breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

Bits and pieces

I’m having a hard time lately putting my life into coherent, flowing thoughts. Right now, it’s more of a jumbled, stream-of-consciousness, think all the thoughts blur.

I spent all of last week at an intense training workshop for a new AP class I’m teaching next year. The training was great, but I’m overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done for the class. Normally, I wouldn’t freak out over planning a class since school doesn’t start for another month (at least for students), but my reconstruction is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I’m about to be down and out for weeks. I’m going to try to go back to work on August 11. I’ll be 15 days from surgery by then. It’s ridiculous for me to think I can go back to work 15 days after a DIEP reconstruction, but, as I told A earlier this week, what choice do I really have? I don’t want to miss the beginning of the new year. So, I’m going to do everything I can do to rest and heal and take it easy and suck up feeling like a burden and reconcile myself to being someone who needs help for the entire time I have at home after surgery and before going back to work. No one is forcing me to do anything but me and my sense of dedication. That, and being at work forces me to concentrate on something besides cancer.

I hate feeling like a burden, and as surgery looms, I feel like a burden. I’m going to need help for me, help with the kids, help with my classroom, help with everything, and I know I’ll have help, but I feel like I’m imposing on my parents, my in-laws. Oh, and we’re moving four weeks after my surgery. I won’t be able to help with ANYTHING. I can’t help pack, I can’t pick up anything, I can’t reach over my head. My surgeon said I am absolutely forbidden to lift anything over 10 lbs for at least two to four months after surgery. He also said I’ll have T-Rex arms for a good few weeks. That sounds delightful. Not. Basically, I feel like I’m about to become useless. My nature is to do all the things for everyone else then care about myself. I can’t do that once I have surgery. I have to care about me.

The day my surgery is scheduled, A can’t be there with me before I go into surgery. He has a can’t miss conference, and truth be told, as much as I’d like him there while I’m waiting to go back into surgery, I’m glad he can’t be there. I’m glad he has something he has to do instead of sitting in a waiting room for hours and hours. It’s tortuous. He and I had a fantastic argument over him trying to get out of the conference. He feels he needs to be with me. I feel there’s no sense in him being there when they’ll keep him updated via cell phone the same way they would if he were there. So. I won.

Truth be told, the day of my surgery, I’d rather drive myself to the hospital, check myself in, and be there by myself for all the pre-op stuff. It’s like my last act of independence. And, if I’m by myself, I don’t have to act happy or unconcerned. I can just be alone with me for awhile. And, yes, I know exactly how selfish I sound. The thing is, I’m a contrary soul who needs a hug then craves solitude. The day of my surgery, I want the hug and the solitude. I want to drive to the hospital blasting my playlist entitled Music The Kids Can’t Hear and be alone with my thoughts. I know my family will flat out refuse to let me drive myself or sit there alone, which I understand, too. This years has been so unforgiving to my parents. So, yes, I know what I wish for is selfish, and I won’t be selfish.

It’s nearly 2 am. It’s not that I can’t sleep. I’ve been dealing with insomnia for the last several weeks, but insomnia isn’t the problem tonight. I just don’t want to sleep, which is going to make me a treat to deal with tomorrow (today?). I promised to take the kids swimming, and we have a family dinner at night. I really am going to be a joy.

The last two weeks have been emotional roller coasters. I’m coming to the anniversary of my gut telling me something wasn’t right. It’s hard to deal with the emotions. I’m still angry my body betrayed me. I’m still scared because my body betrayed me.

It’s been almost a year since I heard those four words – You have breast cancer. It’s gotten easier in some respects. It’s gotten harder in others. I’m not immortal anymore, not that I ever really was, but I’m young, so it felt that way. I’m not a hypochondriac anymore. I actually have things very wrong with me. I don’t need to imagine something’s wrong. I’m not afraid to speak my mind anymore. I’m more grateful for the time I have with my family. I actively search out moments and places of peace.

I want to believe I’m coming to a level piece of track on this cancer coaster. I want to believe we’re going to get a reprieve from the steep climbs and seemingly endless drops.

But, I don’t trust my track record.

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