Saturday, March 11, 2006


Day 86 of Kendrie’s OT
Yes, I confess, I’m still feeling a little mentally unstable this week.

Still? THIS week??? How does *this* week differ from any other time of my life, when mental instability is the norm? Well, now, I have this journal and you lucky people get to hear about it --- something you’re thrilled about, I’m sure. So, let’s just get started, with Kristie’s Tour of Unstable Emotions:

A is for Annoyed: Yes, I admit it, I am just plain annoyed. Annoyed at cancer, annoyed that we’re facing it again, annoyed that we haven’t really had a break from facing it for the past three years. First Blaine, then Kendrie, now Blaine again. In a small, demented way, I'm even annoyed with Blaine, as if any of this is his fault, something I'm sure we'll need marital therapy for when this is all over. Just annoyed, annoyed, annoyed (not to be confused with “annoying”, which is the adjective some of you might consider more appropriate!)

B is for Blessed: OK, so we’ve been beat with the cancer stick twice. But we’re blessed because Kendrie’s cancer came with an 85 percent chance for survival, she handled treatment like a champ, and Blaine’s cancer is a slow-growing, not-too-aggressive kind. You hear about people like my great aunt, who was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago and died seven days later. We are blessed we’ve been handed a chance. Twice.

C is for comforted: Comforted by the kind e-mails, notes, cards, meals, phone calls, etc, that people have been thoughtful enough to send.

D is for discouraged: Is it ever going to freakin’ end???

E is for embarrassed: Embarrassed that my emotions are all over the place. But I suppose it’s normal in a situation like this. So really, why should I feel embarrassed? I mean, it’s not like I don’t have cause to feel emotional. So why is it embarrassing for me? Because I am a schizoid-freak, that’s why. It’s so embarrassing.

F is for frustrated: I don’t know who to turn to, which doctor is in charge, who is making decisions, who has the answers, or of whom I should be asking them. Blaine has a Primary-Care Manager here at Robins Air Force Base, who is consulting the medical board here. His first surgeon, in Augusta, is recommending we go to Seattle. The Seattle doctor has referred us to his tumor board, who is recommending five weeks of radiation. In addition to surgery? In place of surgery? What about the chemo they talked about? The Air Force is recommending we go to Walter Reed. Who is the doctor at Walter Reed? What would they do there? What is the best treatment for Blaine? Who decides? Do we have any say in the matter? Who’s the boss? ‘Cause it sure as heck ain’t Tony Danza, I don’t think.

G is for grateful: (See F) At least we have options, and doctors who care about Blaine enough to try and make the best decisions on his behalf. I am grateful that they all want to do what is best for him, and help him. {Reminder to self: beat head against the wall to the tune of “grateful, grateful, grateful” when I start feeling frustrated.}

H is for hopeful: I have to tell myself that even though this has been dragging on, and he's already had eleven surgeries in the past three years, at some point we are going to look back at this as nothing more than a bad period in our lives. I am hopeful we will eventually return to a semblance of normal, that Blaine will feel healthy and happy again, and that cancer will be simply a blip in the rear view mirror of our life. Then we’ll win the lottery, and things will be especially dandy. {Note to self: need to actually PLAY lottery.}

I is for impatient: For Pete’s sake, can these doctors not just get together in a phone consult or something and make a decision already? How can we make plans, if we don’t know what THE PLAN is???

J is for jealous: Jealous of families whose biggest problem is whether little Timmy should play soccer or t-ball this spring. Jealous of families who aren’t putting their spring, summer and fall plans on hold because they have no idea where they might be, or at what phase of treatment. Jealous of military officers whose careers haven’t been derailed by cancer. Jealous of families whose children DON’T think it’s normal for everyone to get cancer.

K is for keeping a stiff upper lip: Hey, I didn’t say that’s what I’ve been DOING, I said that’s what I’ve been feeling I should do. I am not succeeding, as evidenced by the (yet another) self-absorbed, depressing post that you’re reading now.

L is for lucky: We are lucky that our military insurance has been so wonderful (knocking furiously on wood) and that we are not in financial ruin from all this crap. Sucks for all you taxpayers, but lucky for us.

M is for mad: Just how, exactly, is this fair? Just when, exactly, will it be over? (Oh, that's right, "fair" and "cancer" have no correlation, as millions of people all over the world can attest. Do they all feel as mad as I do?)

N is for nervous: This doctor said the radiation they are recommending has a 60 percent success rate. Um, what happens to the other 40 percent? What does that MEAN, exactly? And who do I ask?

O is for offended: I feel like cancer is sitting back, sticking its tongue out at our family, and quite frankly, I’m pretty damn offended.

P is for peeved: See A.

Q is for quiet: Sometimes, a little pouting is in order. Not publicly, but quietly. Preferably with lots of chocolate.

R is for resentful: See J.

S is for self-conscious: I mean, could we BE bigger shit magnets if we tried?

T is for thankful: Kendrie had an oncology follow-up appointment on Thursday. Despite the six-inch bruise on her shin, her blood counts were perfectly normal. I’m beyond thankful she is doing so well. She’s grown an inch since she finished treatment! How can I whine like I’m doing now, when my daughter is thriving off treatment so far?

U is for uptight: Three years ago, when Blaine was first diagnosed, if you had told me we would be in this situation today, I would have rolled my eyes and thought it impossible. Now, I get all clenched wondering where we’ll be three years from now.

V is for vexed: Could just one stinkin’ thing go right for the guy? You know the surgery he had two weeks ago? Well not only could they not remove all the tumors, or do the reconstruction they had planned, but the incision they made through his upper lip is a disaster. When they removed the stitches, his lip literally split. A big chunk is missing, and its forked, for lack of a better description. So, add another surgery to the litany of things he still needs done.

W is for worried: Imagine where my mind goes in the deepest, darkest parts of the night.

X is for xtremely (spelled wrong) self-absorbed: It’s not so much that I’ve *felt* self-absorbed, as I have been, and I feel guilty for it. I’m not answering e-mails, I’m having trouble returning phone calls, I’m not posting messages in Caringbridge guestbooks. I just can’t seem to move past myself lately, and let me tell you: MYSELF is boring me to tears, what with all her whining and complaining and bitching and moaning.

Y is for yellow-bellied: I want to crawl in a hole, hide my head, and have someone wake me when it’s all over.

Z is for zealous: I have been all over the internet, looking for support groups and information for Blaine’s kind of cancer and the treatment(s) they are proposing. It doesn’t exist. I have searched high and low, and have come up with nothing. Zealousness is only satisfactory if it pays off, let me tell you that. An empty-handed zealot is pretty worthless.

So there you go. If you’re considering sending me a straight jacket, I wear an XL.

In the meantime, thanks for putting up with us. Well, more specifically, with ME. I’m the obnoxious, self-centered one in the family who obviously needs a good kick in the pants. But here’s proof that despite the circumstances, life goes on as normal, in definite “Kristie-style”:

Kendrie and I met friends for lunch on Thursday after her clinic appointment. As soon as we sat down in the booth she needed to go to the restroom, so I got up and took her. Apparently, without realizing it, I returned to the table with a long string of toilet paper stuck to my boot. Yeah, that’s attractive. What makes the story even better is that when our meal was over and she said she needed to use the restroom (yet again), I got up to take her and noticed the toilet paper on my foot. I made a joke, laughed it off in front of our friends, and went back to the bathroom, only to discover there was a wrapper from a juice box straw stuck to my ass the whole time.

Really, could I be any classier?

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