Tag Archives: cancer

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month

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This book just about sums up my month.

Other than the 25 day battle to get the exposed black mold removed from my ceiling (when the guy finally came, they only COVERED IT so it’s *still* not resolved to my liking), other things have been going on that just pile on top of each other and make it all feel like *too much*.

On Monday my Grandfather accused me of being a thief. I went over to my Grandparent’s house in between my internship and school. My Grandpa had a cancer appointment at 1 and it was just before 12 when i got there. I was heating up my lunch when I first heard him talking to my Grandma about me being there. I finished eating and sat down with a cup of tea. He came out of his bedroom, the first time I’ve seen him walk in ages. He sat down at the dining room table, hunched over and started talking to me. He told me he did not want me in the house when they were gone. I lived there for 22 years. I asked why. He said:

“There is a thief in this family and I don’t want anybody here.”

I’m the only one in the family still in Florida, other than my Grandparents, so I asked him what he was accusing me of. He said he wasn’t going to tell me until “more things go missing.” Then he told me to “get the hell out, get the fuck out, you bitch” and started threatening me that he would call 911. My Grandma is there the whole time trying to diffuse the situation, telling me to stay and him to calm down. This was the wordiest interaction we’ve had in a while. He hates me STRONGLY enough to get out of bed to accuse me of being a thief and to call me names.

I didn’t just leave though. I felt like saying exactly what I felt. And this time, I couldn’t hold it. I told him he’s a miserable old man and THAT is why he got cancer. He’s poison. I told him I was trying to have a good relationship with him so I wouldn’t always regret it and I cry all the time thinking about all the time lost, but it isn’t worth it for someone who treats me like shit.

And then I left.

Know what was missing? My Grandma told me: Nothing. He thought he couldn’t find a book of stamps he thought he had but that he had moved or used a long time ago.

———-

Today, I use the toilet and flush. The bowl fills up completely. Over the next 2-3 minutes, it slowly drains but doesn’t take down the toilet paper. So I plunger it and nothing really comes out. The toilet starts making gurgling noises. I tried flushing some water quickly down into the bowl, as I heard this helps, but that didn’t do anything. I plungered and plungered.

And then I heard gurgling coming from my bathtub. And guess what was in my bathtub. All of the water that was leaving my toilet. But it looked dirtier. Like maybe it’s been backed up for a while and now feces are in my tub. So I submitted my maintenance request and waited two hours. The worst part is that in two hours I have to leave to get to class to present a lesson plan worth 100 points of my final grade. I e-mailed the instructor and he said we’ll play it by ear- to show up late if I can come at all. Otherwise, we’ll reschedule. I’m glad he’s being flexible, but I’m feeling so much anxiety about this.

I called my landlady to make sure she got my maintenance request and she had a huge attitude that she couldn’t give me a time frame and that I’ll “just have to wait until he shows up.”

I need to move. I need to win some money so I can move.

——

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The only thing going well for me has been my new, Paleo diet. Week 1 I saw 9 lbs of weight loss. And that is huge to me. With all these things going on that I can’t control, Couch25K and Paleo have given me some control. The running/jogging is hard and I hate every second of it when I’m doing it. But afterward, when I check my Polar chest heart rate monitor, I feel accomplished.

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A distraction and a reflection

I’ve been outside of myself, consuming and inside, consuming my fears and regurgitating them into something constructive. Living life based on what is due and trying not to dwell. D says it’s not good to dwell and think about the things I can’t control. 

D, my decade-long friendship. Falling asleep in his arms after not seeing each other for almost three years. Waking in the morning with his arms wrapped around me. The 6-hour round trip drive to be safe in the knowledge that I can tell him anything. He’s been there for everything. He knew me before I became who I am. The comfortable silence, the way we walk beside each other; share a Pepsi. The purple turtle he won me. The secrets we hold from our teenage years and the joking way I tell him that someday, we will have children named Tapioca, Chocolate and Rum Raisin.

Back at home, the mold is growing both figuratively and literally. 

I had my first observation giving a lesson. How to find the area of triangles. It was like a teacher climbed inside my body and nothing else mattered.

I’m making a My Grandpa is Dying and There’s Nothing I Can Do About It Playlist. There is no song that completes all of my thoughts. I think of myself mostly. I think of my children that I hope I have. I think of my Grandma being alone. That’s when I really cry. I think of D and I sometimes and how sad I’d be if I lost my oldest friendship.

 

The playlist as it stands:

1. Birdy- Skinny Love
“Come on skinny love, just last the year. Pour a little salt, we were never here.”

2. The Gambler– Fun.

“But it’s not time, you never quit in all your life”

3. Sum 41- The Hell Song

“Everybody’s got their problems, 
Everybody says the same thing to you. 
It’s just a matter of how you solve them, 
And knowing how to change the things you’ve been through. 

I feel I’ve come to realize, 
How fast life can be compromised. 
Step back to see what’s going on, 
I can’t believe this happened to you.”

4. One More Time with Feeling– Regina Spektor

“And they’re sitting all around you
Holding copies of your chart
And the misery in their eyes
Is synchronized and reflected into yours

Hold on
One more time with feeling
Try it again
Breathing’s just a rhythm
Say it in your mind
Until you know that the words are right
This is, why we, fight”

5. Firewood– Regina Spektor

“Rise from your cold hospital bed
I’ll tell you, you’re not dying
Everyone knows you’re going to live
So you might as well start trying

The piano is not firewood yet
But the cold does get cold
So it soon might be that”

And, that’s it so far.

