I was in the mood to write a blog post but couldn’t settle on a topic. Then I started scrolling through Facebook – not usually a good idea – and ran into the following post: “didn’t survive from cancer to die from stress”.
Truer words have never been spoken! But, alas, the stress I incur is during cancer because my disease is currently ‘incurable’. There isn’t a post-cancer era yet, but this quote is highly relevant because stress is unhealthy no matter when and where it takes place. And somehow cancer patients face many stressful situations while being physically, emotionally, spiritually …etc., disabled by the disease.
On today’s stress agenda are the following tasks:
1). Figure out how to obtain enough oxygen tanks to stay overnight in the hotel next to MSK on Thursday so that I don’t have to commute back and forth between the city and Larchmont, given early appointments, and long, traffic-y commutes. The machine that delivers continuous oxygen is not allowed in the hotel, and the oxygen company won’t release enough individual tanks. Just another day of problem solving, I guess. Thankfully, MSK is amazing.
2). Understand the visa waiver program a little better so that my partner can visit his sick girlfriend in the U.S. without being harassed by a heartless CBP officer. I worked on immigration policy in Congress for a long time and yet I am perplexed by Nick’s current situation. He has done everything by the books.
3). Find some mindless tasks that will keep me entertained while I wait for Thursday and Friday’s appointments. During the acute phases of my disease (such as this), I am at DIS- EASE. I struggle to relax and focus enough to follow a TV show or read a book, because who cares about inconsequential TV and books when you’re fighting for your life? I’ve started playing cat and mouse with my psyche by putting on the grossest TV possible, like Temptation Island! It works for no more than an hour, but an hour is more than nothing.
4). Keep everyone in the loop. My friends and family know that I struggle to keep everyone updated on my wellbeing and it’s a big source of guilt and reflection. On the one hand, my Type A personality wants me to send long, individualized updates to people. However, my introversion – exacerbated by the hermitizing effect of cancer – usually prevents me from doing so. Also, I’m exhausted, and a Type A person cannot write a message with too few details. This means drafting a message is draining because it’s usually their best effort. Then there is the guilt from sending too few or less informative updates. The guilt stream runs both ways, because – equally – if I don’t give people an accurate picture of my health status, I feel more detached and less supported. It’s my very own Circle of Hell (sorry Lion King).