Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Garbage Day- Good Life

Today is garbage day. I missed it last week. I lost a whole day last week. Monday night Melanoma Man's brother Wayne arrived from North Carolina. It was spring break for Butter and imac. Melanoma Man had promised them a trip to Universal and Aquatica in Orlando in the hopes that Wayne would be able to join them. I don't have enough time off at the newish job yet to squander precious leave hours on spring break. I'm saving them for summer or sickness, never sure which. I've started to think amazing thoughts like maybe Melanoma Man is going to be around to see imac learn to drive, to see Butter start high school. Stuff like that. I get carried away and then I feel greedy. A voice inside my head says "isn't finishing elementary school and middle school good enough for you girl?"

So last Monday Wayne arrived around 6 pm at which point Melanoma Man advised him of the plan. No previous mention of a roadtrip to Orlando had been made to Wayne. I felt like I was in good company with Wayne, someone else who would understand the constant surprise elements introduced to life by Melanoma Man. Wayne was relieved that he would not be spending the two days with Mickey and Minnie. They played miniature golf at Pirate's Cove, swam in the hotel pool. Butter and imac went on all twelve slides at Aquatica.

At two o'clock early Tuesday morning I awoke with a headache in my left eye, neck, cheek, shoulder, the beginning of a tension headache for me. I took Advil. I applied heat. I got out Bob Anderson's Stretching Book to try to halt the storm. It was too late. The vomiting started around 3 a.m. and carried on until about 11 a.m. I called in sick to work. Melanoma Man, Wayne and the boys left for their adventure around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon once my storm had passed. My storms are familiar to me. I've had them as long as I can remember, although their frequency varies. It is my basic stress response, although I have a variety of other charming responses as well.

Thursday night Melanoma Man tentatively broached the subject of my headaches and vomiting episodes, which have only been two in the past 6 months. He suggested that I work on "acceptance." I refrained from hitting him with a shoe or a dictionary or any other household object. Instead I realized that what he meant to say was "I love you." Next he asked if maybe I would just possibly consider thinking about going to see a psychologist/Ginny, pretty please? Ginny helped me through the aftermath of the war evacuation from the Republic of Georgia during the Russian/Georgian war in 2008. I saw no combat, but it was a life upheaval to say the least.

I had thought the headache/vomiting episode through pretty thoroughly. I decided that right now I have to do something routinely, not just when I feel bad,not at the eleventh hour, not after all the laundry and chores are done to calm my mind and soul. I told Melanoma Man that life is a roller coaster and I am going to try to find a way to stay calm and centered on this roller coaster. Waves of headache and nausea returned on Friday, abated, returned on Saturday. I scheduled a $40 introductory offer massage on Sunday to undo all the kinks in the muscles of my head, neck, shoulders and back. Monday night and Tuesday night I spent an hour before bed on a Yoga/stretching video. I slept better Monday night than I have slept in two years. I'm still considering the psychologist/Ginny, but I didn't want to throw $160 at her so she could tell me to do things I know I need to do. If I fail to do them repeatedly I have committed to go see her. So all of that thinking and headaching and what not made me forget to take the garbage out last week. Double garbage and recycling today. I took it out to the curb last night for good measure.

Up at 5 this morning, I made chocolate chip muffins for the boys for breakfast. I did sneak some flax meal and whole wheat flour into the muffins. I left with imac at 6:45 a.m. for the bus stop. Melanoma Man left at 7 for Tampa. Butter spent an hour in the house by himself and then got himself to the bus at 8 a.m. Both boys home by bus this afternoon to an empty house for the first time. They texted and called and did homework and what not. Growing up. I left work at 5. Good news from Melanoma Man in Tampa. His brain MRI shows only 1 of the original 8 brain tumors remains, still shrinking on the Dabrafenib and the Mekinist. I picked up pizza on the way home. The boys finished their chores, while I finished breakfast dishes. Homework done, I told them they could watch a little tv for a special treat. They chose Scooby Doo. I remember watching Scooby Doo on Saturday mornings forty plus years ago with Johnny Reb. Something reassuring about Scooby.

Then this song started going through my head, so I am sharing it with you:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I was wrong! and Ramblings about my week

The visit from Melanoma Man's friend R turned out to be actually good. Yes indeed, my initial assessment was incorrect and colored by my own insecurities. After the first 24 hours R had finished with his story. The story of a divorce he didn't particularly want from the woman with whom he shares two children, six grandchildren and almost 4 decades of memories. By day two he began to notice the fight Melanoma Man is fighting and he began to help, doing dishes, ironing imac's shirt for his band performance. He and Melanoma Man chattered with each other like a couple of elementary school girls. I could see that it was healing both of them, lightening their hearts.

My initial objection was that MM invited his friend to stay with us without discussing it with me. After 15 years of marriage this really shouldn't surprise me.Then all of the usual insecurities rained down on me. There's too much evidence of who I am in this house, too much evidence of shortcomings, things started and not finished. It doesn't look like the house of a person who has it all together and of course I don't. Then there is the mending of people. I am a people mender and sometimes take too many under my wing. R didn't seem to be any more or less broken than the rest of us.  If he was casting judgement on my homemaking skills it certainly wasn't apparent.

