All’s Quiet in the Western Suburbs

Dave had a scan on Monday.  Unfortunately his oncologist is out of town.  But because Dr. Spira is a caring doctor, he got a look at the scan report and emailed Dave.  In a nutshell he said, “The progression of cancer growth is minimal although clear.”  Disappointing but not altogether surprising since Dave was off of chemo for almost six weeks.  The plan is to add Avastin back to the mix this week and hope that stops the tumor growth.  

xoxo

Robyn

Grant Part 2

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When Grant was in the second grade, he would come home talking about his friend, Sean Michael.  He would ask me weekly if Sean Michael could come over to play.  Not being the biggest fan of playdates, I would say some along the lines of “Sure.  One of these days I’ll call his mom and set it up.”  And then another week or month would go by.  Eventually Grant pretty much stopped asking.  That spring, we got a note home from the school saying that the class would not be celebrating Mother’s Day since a mom of one of the students had died recently.  (You know where this is going right?)  I casually asked Grant if he might know whose mom it was.  He said he didn’t.  A few days later he came home and announced that he knew whose it was.  Sean Michael’s.  I asked him how he could be sure, and he said that at school that day he told Sean Michael that I needed his mom’s phone number to set up a playdate.  Sean told him he couldn’t give it to him because his mom was dead.  She died from breast cancer the August before second grade.  I may never NOT feel guilty about the many times I could have had him over that I just didn’t bother.  All those times he probably would have benefitted from doing something fun.  He spent lots of time with us that summer and was such a natural addition to our family.  The boys were two peas in a pod.

Sean’s dad relocated to Virginia from Texas with his wife and they moved with Sean about an hour away.  That was 7 years ago.  Grant and Sean probably talk to each other on the phone most nights of the week.  They play video games and computer games together.  When there is a break from school or a long weekend, they hatch out a plan to get together.  During the summer, they are usually lucky enough to have week long visits.

I will forever be impressed by two young men who have managed to remain best buddies over the years and distance.  They are still two peas in a pod.  Sometimes we’ll hear a laugh from the basement and won’t be sure who made it.  I am very proud of them both and the men they are becoming.  People are put into your life for a reason, but you have to be able to recognize that and act on it.  In some ways, they are mature beyond their 14 years.

PS Scan on Monday.

xoxo

Robyn

 

Happiness

ImageMy friend, May, sent me a link to this article http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=378.   There were several ideas which really resonated with me.  The author writes about his experience with cancer “Blinded, dazed, I became a prisoner of my calendar, confined to the dates and times of examinations and appointments. I looked out at the world through the bars of laboratory tests. Blood. Fluids. Counts. Indices of all manner and description. Scanners. Scopes. Probes. I’d become some new planet, upon which all manner of instruments and optics were brought to bear, transmitting back the encrypted reports of my newly discovered life-form.”  As I read it, I realized that despite our efforts to the contrary, we do spend an awful lot of time living that way.

Another idea that he talks about is how not matter how high our highs or low our lows, we all have a level of happiness to which we rebound.  I think this is true too.  I am grateful that I was born with a pretty high natural threshold for happiness.  So was Dave.  It is what keeps us afloat.  Even our lowest of lows are temporary because we know our natural happiness is just around the corner.  I find that comforting.

At the end of the article, he talks about ways you can pursue happiness.  There are some nice ideas.  So if you get something seemingly random in your mailbox, you will now know why.

xoxo

Robyn

Choosing Quality of Life

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This weekend, we heard from one of our new friends from the retreat (https://embracingtherollercoaster.wordpress.com/category/couples-retreat).  D who has been living with colon cancer for nine years now, has made the impossible decision to stop treatment.  This time last year, he was given a prognosis of 18 months.  His cancer has been spreading, and he was recently put back on a chemotherapy treatment that he swore he would never do again.  After one treatment, the side effects were debilitating.  He felt awful for weeks and was facing another treatment this week.  He and his wife talked and cried and realized that his quality of life was not what they want it to be. They both want him to have the best quality of life for as long as he can.  I am amazed by their communication and their love for one another.  And their strength.  And their hopefulness.

xoxo

Robyn

Getting the Stink Eye

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There are times when I swear Dave can barely tolerate being in the same room with me.  I get a funny look or the tone of his voice barely conceals his irritation.  It was when I was chatting with my Tuesday morning coffee buddies, Michele and Heather, that I recognized fully what “the look” and the tone mean.  After all, there have been times when I have administered both in healthy doses.

I had terrible morning sickness when I was pregnant.  With each successive pregnancy, the effects got worse.  The magic 12 week mark came and went, and I still suffered the awful nausea and vomiting.  It was during those times, as I lay in bed watching the tower of laundry grow ever taller or when I dragged myself out of the house to drop a kid off at school that I gave “the look”.  It is resentment, pure and simple.  It was a look that said “I feel like total crap and look at you going along your merry way without a care in the world” or “You have no idea what I am going through.  I am suffering and your life hasn’t changed at all.”  Of course Dave’s life changed through those times and of course he had stress and worry and lots of cares in the world.  I just felt very alone in my suffering.

So now I am better equipped to deal with “the look” or the thinly veiled tone of annoyance.  He is right.  I can’t fully understand what he is going through, but I do care and I do worry and I am right by his side as we travel this road both separately and together.

xoxo

Robyn

Sleepless in the Suburbs

 

I swear that I don’t sleep.  I toss and turn and am very aware of any and all noises or movement in the house – from the dogs wandering to Dave’s breathing next to me.  My mind isn’t racing and I am not stressed, but I am aware of not being asleep.  When the alarm goes off, I am tired and convinced that I have barely managed to catch a wink.  Yet I go to work, shuttle kids around, help with homework, cook dinner, throw in some laundry, listen to music practice or quiz somebody on vocabulary, and run errands while I feel totally fine.  So I must be getting sleep.  I wonder if I dream that I am laying in bed unable to drift off? 

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xoxo

Robyn

Thinking about Death at a Funeral

On Monday, Dave and I went to a funeral for a close friend’s mother.  Dave was a mess.  In the twenty plus years that we have been married, it might be the only time I have seen him cry.  Funerals naturally bring out lots of thought and feelings.  Dave was emotional because he was mourning for his friend but also because he was thinking about his own mortality.  While we were waiting for the service to begin, Dave was telling me that he didn’t want any of these rituals.  I assured him that I knew he didn’t want a funeral or burial.  He commented that he thought his mom would want to have a funeral for him.  I assured him that his mom would want to honor his wishes and do whatever it is he wanted.  He nitpicked about the cards that were handed out that he thought were impersonal and not what his friend would have preferred.  He questioned how his friend was going to afford it all. I sat and listened and bit back tears and words.  He needed to get some things off his chest, and he needed me to listen.  

 

xoxo

Robyn