Alan and I have been walking three miles around the neighborhood in the evenings together. Each time, we go through the same back and forth about what time we will go. I want to go immediately after we finish dinner. He wants to wait 45 minutes, then go.
You see, Alan and I are a lot alike when it comes to structure and schedules in our lives. I think it is why we get along so well. But one major difference between us is my ridiculous inability to relax until all the work is done. I carry this habit into every part of my life – I can’t relax during the week until I feel like I have a handle on things at work. I can’t relax on the weekends until I feel like our house is at least somewhat picked up and clean and any errands have been run. And, each evening, I can’t relax until we have made, eaten and cleaned up after dinner and gone for our walk. Because, let’s face it, the walk is work.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I haven’t posted in months, and as I approached today — a milestone day for me — I have questioned why it is that I haven’t been able to bring myself to post. I will tell Alan about things I’m dealing with or thinking about. I’ll tell him about other people I know who are walking the tough path that we have walked, people in my support group who have passed away or some story I read about detecting recurrence … and each time I tell him something like that, he generally responds by saying, “That would make a good blog post.”
And he is right. I know he is right. But I just haven’t been able to do it.
So, as July 3 got closer, and I am reminded of where we were two years ago, I realized that my problem is that I have been just exhausted with this cancer stuff. I cannot rest until the work is all done so to have this cancer story drag out for more than two and a half years – well, I just burned out.
I felt it coming late last year. It was hard to stay positive and motivated. I had spent so much time fighting only to hit the next phase of treatment. I was spent. That is why I declared 2015 as a year with no surgeries and medical bills. I knew that I was hitting the bottom, and I needed a mental break.
I made the declaration after completing antibiotics and having my PICC line pulled on Dec. 30, 2014. It was a race to the end of the year. I wanted to be well at the end of 2014, but as soon as I started feeling bad on the morning of Dec. 13, 2014 while shopping for Hayden’s birthday party, I knew I was going to have to go down to Houston. I have never dreaded that trip more. It literally made me want to vomit to think about going.
But on Dec. 30, 2014, I was finished.
Unfortunately, my declaration wasn’t true. The infection came back, and I needed another surgery on Jan. 14, 2015.
Burned out. I was really burned out.
After the infection was finally gone, and I was able to begin moving back to normal life, I just needed a mental break. I feel like I am in a good spot now. My life and my body will never be the same, so those things are constant reminders of the tough path we have travelled and the scariness of what could be in the future. But I think that these feelings get chipped away little by little each day. Each day, it is easier to think about it less.
So, two years ago today, Alan and I spent the day at OU Stephenson Cancer Center getting my last round of chemo. Krisan, my sister and my parents hung out with us the whole time. I got hundreds of texts, Facebook messages and emails that day. You can read more about it here. I love that I can look back on this blog and remember how supported we have been by all of you.
That was, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through – both physically and mentally – so it is such a relief to be two years past it. This year, we are back to the tradition of enjoying the craziness of our neighborhood on July 4. We will have friends and family over, and we will love every single second of it because we know all too well how things can change in an instant.
Happy no-more-chemo anniversary, happy I-have-hair-again day and happy July 4!