Monday, March 16, 2009

Hello, and soon (I think) I'll be back

Dear Friends,

I know you've all given up on me and ever seeing any more posts on this blog. It's been months, and might be a couple more. I might even decide not to come back to it; every day is a new story, and the last months have changed my entire perspective on life. Even though I try to read your blogs and keep up, I am not so good at the formerly loyal and regular commenting. It doesn't mean I'm not reading you when I can. No, I didn't fall off a cliff, but the life situation feels very close to that.

I got overwhelmed last summer, and just when I thought the kids would go back to school and I would have some moments to write and do other independent things that I actually WISH to do, the 16-ton weight fell (not a cartoon one; a real one): my beautiful, talented-jazz musician-composer-vocalist, 16-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. Not that it's ever a good thing, but there also couldn't have been a worse year for him to go through this--he's a junior in AP courses who also attends a second high school, an arts academy, and has countless rehearsals, performances and competitions, not to mention APs, ACTs, and SATs on the horizon.

With his diagnosis, the rest of the world immediately started to look trivial. Things I would have thought were stupid or funny and certainly would have written about and mocked suddenly didn't rank as worthy of a moment's attention. I already lost both parents to cancer and my father-in-law has been in treatment for nine years. I'm so sick of watching this that I want to take the anti-nausea medicine myself.

So, at the end of last summer, my full-time job became keeping my fabulous kid alive. I have spent countless days and nights in clinics, hospitals, CAT, PET, x-ray, chemo, radiation, pharmacies, incessant driving/traffic, and just plain endless waiting. I spend days scheduling tutors, scheduling treatment, staying home during the tutoring to facilitate, communicating with teachers, and making sure the work gets done even if everyone is tired. I sleep in the family room especially on the nights when he is scared or just wants to sleep in the comfy chair in case he needs help, or we suspect he might get a fever and need to go to emergency.

I schmooze with oncology and nuclear medicine nurses instead of visiting with friends. Nobody hears from me on the phone anymore--I don't know what to say and don't have time anyway. I've heard that there are rumors going on among the parents of my other child's sports teams that I don't exist and I'm just an unsupportive slacker beeutch who doesn't care about her kid. Well, F--- them in capital letters. I have a bigger task than sitting around a swimming pool gabbing or parking my butt on baseball bleachers playing parental one-upmanship gossip games. This is not to say my other child isn't important. Of course he is; but we parents have chosen roles to keep the whole very feeble, creaking machine working.

Sure, fortunately I still have my editing contracting to periodically distract me, and am even going whole-hog on National Poetry Month and Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day this year. When I find small things and a small amount of time to do something that makes me happy, I do, if I can remember to try. A couple of days ago, in celebration of my kid's hair starting to grow back, with his witness I chopped my own horrible witchy hip-length hair off with sewing shears and felt better. It's yet another task to force myself to be happy sometimes. I'd prefer to avoid any more tasks at the moment.

Not all's bad. Because of our bizarre time being artificially together, my son, one of his tutors, a classmate and I have turned an AP US History project from a molehill into a mountain. Maybe some publication potential, but too early to say; like the lymphoma, it's day-by-day change and revelation.

But this time lymphoma WON'T be the terminator. And like the Terminator, the famous hair will be back!


At 3/17/2009 7:30 PM, Blogger Nance said...

I'm so terribly sorry. I will continue to hope for the very best for you and your family. Please know that. Thank you for letting us know, and I hope you can check in now and then. Please take care of yourself. I'm so glad you found your way to the Dept.

At 3/23/2009 10:43 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Wow -- sorry I hadn't checked in sooner. This piece is beautifully articulated. I was wondering what it has been like, really like -- not just thinking about it from afar. You've composed a watercolour of the year from hell.
But WHY didn't you go to the hairdressers!


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