bit down and stand-offish and I started feeling a bit down and stand-offish. So I decided to smile. Not big, because that would look weird, but I just smiled a little sort of half smile. Well, I couldn’t believe it but I FELT better right off the bat! This smiling thing works every time. If I can find the article I read about it, I will post it. It said that smiling changes our endorphins, which lift our mood. I smiled throughout the Tai Chi poses, and honestly, it was easier to get through the class, and I just felt great during and after the class. Whenever I felt bored or distracted, I smiled. It brought me into the present moment and I had a great time. Smiling is very powerful medicine. I think I’ll call it Smile Chi instead of Tai Chi. Or maybe Tai Cheeeese.
I did a lot of gardening yesterday and it felt great. When I took breaks I got bored very fast. I wanted to be busy all day. Staying busy reduces my fatigue. I kept hoping someone would call, or something would come up so I wouldn’t be so bored. Well what do you know, my prayers were answered. Steve’s catheter got plugged up so we had to rush to the Huntsman Center and get him squared away. Lesson learned? Don’t complain about being bored! The bright side was that I got to practice driving the freeway again. I did just fine. I now have an active TO DO list so if I get bored I have a resource to go to. Of course, most of the stuff on the list looks pretty boring…
Steve is tired and has mild nausea but all in all has responded well to chemotherapy.