For the last several nights I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with questions to ask Dr Spiegel today about my upcoming reconstruction. I like how “upcoming reconstruction” sounds so formal and important, and perhaps a teeny bit ostentatious. As opposed to the reality of a terrifying, bloody mess. But I didn’t have it together enough to put a pad & pen by the bed to actually write the questions down, and now I can’t think of them (anyone have any suggestions? Lemme know. I know there’s stuff I’m supposed to be asking her about but can’t for the life of me find that stuff).
My brain must be working overtime, especially at night, when it should be resting and refueling so it’s ready to assist me with my two most basic tasks: impressing Payton with my trivia knowledge while we watch “Cash Cab,” and helping me answer questions from Macy like, “If a banana is a fruit, where are its seeds?”
I hate those kinds of questions. I really should know the answer. It’s there somewhere, deep in the recesses of my brain, but it’s buried by all this cancer ca-ca. If my brain were being depicted by a pie chart, there would be normal-sized pieces of pie for the kids, the home front, our schedules, tennis, world peace, and such. Then there would be a gigantic piece for cancer ca-ca.
I hate that the cancer ca-ca takes up such a big piece of the pie. I like pie. But I don’t like this pie. If only the pie chart were about pie, instead of all that other stuff. That would be a really good pie chart.
My Uncle Wilford (my mom’s older brother) used to say he liked two kinds of pie: hot and cold. Me too. And I hope Uncle Wilford is having a piece of both right now, at a beautifully set table on a puffy white cloud with his two sisters, my mom and Aunt Margie, sitting beside him. All the pie they can eat. And no pizza. Uncle Wilford said he didn’t like pizza because he was older than it. Funny guy. Miss him.
But back to the cancer ca-ca. It fills my brain stealthily, easily, and constantly. I’m usually pretty organized, but it infiltrates. I tend to keep a good handle on the various comings & goings of the members of this family, and rarely do I drop any of the balls I juggle on any given day. Not bragging, just saying. I’m usually up to whatever this life of mine throws at me. But I’ve been dropping balls lately, and I don’t like it.
Macy was invited to a birthday party recently, and I forgot to add it to the calendar, and she missed the party. Oops. Then I looked right at the calendar to assess the day’s tasks but still forgot to take Payton to his weekly hitting lesson. Drat. Then there was the test I forgot to make sure Macy studied for, and she got a bad grade. She typically doesn’t get bad grades, so it was upsetting for her. Her teacher sent home the study sheet for the re-take, which Macy dutifully put on the fridge with a magnet. I saw it there but it never even registered in my brain, so we didn’t work on it. At all. And then, the re-take was upon us. Macy remembered as we were walking out the door to go to school. Damn, damn, damn. I dropped another ball. I was tempted to advise her to just tell her teacher it’s my fault, and that I’m too busy with all this cancer ca-ca. But I didn’t. I hung my head for a minute, cursed myself out under my breath, kicked a stray tennis ball on the garage floor, then reminded myself that it’s one test in the 3rd grade. Well, technically two tests, since she failed the first one and had to re-take it, but again, let’s stay on point here and recognize that it’s no big deal. I wrote her teacher and note and fessed up, told her it was my fault and that she & I both know that if it were solely up to Macy, she would have aced that test. Her teacher wrote back and said pfffft, don’t even worry about it; as you can tell from the attached progress report, one test isn’t going to bog her down. She will survive, and so will I.
Thank you, Mrs. Motal.
From the time I wrapped my head around this wretched diagnosis, I’ve been determined to do all that I can to ensure that cancer doesn’t become me, doesn’t define me, doesn’t defeat me. Cancer may win a skirmish here and there and may make me feel really crummy; it may open the door for a nasty infection that brought on another epic battle; it may deposit more grey hairs and new wrinkles; and it may cause me to miss a thing or two on the master schedule. Cancer will most certainly cause me some sleepless nights. But cancer will not defeat me.