Goodness in the slide
I’ve just woken up from a nap, which means that for the past hour or so, I have been a really good cancer patient. Managing the slide, I’ve learned, has everything to do with staying ahead of the symptoms: don’t let the fatigue, nausea, dehydration, or pain get ahead of me. I pre-medicate, and pre-plan, and prepare for most of the things I do during the slide. I nap, I lounge, I rest, I pray. And, it works pretty well most of the time. Brad, Phenom, and my friends and family are lined up to take care of the girls so that, during the few hours I am with them each day of the slide, I am “on.” I pick one or two small things to do per day: help a friend, share a coffee, organize a space, and limit myself to those small, yet important, activities. Fairy God Mother (aka, my beloved cleaning lady) came yesterday, so today I am napping in a clean house which makes me feel significantly more relax-y and rest-y and, well, happy. Hello, cancer perk! And–a big thank you to those of you who help with our cleaning fund.
During the slide, I give myself grace. I redefine and relabel:
I’m not lazy, I’m healing.
I’m not selfish, I’m saving energy so that I can be Really Fun Jen when I’m called upon.
I’m not weak, I’m fighting cancer.
I haven’t always been good at giving myself grace and framing things in a positive light, but I am oh-so-glad I’ve made the change. I deserve it, right? You deserve it too, you know.
On Monday when I got home from chemo, it was late-ish. The drugs take 4-6 hours to drip in, so I got home after Brad had already picked up the girls from Phenom’s house and started the dinner routine. They were all sitting around the dinner table when I came in. Both girls jumped up to greet me–I got a glimpse of how joyful Brad’s nightly homecoming is for him.
Maren gave me her characteristic hug at the waist with her face buried in my ribs, and her soft and sweet “Hi Mama.” As she breathes me in, I am reminded how her hugs really reinforce that I am her touchpoint.
Greta ran up and threw her arms around my legs before stepping back, throwing her arms in the air, and demanding excitedly, “Do you feel better?” This is Greta’s response whenever she’s been told that I’m at the doctor, or hospital, or chemo, or whatever her little brain understands to be some type of healing appointment.
“Yes, Greta,” I say, looking into her chubby, exuberant, expectant face, “I am feeling better!”
And, it’s true, I am instantly feeling better: I am literally wrapped in the arms of my little loves.
Goodness is pervasive during the slide: Brad and I have been blessed with all of the provisions we need so that I can manage this time. I choose to define this time as good: I see the blessings, the gifts, the opportunities to grow.
I’m marinating on the “Ask Me” questions you’ve sent, and will start working on some replies. Good questions, folks.