Alrighty-then, I’ve been schooled. Not that you’d think so from the immediately preceding language and grammar, but I’m talking about a whole different kind of school. Our brains are absolutely amazing constructs, but they have their limitations. For example, they can’t tell our bodies what the schedule is supposed to be for the processing of alien substances. True story.
Our livers and kidneys may generally function at a predictable rate, but, take your graphs off the table along with your expectations. There are things like “out liers” and odd storage capacities that remain unexplained to this chemo-girl that no amount of factoring can account for. This week my Anticarcinogenic Chemicals told me “Your puny earth weapons are useless against me.” I hope that includes the cancer that is the intended target. You need a lot of acceptance with this cocktail.
So, do you remember the “Pleasant Surprise That Came With Week Two?” Gee I miss that week. Coffee tasted almost like coffee, I was more or less working out again, I felt like myself again, yeah, delete that. The fourth week that was the nominal equivilant of week two was not quite a repeat. The down-swing was later than the first treatment, and the general sense of miasma was tenaciously clinging to me well past Monday.
Allow me to acknowledge that I am hardly dragging myself weakly from bed to breakfast to my daily chores and work. People have been telling me all week that I look great, and honestly I am doing just fine. Ah, but the whisper at the door, the under the skin murmmers, the changes that only we can sense in our cores, tell me what curriculum is to come.
This week I felt as Wile E. Coyote must have in that moment when, intent on his pursuit, he had run several yards past the edge of the cliff and only now realized the extent of the ensuing consequences. There’s no getting out of this predicament baby.
You would think I’d have had that figured out by now, wouldn’t you? The diagnosis was what, three months ago now? Breast surgery was oh, two months ago? I’ve had The Plan for chemo and radiation about a month and a half now? So this is where I sit up and say, “Hey, wait a minute, is this negotiable?” It’s just like when you’re on the roller-coaster and the car has just gotten to the pinnacle, and your want to tell someone you didn’t mean to get on this ride. No. Please stop now! I saw only the descent before me.
Enter a whole new support system. Wow. Like the Charge of The Light Briggade.
You remember the thirteen year old who looked so charming (if uncomfortable) in the wig salon? She’s an ice-skater. The whole deal. Skate club, competitions, cute outfits, the works. The skate club. The moms. The bless their hearts, the I love this life, skate club.
Thursday the 8th, thoroughly discouraged by my circumstances, my continued miasma (and by my neighbor, but that’s a different story), I opened my e-mail to discover a message, with some of the following excerpts:
‘As the “Sunshine Chair” (can’t we come up with a better name?? ) from the Shaker Figure Skating Club, I am reaching out on behalf of our club members. We would like to offer a hand in supporting you in any way that you feel comfortable with. We can rally in many different ways. As you know, there’s nothing a skate mom can’t do! . . . Some of the ladies have asked about bringing your family meals. Is anyone arranging meals for you? . . We are happy to create a group of moms in the neighborhood who are available to help drive carpool to and from the rink for [your daughter]. . . .We can simply take donations and deliver gift cards for area restaurants or deliver some food to help get everyone fed in a stress free manner.’
O. M. G. — I smiled and cried for ten minutes, shaking my head and literally thanking G-d for the life I have and for these women I barely know beyond their daughter’s names and their favorite performances. I mean, I know a little more, but really . . . not much.
Well, NOW I know even more. How big their hearts are for one thing. This is community action.
As I have been advised, so will I advise in turn. A couple of these very women in the club, and several other friends and family members and health practitioners, have all said to me, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and DON’T be afraid to accept it when it is offered.”
I really need to emphasize something here. I was reluctant to talk about my cancer. I was reluctant to let people know that I was ill and flawed. I was as appalled by news that my illness was going to become visible, as I was by the actual news of having this disease. Really. It was a huge step to write my family, and it was as big a step to publish these blogs.
But if I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have the help I can now count on, at the bottom of the descent when there is still no stopping and I won’t want to cook, and my husband will be exhausted, and my daughter will still need to eat. I won’t have to lie in bed at night, not even once, feeling like I’ve failed the people I’ve committed my existence to for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Because I admitted I was sick, and I began to tell the story of what it was like, help was offered. By the way, I said yes and thank you.
Can I just say one thing? Skating Moms ROCK.