Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back in the Rabbit Hole

When I was very, very little my Mom read to me the full version of Alice in Wonderland. I don't remember much of the book other than thinking to myself something like, "This is very strange and I am not sure it is age appropriate." But that was the kinda kid I was - my poor parents. What I do remember was curling up under the blanket to read it. I remember the smell of my Mom and how warm she was. So, as I curled up next to Nolan last night, he had Alice in Wonderland - the short version. He was at the rabbit hole part (no he can't read, but he is REALLY good and looking at pictures) and finally I was inspired to come back to my reality. Odd that is was from Alice in Wonderland, so grab your blanket (or coffee) this could be a long one. In my last post, I talked about being normal and enjoying my break which ended on the 18th. My break was FABULOUS. I mean F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. My house was running like a fine tune machine, and I did too much and I got tired and when the rear view mirror of the truck fell off for the last time, the LCD stopped working on the stereo (so you have NO IDEA what you are listening to), the light went out of the tachometer (which it is very questionable on why one would use a tachometer on an automatic transmission truck), and the door to the laundry room broke (again), I was done and luckily went to Maui the next day. Grant and I slept and ate our way through the island. Maui was great - 86 and sunny EVERYDAY. We drank Mai Tai's by the pool, snorkeled with turtles, played, talked, and did very little work. We got into one fight, but that was over ice cream, so really how bad could life be? I was free of the burden of everyday life and, quite frankly, my life. My anxiety was pretty much gone. Grant had it now because of snorkeling - he gets nervous in the water. In one bay, this Nature Conservationist gave us a lecture before we went in the water about where to go, don't use sunscreen, and how VERY HARD IT WAS TO GET TO WHAT TO SEE. I was like (in my head), "Dude, SHUT UP!" and formulating my discussion with Grant silently. Grant looked at me with his "look" and I said, "The white boat isn't that far. It is a calm bay - look at it. The sunscreen we use doesn't have the ingredient that is bleaching coral. (I am married to an Environmental Engineer. I actually do proactively do this stuff.) And look out there , see the 80 year old with the noodle underneath him? He is out there, so you can too." Grant nodded, we went, and he did great. In fact, he was so fired up, he was researching sunscreen for the next four hours, he found a "turtle beach" that we went to the next day that was ROUGH and I was thinking, "And you were nervous about yesterday????" He is a complicated man sometimes. Anyhoo....I had my moments that I remembered the clock was ticking. We got through them. We got home, went to the T-ball Jamboree, visited with family, and got ready for the 18th. Monday morning went well. I drove in with Elaine and we were laughing, I got out of the car and went in the first doors, went through the second doors and stopped. Angie, who works at the front, saw me. I must have given her the Grant "look". Gently, she hugged me and I told her I was back for chemo and she said, "Okay sweetie, I will be thinking of you." Up the stairs, check in, labs, game face, nurses, waiting for the doc, doc comes in, we start discussing what we are going to do, he turns to the computer with me a little behind him and the list of my meds and pre meds pops up on the screen. It fills the entire screen. He almost merrily goes down the list, murmuring about my labs and less of this and my counts are still a little down, but okay, and then he turns to me and says, "Okay!" and then "okay......." I was silent, and the tears were streaming down my face, he is looking for the Kleenex box and I say, "I am okay. I am just mourning my break. I was a really good one." He responds, "You needed a good break." I wipe the tears away and go upstairs to treatment. Treatment went well, I had to listen to the iPod, I shook just a little, I was doing pretty well, and then they gave me a new pump. An automatic pump. I told the nurse that I wasn't sure I could do that - the change threw me, but after a call to the doc and some time with it, I put it on. It was much quieter than other auto pumps but there is no hiding this thing. Can I look any sicker? You get it with a fanny pack or shoulder strap - fabulous. I took both and in the end it was fine. What was nice was that you know EXACTLY when it is done. That is pretty cool, but at night you can hear it dispense and that is really uncool. On unhook day, I was a mess. Karissa was making me laugh, but it was hard. The nurse made me go see my oncologist and, as I sat there, I started to cry oncologist walked in and said, "How goes the fight?" I was blurted out, "My Mom thinks it is hormonal!" (I was taken off my hormone replacement after surgery because of where I put the hormones. Yeah, up there, so I have had no hormones for a month. Now, for those of you that are scared of the hormone replacement, really, step back, think about my situation, and remember it is not a very big fish. Kinda like when I was in Maui eating TONS of Ahi and thinking, "Radiation? Who cares? I glow REGULARLY!") My oncologist turns and says, "Hey, your Mom may just be right this time!" (My Mom asks him questions regularly that he shoots down in a very nice way.) So, down to the pharmacy for hormones. Karissa and I wait. The CHILD behind the counter says, "Do you come here regularly because I can't find your insurance information." Okay, remember, I JUST got done with chemo, mentally I am DOWN the rabbit hole, I want to cry AGAIN, I am feeling guilty for all the people that take care of me, and I say, "Yes, I do and you should have it." "Are you sure????" she replies. And seriously, if Karissa wasn't there I probably would have said, "OMG this is the CANCER Pharmacy???? I DON'T HAVE CANCER!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!? SORRY TO BOTHER YOU." But I didn't. She then said, "Oh....there you are....I still don't have your insurance info.....looks like we have you a discount on your last Rx." I said, "That is interesting because I came in two weeks ago for a $3,700 monthly Rx that I got for $12. That is quite a discount." I gave her the card and she got my Rx without sharing anymore. I got home, I took my pills, cried, saw Mason, cried, talked to Grant, get the picture. In fact, I cried so much that Mason wrote about it in his story at school the next day right after the sentence, "I was so excited to see my Mom and Dad." What do you think that made me do??? YOU GOT IT!!! And with a thud and a large puff of dust, I hit the bottom of the rabbit hole...making myself eat anything, crying, voices in my head of me apologizing to my Mom for having to spend her retirement taking care of my kids and her saying, "Angie, what would you do if one of the boys was sick?", looking at the rear view mirror on the floor of the passenger side of the car, not being able to close the laundry room door, and exhale......letting myself feel the bottom again and grabbing onto the memories of my break when I could taste food like the first really good piece of fruit from summer when the fruit juices spill out of your mouth, down your hand, onto ground as you jump away from it. LONG PAUSE. As I wake up out of this fog, I check myself (I know - you are like, "FINALLY!"). I realize that in my rabbit hole I have a lot of ropes coming down on me - doctors, friends, food, help calendars, prayers, breaks, and family. Up we go again...... Forever thankful love, Ang


