A description of the funk
The Funk, as I’ve been calling it, is definitely legit this time around. It looks like each cycle I’ll end up with a stretch of days where I’m feeling “funky”.
Today I went in to the oncology office for my third round on this drug. I saw my friends: Rockstar (my nurse partitioner), my nurses, my fellow patients, the support staff. It was at a different office due to Memorial Day holiday yesterday, so it’s bigger, and it’s the one with the heated chairs.
I’m finding it hard to describe the physical realities of the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of this drug. I don’t want to sound pitiable, I don’t want to sound heroic. I’m neither wimpy nor infused with super-powers. I’m normal, and this is hard.
When I’m feeling funky…
-I look perfectly healthy and normal.
-Physically, I feel achey and exhausted. And by achey and exhausted, I mean ACHEY and EXHAUSTED.
-Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I generally “pause” because I save my good mojo for Brad and the girls. It feels a bit like I’m underwater; my senses and perceptions are way off.
-Working out, if I can muster the gumption, might make me worse. Which, unfortunately, is a double whammy for my mental game. This cycle I’m targeting an AM and a PM workout, even it is just a slow walk around the block (or even to the mailbox). Prayerfully, it will make me feel better.
-If it’s hard/stressful in normal times, it’s generally harder and more stressful in the funk. Normal things continue: bills come, children puke, wasps make nests, weeds grow, pantry empties, and tantrums happen. It is counter-intuitive because isn’t chemo enough? But normal real life happens too.
-I take and take and take from Brad. He shoulders a lot.
-There is no medication option. There are not recommended drugs that both work to mitigate symptoms and don’t have adverse side effects. I have to feel it at face value with no relief.
-I’m lazy in my parenting. I pick my battles. I make choices for instant gratification rather than long term growth. It takes a monumental amount of energy to be Fun Mommy for X minutes. There is no way in heck I can be Fun Mommy for X whole hours. Just-Getting-By Mommy shows up and we’re proud of her, too.
-I can, and do, zero in for moments-that-matter. We have moments of brilliance and beauty and we thrive in our funk. The rest of the time, I dump bucket loads of grace over my head and bucket loads of prayers over my the heads of my family members.
-Food becomes tricky. Ease comes before nutrients, and frustration follows. But then I’m too tired to emote. Grace again.
-If it doesn’t *have* to be done, it doesn’t get done. Having had two “funks” in the past month, I can’t even explain how far behind I feel in general life things because it just piles up. (Thank you notes are woefully late. Sorry! I’m so behind on email too.)
-Maren takes on tasks that are mature for her. It’s a delicate balance of allowing her to help versus burdening her unfairly. I pray a lot about that balance.
-As opportunity arises, I sink down on soft things almost without noticing. I found myself asleep on the family room floor “playing princesses” with Greta, and later with my torso on my bed but my feet on the floor. No one naps like that on purpose.
-I strategically plan naps and days around events-that-matter. I can rally for anything for X hours and genuinely enjoy it. However, if I push beyond my rally point, I’ll pay for it with a crash-and-burn later.
-Rallying and showing up, even in the funk, are joy-infusers for me. I need to fight for my life’s moments and it feels good to fight-and-win in the funk.
-If I’m out-and-about I’m either not funky or I’m rallying. High-fiving me is appropriate in either scenario.
Let’s also remember… this drug and it’s accompanying funk is a blessing. I feel grateful I get to receive this drug and it kills cancer cells in my body. Chemo and I are on the same team, always: we want to stay on this drug, this protocol for the next forty-six years. It will be an adjustment, and I’m hoping to experiment and tweak my days to string together as many good days as I can. I’ll approach the funk with a plan: rest time for me, fun-filled adventures with Phenom/friends for the girls, a pass on life’s “junk” for a few days. I can still Do Today Well.
I’m afraid in sharing this — my funk — that you will stop inviting me to do things because you’ll worry that I can’t or shouldn’t or that I’m broken. Please don’t put me in that box. I want to live out loud and I can’t do that if everyone takes a step back. Rather, step in. Please. I don’t think I can emphasize that point enough.
I know my boundaries, and I’ll say no if I can’t. But I’ll feel the love in your invitation.
I worry that in sharing this, my mother will cry. Whoops. Too late. (Sorry Mom.) It’s actually harder for the ones who love me most than it is for me. They need some love too. Again, step in.
This is a vulnerable post for me because it’s not all warm fuzzy. There is a bleakness to all of this that penetrates and I’d be fake to you if I “I’m fine”-d my way along. So. This is me being real with you and trusting you to see me rather than pity me. Know that I’m fighting the funk. There are times this week that I will not “be fine.” You can help with your gifts: your prayers, kind words, high fives.
The truth is that the funk causes me to sink. There’s not any other way for it to go down (pun intended–haha!). The best way for you to pray for me is that I would be able to sink in gratitude and end up (not coincidentally) in a posture of prayer.
Sinking in grief is mourning. It’s sad, lonely, and desperate. Nothing about that is appealing or life-giving.
Sinking in gratitude is perspective over my blessings, being thankful for my gifts, and reveling in life’s many joys.
In accordance with His perfect plan, sinking brings me to my knees. On my knees in gratitude is a pretty solid way to approach the funk, so that is my game plan. I have peace that I can do this… certainly not by my strength alone, but with God’s provision. Pray for me and for my people; my village is metaphorically putting out fresh flowers, buying gifts like it is Christmas, and bursting into song to show that “we’ve got this.” I feel them, and you, rallying for me too. Thank you.