This week my supervisor, D said she wished I would apply for the nurse manager position. I said NO. A big part of the beauty of this job is that it is not stressful. Of course the nurse manager position would be more $. At 4 o'clock Friday afternoon the clinic refrigerator died. It is kind of a big deal because it meant quickly finding a suitable amount of real estate in another refrigerator to preserve a whole lot of temperature controlled medications. D and I rearranged and found a way. D had to stay late to make sure the new refrigerator could maintain the appropriate temperature. I was able to leave on time which was important on this day because iMac was performing as part of his middle school wind ensemble in the state music assessment. I got there in plenty of time and I guessed correctly sitting in the center third row with a perfect view of iMac. We stayed until 8:30, long enough to find out that their wind ensemble earned a Superior.

 A hectic Friday morning as Melanoma Man departed to Tampa and R departed to the airport.  I took Butter over to faithful friend MK, along with all his school stuff, and camping gear for the BoyScout campout. MK picked up both boys from school. She delivered her son and iMac back to school at 5 so they could board the bus with their fellow band members, en route to the state assessment. Her husband delivered Butter to church with camping gear to depart for the camp out. I finished work  at 5 and drove straight to the band assessment. Melanoma Man returned from his appointment with The Weber/Moffitt a little after 10 p.m. with a good report.

Saturday morning Melanoma Man drove a batch of Boyscouts, including iMac to meet up with their fellow campers. MM was home by mid day. We had a rare afternoon, evening, night and morning to ourselves. The last time we had this luxury was the first week of July when I took Melanoma Man to Tampa for stereotactic brain radiation surgery. This weekend alone was different, we weren't encumbered by the urgency of staying alive. We went to Bonefish Grill for dinner. We talked and talked and talked and just enjoyed hanging out with each other. Melanoma Man felt exceptionally well. And it was good, just pure goodness for both of us.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I was right

Just saying, for the record. Once again folks I, Laundry Thief, am correct about the self centered ego maniacal visiting friend. I've got lots of experience with egomaniacs you see.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Friend

A week or so ago Melanoma Man announced that his college friend R would be coming to visit, staying with us. Note that I was not consulted on the convenience of this visit or whether I thought it best that R stay at the Marriott. Of course he should stay at the Marriott!!! Undoubtedly this is why MM did not consult me. We live in a smallish 1600 square foot house with 3 bedrooms, a cat, and too many Legos to count. Butter will have to sleep in imac's room. There will be bickering.

 I met R and wife S at MM's college reunion when imac was just over 12 months old and butter wasn't even born yet. R and S are divorcing after 42 years of marriage. I liked S. I had a good feeling about her. She was real. Melanoma Man says R wants to come visit him. Other friends came to visit right away, as soon as they knew of MM's diagnosis. Those were the friends who were truly coming to be friends to MM. Those were the ones who understood the gravity of the situation. R's visit is suspect at best. Seems to me that it is an escape from the reality of divorce and loss. I don't have time to be someone else's escape hotel. I have promised to be civilized, but it will be difficult. Thankfully I will leave the house early each morning and will only have 2 hours or so to spend with R in the evening. Then he will be gone on Friday morning. He showed little concern for Melanoma Man when things were really dicey. I could be wrong. It has happened from time to time. To be continued.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


It's March and my brain is fogged up with tree pollen. Friday night we attended imac's karate belt test. He is a green belt now. I only see him do karate at belt testing time because his twice weekly class at the Y occurs immediately after school lets out, not a time when I am around. So the progress is always remarkable to me, reflecting a year of twice weekly practice. It is nice to see how proud he is. Chatting with other parents just before the seven students begin the test, we remember that imac  and another student have been doing karate together since first grade. One parent mentions that they will have their learners permits in a year. Melanoma Man looks at me, "a year, is that true?" Yes it is, just a little over a year. imac turns 14 in June. He can get his learner's permit on his 15th birthday.

This afternoon Melanoma Man and I grocery shopped while imac and butter hung out with friends. He is feeling good today. He said "I'm following you," instead of his usual grocery stance of "You follow me. You are a haphazard grocery shopper." My mind just works differently. Today that is ok with him.

It is a peaceful time right now on the outside of this family's life. On the inside I am nothing short of devastated, by the storm that has blown through our lives since melanoma's return to our everyday in August 2012. The sun is shining. The sky is clear and blue. The breeze is light. The wreckage of the storm lays on the ground all around us and I'm not sure which piece to pick up first. I know another storm will come. The idea of just walking out the door and never looking back is more appealing than picking up anything, than preparing for another storm.

We never heard back from Maria, the oncology Nurse Practitioner, about the final reading of the last incomplete brain MRI report. Melanoma Man will travel to Tampa this week to see The Weber, again in 3 weeks to see Dr. Rau and Dr. Etame and have yet another MRI of his brain.

We talked about spring break. I don't have any time off. Other nurses had already mapped out their leave for the whole school year to match up with the school calendar, but I am too new to have any leverage. So I can't go anywhere. Melanoma Man mentioned taking the boys to Orlando. I asked him to please NOT tell them until we are sure he is up to it, like a day or two before hand. He agreed and then did what he always does. I came home from work a week ago and the boys were ecstatic to tell me they are going to Orlando with their Dad on spring break.

This week I'll try to recruit reinforcements, call Uncle Wayne, see if he is up to Universal and Aquatica. Fingers crossed.