Anonymous said...

I'll jump in the rabbit hole with you. :) Love you, Ang. Happy Easter! Michellie

auntie jane said...

Hey Girl! Happy Easter! Love to both your little bunnies. Scoot over, your gonna need a bunnie bunker, (not a hole) to fit all your buds in. Love Jane

Haley said...

love love love that you are brave enough to write from the bottom of the rabbit hole. and also, love love LOVE you!

Laurie said...

Hey Sweetie,
So glad your Hawaiian getaway was everything you needed it to be. I'm with all your buds, hopping into your rabbit hole with Kleenex, candy, and corny jokes--or throwing one more line to hoist you up. Make way for better days ahead! Love you xoxoxo

Steve Chamberlin said...

Those aren't ropes, they're bungee cords. No climbing out of no rabbit hole for you. One free bounce back coming up!

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~Confucius

And just so you know, you're ability to rebound is truly astounding.

Thanks for the inspiration,

Heidi said...

Girlfriend, it would "behoove" me to jump in with you but I'm pretty sure I'd throw up. Not a crowd pleaser. Such good medicine for me to see you and open my eyes to true germ warfare and scar treatment. Thank you!!!!
Kisses to good girl, Nurse Africa, hope to see you when I look less like Frankenstein.

Jennifer West said...

Oh, good thing your therapy went well! How's your recovery now? Why did you have hormonal replacement, anyway? If I'm not mistaken, some women consider this after losing too much hormones (or for having imbalances) after giving birth. How's your diet after the treatment?