I haven't been able to write for...what...five months? Today I came to Starbucks to write a letter of recommendation for my friend who is applying to get into grad school for her MSW. I was able to get it done rather quickly, in about an hour with minimal distractions. There were just a couple of phone calls but no Nathan, no Sadie, no cleaning, no TV, no nothin'.
This plan of writing outside my apartment has been percolating in my mind for months. Amanda told me that this particular Starbucks, the one further from my house, was better to work at. There's a lot of room, more tables and a bathroom. True on all accounts.
January: Nathan's surgery is successful but soon we realize the recuperation is going to be horrendous, much worse than we imagined. And everyone asks, "So when will he be back to "normal?" Immediately after surgery, Weiser met with Sharon and me. He briefed us on how well the surgery went and I asked about the "back to normal" time line as well. His answer was, "every year it well get better" Um...did he say "EVERY YEAR?" For some reason I had summer in mind or at least before the fall semester started. Year? Every year? My heart sank. I remember we will never be "normal" again. Not Nathan, not me. This might have been start of my downward spiral.
The week of the 24th (Nathan's birthday) - Sadie is very, very sick. By the end of the week, I am sick too but think I chalk it up to allergies. Yeah, allergies in January. Who the hell am I kidding? Some of my Vanderbilt girlfriends are coming into town for my birthday so I guess I really want it to be allergies but I after the weekend I face plant. On my actual birthday, the 31st, I have a very high fever and have to be rushed to the cancer center. I am put on IV antibiotics and fluids for four hours. Volm tells me he is going to "try" to keep me out of the hospital. Luckily, my fever drops and I am cleared to return home. I haven't been sleeping because of the hacking cough every night which hasn't let me sleep at all. I am prescribed a cough suppressant with codeine and my body finally finds the rest it's desperately needed for two weeks.
February: After having been worn down for the latter part of January, I am starting at less than zero. Chemo is kicking my ass. Every weekend I am in bed watching Housewives of Somewhere or Other and I wanna be an American Idiot I mean Idol. It's the search part of the show so you know what I mean about the idiots. These pastimes do nothing to elevate my mood but my waistline is ballooning. My vista springs from an almost constant supine position. My daily apparel changes are from one set of pajamas to another and, yes, clean underwear. Thankfully, I don't give up on general hygiene. Bathing and brushing my teeth continue, I even floss. Shaving my legs isn't exactly a priority but the hair doesn't grow with any urgency and let's face it, there's no need. Our sick-inflicted celibacy continues. How long can we go on like this?
We close in on the middle of the month and I am a bona fide basket case. Valentine's Day. Everyone is hearts and roses and we are celebrating the anniversary of finding out Nathan has rectal cancer. Celebrating isn't the right word. Acknowledging, observing, crying, letting the flood gates open. My social worker and shrink had warned me that "anniversaries' are often trying times for cancer patients. I had no idea. It is also an angry time for me. With the anniversary, everyone around us is joyful and celebratory saying "wow, isn't it amazing? A year ago, all this started and now you are both well." WHAT? And I know what they are referring to and it's all my fault. It was my naiveté. I was caught up in an exuberance. The Today Show. The "No Evidence of Disease" (N.E.D.) status. Nathan's surgery and a cherry on top. None of it was or is that simple. And it definitely isn't The Today Show's fault. They were only following my lead. I was doing cartwheels. This was the news I'd been wanting to hear for almost a year. I/we heard what we wanted to hear. We heard what I/we wanted to hear. We told everyone what they wanted to hear. We jumped the gun. The story was and is far from over...