Friday, August 10, 2018

When You Come to a Fork in the Road

SPOILER ALERT: This has not been a fun week, so this is not a funny post!

Now that my latest surgery is nearly a month in the rear view mirror, I am beginning to wrap my head around all that has happened. This chapter has been daunting because I have been forced to experience epic life changes at warp speed. When I went to the ER a month ago, I knew that I wasn’t feeling good, but I didn’t anticipate surgery or a colostomy appliance or a new bout with cancer in my life’s lesson plans.

Usually, once I know the facts of a situation, I am pretty good at adapting to a the situation and figuring out what I have to do next. However, all of these changes have come so quickly that I am still processing it all. Having said that, I began this round of chemotherapy a few days ago, and even though this treatment doesn’t seem any better or worse than my last round, my spirits had descended to a new low, and I wondered if I had the emotional and physical wherewithal to contend with everything.

As many of you know, my 75th birthday was on August 7th. Since my mother always made a big deal about our birthdays, I have always loved celebrating my birthday. Because I was not feeling up to a big party, several of my friends stopped by, and we had some good laughs and some good conversation and some rhubarb pie. However,  knowing that I had chemo the next day and knowing that I did not have the strength to take the Bush Boys on our annual Cubs’ game this year was definitely not a good place for me. I am not usually a defeatist, but I was feeling as though life had kicked me to the curb way too many times.

Given the fact that my head was not in a good space did not help. Feeling borderline nauseated and having an accident with my colostomy bag before my chemo began did not help. Once we cleaned up the mess, the anti-nausea drugs began to kick in. While I still didn’t feel that great, I at least felt borderline functional. By the time the infusion was finished, we came home with a new boatload of drugs and instructions, and I felt overwhelmed.

The good news is that I finally had more energy and started to feel more like myself and ready to take on whatever lies ahead. Donna and I spent a lot of time setting up a chart for my pills and for my food intake so that I can make sense out of everything. When I have a plan, I can cope with most anything. While this plan is still going to take some tweaking, at the very least, my life feels a little more in control. Next week I will have more lab work done to see if this latest treatment is on the right track.

While none of this is going to be a walk in the park, I have so much for which to be thankful. I have Donna at my side to do all of the heavy lifting--both physically and emotionally--and I have family and friends who are supporting me in ways both large and small.

In the words of Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”