The nutrients

It’s been a while. School started again and I don’t have as much free time to dwell on the situation. My mom is coming to stay with me for a few days soon. That’ll be… An experience. It’s been years and we never really get along in person. Maybe it’ll be different this time.

I was just thinking about how as far back as I can remember, my grandpa would hear on the radio or from a friend about a cancer preventing food. And he would tell me about how if you eat tomato, you’ll protect yourself from cancer. Garlic, blueberries and fish oil are three others I remember but there were countless other “super”  foods. And obviously, none of them worked.

It’s shit.

There are others

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I guess this ribbon thing is a thing. It signifies that I’m about to be devastated at some point this year. I think I cried every tear out yesterday and now I’m just sitting in bed with my cat beside me. My grandmother came and brought me leftover ham from yesterday and I chucked it in the fridge. I don’t much feel like eating. I asked her what stage Grandpa is considered and she couldn’t give me an answer. She has no idea. I want to know so I can confirm what I already know. That I’m not being melodramatic. I started taking St. John’s Wort again today for my mood. Hopefully that kicks in and I can get something done. I feel like my house looks like I feel inside lately. Everything scattered about with no exact organizational scheme. I couldn’t ask for a better description of my personality and mood.

The Cancer Word

As I drove home tonight it dawned on me that I have nobody to talk to. I mean really talk to non-superficially about the Cancer word. I’m so upset that I’m blogging. And I’m not sure how this will work out. If  putting these words out there in cyber world will make me feel better because they definitely don’t change the Cancer. I’m not a very gifted writer but thankfully, there is no teacher here to correct my fragmented thoughts with a red pen.

My Grandfather, 73 years old, has multiple myeloma. We found out this September.

I know that people die and, for the most part, I accept this. But my grandparents are supposed to be the exception to that rule. These people raised me. And although our relationship has not been easy and I am not sure how to express my gratitude toward them in a non-awkward feeling way, they are supposed to be infinite.

I wasn’t even supposed to know about the cancer. My whole life, my grandfather has been strangely independent for a blind man. And strong. Always strong. So no, cancer. I am not a fan of yours.

In May I graduated after a series of on-again-off-again-change-the-major attempts. And that was only for my Associates degree. I really wanted my Grandfather to be there. To finally make him proud that I was getting my life together.

When I told my Grandmother the date of my graduation, she told me he wouldn’t be coming. Maybe it was the wrong way to take it, but I took this as a personal insult. Like maybe he wasn’t proud of me. He’d called me a “career college student” before, as an insult. It surfaced up years of anger. Finally, after several phone calls back and forth, Grandma confessed that she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone but he had been sick lately. And by lately we’re talking about six months. The kind of sick that won’t allow a person to sit through a long graduation ceremony. I instantly thought cancer but she assured me “there are tons of things it could be and I’ve finally convinced him to go to the doctor.” Getting my Grandfather to go to the doctor for anything is a feat. In the 20 years that I lived with them before moving on my own, I can think of maybe a handful of occurrences that he actually went to a physician.

So, with that reassurance, I took to the internet to convince myself it could be anything but cancer. With all of the symptoms she described to me I came to one conclusion. It was cancer. And I cried to myself and I cried to my then-boyfriend. I cried to everyone but my Grandmother because I don’t often show that emotion with her and I didn’t want her to feel worse.

Summer came and passed. In September, my Grandmother let me know that my Grandfather was in the hospital. She wouldn’t tell me why but I’m a bright girl so I connected the dots. It had to be the Cancer I was sure he had. Through conversation, she dropped the name of “the specialist” that was running tests on him. I googled the hell out of this man. I found out where he went to school, past work history, that he has a family and, oh, that he’s an oncologist.

When I was finally told “multiple myeloma”, I remembered reading about it in my initial quest for answers. I remember reading “no cure” and seeing the comparison to leukemia and hoping that it wasn’t multiple myeloma because I needed there to be a way to fight this. And while there are drugs, it’s now the day after Christmas and I just had what I’m sure will be the last Christmas with my Grandfather.

And he couldn’t lift the small electric blanket I bought him for his always-cold feet. And he couldn’t tear the paper because he’s so weak. My Grandfather sat there, helpless, in his recliner chair in his bedroom and admitted, in front of me, that he was uncomfortable. He’s a skeleton. His hair is so white and his face so hollow. He’s not the man I remember raising me. Today he swam in his sweatshirt and couldn’t tear paper. He couldn’t join us for dinner nor did he even want to eat in his bedroom. I feel so mad.

I hate you, cancer.

This is my blind grandfather who liked to show off that he could garden, jump rope and move about independently. This is the man who I could scream and argue with for hours when I was a teenager. The same man I would yell to that I hoped he would die. And now he is. It’s like the sick moral of a sappy story to watch what you say. Only, he was never supposed to get sick. Immortal beings don’t get cancer.

Tonight, I’m thinking back on all of the times when this Roman Catholic man would inform me that Jesus was going to give him back his eyesight. And he stated this as a fact. I used to scoff at him and tell him how very atheist I am. This is the man who sat in his room and did rosaries for hours and would ask me to read him the bible but I had better things to do. Looking back, I would give anything to be an 8 year old girl again so that I could read to him. And it wouldn’t matter what. I wish I had the guts as a 25 year old to offer to do it but I don’t.  And beside the guts issue, I’m not sure he has the strength to sit and try to build a last-minute-ditch relationship with me.

I hate cancer.