Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Do You Really Feel

Whenever someone asks how Alan is doing, I'm never sure what to say, and specifically, how much to say. Should I keep my response general, light and fluffy and easy to digest? Or should I tell it how it really is and talk about the latest thing that's come up? Because that is how cancer seems to work -- there is always something new coming up. It's almost like we have a newborn baby on our hands, a little person doing new, Tweet-worthy things all the time: the baby just smiled (and a real smile too, not just a passing gas one)! the baby just giggled! the baby likes banana tapioca!

The new thing lately with the cancer baby is the diarrhea. It's one of the side effects of Alan's chemotherapy, and perhaps one of the most annoying. It is so relentless that it keeps him from leaving the house all day and insists that he gets up 10 times a night to pay it attention.

Because anytime he moves in the night I worry that his bowels are obstructed or that he might be running a dangerously high fever (seriously, I don't even know where these concerns come from), I wake up each time he does. So although the majority of me wants this new bother to go away so he can feel better, a small part of me (the part that loves sleep almost to a fault) wants it to stop so I can get a good night's rest.

When I get home from work, I find him in bed, with an arm strewn across half his face, covering his left eye. He is staring at a point in the exact center of the room and is wearing a look that is asking me please can you dig a hole under the house and just bury me there and also can you drive the car while I take my bat and smash mailboxes on the other side? When I ask him how he is doing, he responds, "I'm sick of it all." And I am impressed with how his answer is both easy to digest and conveys how he really feels. We discuss the issue of the loose stool and the immense amount of suckiness it brings. He then adds in sound effects to let me know what his stomach has been sounding like (a sort of RowwwrRoowwrRowwrrr) so that I don't confuse the noises for violent trucks thundering by in the night time. It is a sweet, thoughtful gesture that moves me so much I decide to call and order Chinese take out.

12 comments:

superchance said...

My heart truly goes out to and Alan... u r both always in my prayers... esp since my best friend has a terminal illness called wegeners granulomatosis. she has had it for 4 yrs now and life expectancy is 10. But I will not allow her to die. or give up. she has three awesome children ages,5,11 and 16> her husband left her after 3yrs of her battle & the news came out he was having an affair with am uch younger woman where he worked. He doesn't even want shared custody of the kids. He has them 2 and 1/2 days/wk..your support is so awesome and Alan WILL make it thry w/u by his side. keep smiling. bring he & yourself an unexpected surprise! have faith ... & know many people r praying 4 u both!!! KEEP on KEEPIN on!!! with prayers , happy thoughts and lhugs sent ur way...

NAUTANKI said...

i can really relate to how you describe cancer.. cause i have a chronic medical condition too.. and it never ceases to surprise me.. the illness. each day brings with a new discovery.. new challenge.. and by the time i have conquered that one there's a new one at hand.. when i read your posts you remind me of my mother.. my anchor who does everything for me. fights my battles with me. and i know i am somehow lucky to be ill myself than bear the pain of having to watch a loved one suffer!! and "how are you feeling?" is the question i get asked most often and the question i hate most too!!
you're a brave lady.. so proud of you.:)

Jessie said...

i'm so sorry you guys have to go through this.

honestly when i was very ill everyone would ask me how i'm feeling and i hated it. it made me bitter and angry. i would say, 'great' very sarcastically. the sad thing is they still ask me 5 years later how i'm feeling. no one wants to hear the nitty gritty, they just are being polite in asking. but you will know when someone really wants to know the details. it's those people that really matter and that really care.

The Bug said...

I'm kind of addicted to sleep too - so I totally understand that part of you who wants this phase to end so you can get some rest. In me, that would be the biggest piece of the pie (not that I don't love my hubby, but I know my weaknesses).

Knowing what to say IS hard. I had surgery on my shoulder & when people ask how I'm doing I just say fine - who wants to hear all my whining about soreness & not being able to shave under my arm? But some people do want to hear - Jessie's right - & you'll know who they are...

2busy said...

I know Alan is going through a hard time, but for you equally so. You might not have cancer but you deal with it and it's effects everyday. You are loving, kind and supportive. Hang in there!

Rachel said...

My grandmother had pancreatic cancer and she threw up every single day for seven months until she died. I felt so bad for her but there was nothing we could do.

Little T said...

It's like you want to say to those inquiring minds; "You can't handle the truth". Cancer is such a nasty disease and most people don't want to hear what it is really doing to your body. I am so glad you have this blog as an outlet. I know how hard it can be to watch someone you love go through that. I am glad you can still laugh and I would bet you are the sunshine to Alan's day!

Giovanna Iorio said...

Hi! I am reading Voltaire, and I am getting use to his idea that everything in this world has no real meaning...or at least there is no explanation really of the bad that we experience in life.
By the way, maybe to see things from a different perspective always help. I hope Alan and you keep laughing all the times you can.
Here's a funny Irish comedian my husband just made me watch to cheer me up after a tiring day.
I hope you can enjoy it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxo81Ok9Urk

Sobrina Tung said...

It's crazy how many different diseases and chronic illnesses are out there and how we deal with them all. Thanks for sharing your comments and stories with me (and even forcing me to google some things I never knew existed).

J.Me. said...

Oh Sobrina....


Is it okay to say that if that is all I can say and when I want to just say something and hug you tight?

Sobrina Tung said...

J.Me, you can definitely say that if you really mean it. I still say it. hahah.

...Just Dreaming... said...

The simplicity of this post had me crying and smiling at the same time. I hope you and Alan all the best...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...