Coping Schmoping

Mama told me there’d be days like this.
There’d be days like this my mama said.

Okay, so it’s been a peculiar week. I started with surgery Monday, but was more or less back at work Wednesday. The doctor got the bandage off without removing skin on Thursday and I felt so much better and was able to move again.

I drove myself to work on Friday! Got to celebrate the little triumphs.

So, I’m routinely taking 2 hour naps each afternoon, but really, that’s sorta nice.

So, today Charlie and I have a bunch of little errands. They’re all designed to make my life easier, but Charlie is still amazing and makes me think there’s no place he’d prefer be than out shopping with me.

Now, neither of us are shoppers. For either of us to be looking forward to going out shopping is a bit amazing.

We start at Toys R Us. I’ve decided that I’m not going to do a good job of sitting in doctor’s offices waiting and there’s going to be lots of that. I also think I may have lots of time on my hands while receiving chemo, and since the port’s in my chest, I figure I’ll have two hands free. I’d’ve thought this would be an excellent opportunity to read (I routinely did all my serious reading while giving platelets), but I’ve already learned my ability to concentrate is shot to hell.

So I’ve got a Game Boy Advanced. I expect that’ll be just enough distraction. But I need games. I looked at some possibilities (that do not include “That’s So Raven 2”) on Amazon, but figure I can get them in town. Sure enough, there’s a wonderful selection. There’s also a very helpful young man. We’re a bit of a surprise to him. Apparently, most people over 40 who show up at the video game department at Toys R Us start with “I have no idea what to get my son/grandson/etc.”). I have a list of things to look at. And we find enough that I think I’ll manage to be distracted for at least a while.

Then we do the unthinkable. We go to Petsmart to get a cat condo. We always knew we were not the kind of people who had cat condos. That’s just way too solicitious of the cat. But Ike was named after Issac Newton, because of his love of gravity. He was well named. He’s been getting way out of hand recently. He’ll sit on the kitchen counter and knock down everything he can find, to find the thing that makes the nicest rattling sound. The higher the shelf, the bigger the challenge and IkeGetDownFromThere loves a challenge. The last straw was when he worked his way behind the laser printer in the den. We figured he was trying to find a way to tempt Linus to get close so he could drop the printer on him.

So, I convinced Charlie we had to try a condo “so there would be a socially acceptable way for Ike to express his climbing behavior.” With much discussion, we end up with a condo that has a tube, two sisal scratching areas, two shelves with sides so he won’t roll off by mistake, and a hanging toy to taunt Ike. It’s about 2 inches taller than the width of Charlie’s car’s backseat. But we get it home and, instead of snubbing it, like any normal cat would do, Ike is in love and has only been on the bookshelf once all afternoon.

So, on the way to brunch, I ask Charlie to stop at Hancock Fabrics. Crocheting is another way I keep distracted in doctors’ offices and I’m just about done with the scarf I’m working on. I figure I’ll need to have some hats, so can crochet them while waiting. I told him he could wait in the car; this should be easy. I had a collection of patterns with me, so just needed to find some soft yarn for them.

But Hancock’s expanded their yarn selection and the helpful “Here are equivalent yarns” sign I’ve come to count on is nowhere to be found. So I stand and try to make a decision. Which pattern do I want to start with? The cancer cap? The cloche? The brimmed hat? Which yarn? Okay, the pattern calls for Cheniile, but is that the same as Chenille Sensations? Is it the same as Chenille Thick and Quick? Which color? Hunter? Teal? Is white too harsh? Would cream be better? I wear lots of blue, don’t I? They don’t have a 4.25 mm hook, should I use a 4 or a 5 or wait or what?

I’ve been in yarn shops for over 40 years. Literally. There was a woman who ran a shop out of her house in our neighborhood half a block away that I went to before I was 5. I was junior grand champion of the Alachua County State Fair because in part of my crocheting. I can’t remember the last time I actually used the suggested yarn or needle size. I know this stuff.

Or I used to know this stuff. Standing there in Hancock, I know nothing. I can do a little pattern matching. I have cancer. I should start with the cancer cap. The pattern says “Fancy Fur” and this yarn says “Fancy Fur” so it should be okay. I take the color on the shelf nearest me, because, well, it’s there.

I go to the check-out almost in a panic and there are 100 people there. Well, 6. And the line doesn’t move.

So I drop everything and leave and Charlie picks me up and I start bawling. I can’t explain what’s wrong other than “I have cancer.”

But he can’t fix that, so we go to Michaels, which has a better selection of crocheting supplies, and he walks me through all the decisions and finds the 4.25 mm hook. He even learned how to match dye lots. And then he takes me for lunch, so by the time we get home, I feel almost normal. Charlie becomes Ike’s favorite person by bringing in the cat condo.

Then I get to take pain pills (which I haven’t needed since Monday, but work incredibly well for menstrual pain!) and get my afternoon nap. And then watch football. To my shock, Florida managed to not lose to Georgia. (Sorry. I was born in Gainesville and have been a Florida fan for a long, long time and have come to expect them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.)

So, I got to face a little bit of the darkness today. Thanks to Charlie, I made it through this one. There’ll be more and it’s good to know he’ll be there. And I’ve had so many others support me, I know he won’t have to do it alone.



  1. John Mark Parker said

    Mama did say there would be days like this… so we can’t say we weren’t warned. At least we have a song to remind us. Plus, thank God we don’t have to face them alone.

    Thank you for sharing your day. You are helping me… not only by letting me know what’s going on with you and Charlie and the critters… but by allowing me to face the darkness with you in some small way. None of us wants to pester you with phone calls or emails, so keeping us informed via the blog, helps us know how to pray and how to care. Thanks for including me in your life. I think that ultimately, all any of us has to share is who we are… so thank you for giving.

    I can’t believe you are cat condo people (although I really have nothing against them). But, good for Ike. And good for you. And, while I don’t consider myself a cat person, the photo of him sleeping was pretty dang cute!

  2. Just so you remember: I’m the InfoTech wife six months ahead of you in this…

    I may have schoolage kids, but the reality is I’m woefully immature for my age. I’m the first in the family to have gotten a Gameboy Advance SP and jealously guard my stack of games. I’m sure the helpful salesperson at TRU suggested some good games, but let me recommend some: Anything Yu-Gi-Oh, except the latest one and Pokemon. Neither require the dexterity of a 10 year old. Neither require constant attention, so you can put the GBA down to fill out that one piece of paperwork in the doctor’s office that is always needed. The Yu-Gi-Oh’s are card games and Pokemon is, well, Pokemon. (If you want more details, I’ll email.)

    Next time you’re in G’ville, there is a great store (next to Toys-R-Us ironically) called “Especially for Women”. It’s where I got my prosthesis and other things, including head wraps. The owners are wonderful and very knowledgable about what your insurance will cover.

    Keep up the blogging, but call if you want to talk.

  3. susie vanderGlas said

    Im got your blog info from a friend of yours in savannah ga, Chip his wife Ruth gave this to me we are both nurses and work for the same agency. However I was a oncology nurse and am now almost 5 yrs out from Breast Cancer . So please email me I would love to chat with you…Chemo is not as bad as we think I promise you an it sounds like you really have a good hand on things already… Take care strength and warmth ahead ..
    As always Susie v

  4. esmail said

    I want to second the first post above, instead of bothering you (too much) with e-mails, I am keeping up to date by reading your blog. So, next to the NYT, Der Spiegel, /., I scan in the mornings (nicely set up in firefox with a single click) your blog also shows up now.

    Cat condo people .. shocking .. simply shocking …

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