I'll admit it. I've been down for a few weeks. I am not sure what I expected to happen after I finished my last chemo, but I know it wasn't a five day hospital stay followed by a hole in my face and major weakness. The amount of anger that I have been feeling since I missed out on my audition and started wearing a band aid on my face has been larger than the disappointment would warrant, I think. I have just been so mad. Bitter. Pissed off. And I am beginning to realize that in the back of my mind I expected to finish my last treatment and hit the ground running after a momentous visit from the good health fairy, who would wave her magic wand and reward all of my pain and struggles with long, flowing hair and my old strength and stamina. Also I would immediately shed these five or six prednisone pounds that make my clothes all too tight.
Of course none of that has happened yet. I keep waiting up for her at night, but I guess she isn't coming. And I really am going to have to go through several months of awkward hair stages to get to something I might like when I look in the mirror. And to both get my strength and my waistline back I am going to have to work on it slowly but surely. No more lying around for days eating whatever I want. Sigh. Where is that fricken fairy?
So yeah, I have been avoiding blogger because I have been feeling so very angry and I wasn't sure what to say about that. But since Friday I have been getting out of the house a little and finding a bit of stamina. And finding what exactly has been bothering me so much.
Friday night I went to the opening of Andrea's play, Rough Night at the North Pole. This is a kids Christmas show and pretty cute. She did a really good job with the set and costumes and has some first rate actors in her cast. And a few newbies...ahem...but a very enjoyable 45 minutes.
After the show, about 12 of us went to Tres Amigos. It was really good to see everyone and to be out and about like a healthy person. But I was carrying a lot of the above mentioned anger and as I sat with the group I realized that I feel different. Like the world is now split up for me into two groups, cancer and other catastrophic event survivors and everyone else. And I am not sure how I fit into a 'mixed' group anymore. Not sure what my identity is anymore.
I realized I have lost the ability to chit chat. I don't know what to talk about that isn't cancer and I can't even manage to answer a simple question like 'how are you doing?' How do I answer that? Friday night I was still very bitter and being among my theatre friends who are doing shows and auditioning and rehearsing shows and their lives have not had a five month derailment, I don't know how to answer that question. I can't say fine and keep a strait face. I can't say 'good' with any conviction and I am sure they don't want to actually hear how I am doing which at the time was incredibly bitter at my disease and awkward about being among them, the healthy. So I just said 'decent.' That is the best I could do.
But I managed to relax some and enjoy being out. And Andrea' and I managed to have a few minutes to talk about what was bothering me. And that is when I realized I was waiting on the fairy to come give me back what I have lost. She also thinks that I didn't have the luxury of getting really angry and grieving when I was diagnosed, when I lost my hair, when chemo really started to suck. I didn't do it then. So now, after cancer's death throw of putting a hole in my face and ruining my plans to get back into theatre (read: my life) I am now feeling all of the anger and grief that I held off all summer. Perhaps. It sounds good to me.
Saturday, I started feeling a little better, a little less angry. My Dad and Mary babysat Jackson while David and I and the band aid went to the DMi Christmas party at the majorly swanky Barton Creek Resort. I can't fit into any of my dresses right now and I didn't want to buy anything. But when I chose my Chemo Queen gown, Mary Ellen sent me home with a couple of other gowns that fit and looked nice. So I wore one of those. I hate it that five extra pounds can kick the crap out of my self-image, but I am a product of American media. And I really don't want a bunch of comment on how terrible I am to obsess over my weight. I know it is stupid, but there it is. It bothers me. But I managed to feel ok about the way I looked, even with the band aid. I have to say that I love my wig. It really helps me feel good; pretty. I don't need it every day, but a ladybug hat at a swanky party just isn't gonna cut it. And my band aid isn't even that visible in the picture. Huzzah.
We had a good time at the party. The food was excellent. They did the whole casino night thing they do about every other year. I didn't gamble, though. I sat at our table with Machelle, the wife of one of David's co-workers. We sit with the same two couples every year and have always enjoyed each others company. Every year we have to find something to steal. Not because we are all cleptos, but because three or four years ago at the Austin Hilton, they had a big block of cheese on the buffet as a decoration. A nice block of some kind of white cheese, probably a Parmesan. And Machelle really coveted it. She wanted it a lot. So when the staff was clearing the buffet we asked what was going to happen to it. She said they only use them once and get rid of them. So we stole it. Took it off the buffet and Machelle carried it out of the building. Last year David and I put part of the centerpiece in her purse when she wasn't looking. This year the only stealable items were the Christmas tree balls on the buffet. So we took some of those. Interesting that we don't steal 11 months out of the year, but in December, you have to tie down your centerpieces.
This morning, about 11:00, Dad and Mary showed up to see if we wanted to go with them to Teo's Gelato in Austin. A young woman, Desiree, that Mary is acquainted with was having a fundraiser there for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She just finished treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in September and is training to run a marathon with the LLS Team In Training program. This was one of her fundraisers, so we headed down to participate and meet her. The gelato was really good and meeting Desiree was too. She and I commiserated a bit about the horrendous suckage that is chemotherapy. And we talked about the Honored Hero program. She is not only participating as a runner, but she is also going to be an honored hero for a triathlon team. She was excited to hear I am going to be a mascot too. She is going to talk to the lady in charge to see if I can be the hero for her marathon team. That would be pretty awesome. Desiree was very cool and definitely someone to look up to. Chemo in September and already training for a marathon. Granted, she did them before Lymphoma, but still. Chemo takes a lot out of you and the determination to bounce back right away is admirable. I guess I need to figure out how to stop being angry and feeling separate from my old life so I can get back to it. Sounds easy, but I have a good idea that it isn't going to be.