Western education 2013

Monday, September 21, 2009

.... learning about limitations

..... I am not one that knows the word 'limitations' and although I am not one to subscribe to the whole notion of taking it easy or slowing down.... I am learning to listen closely to cues from my body to stop, drop and sleep....

I find myself heading out today to go to a specialized lymphatic masseuse - I have no lymph nodes in my chest and arm on one side in a bid to catch any wayward cancer cells.... the fluid is sitting in the arm and a feeling of tightness is a cause for concern and with no way of it draining I now must seek out a specific kind of massage. Sue is a few years older than me and friendly... we are chatty and hit it off immediately. Her hands are warm and comforting as she begins the hour long process to show the fluid which path it now must go in order to drain.... the journey will take it out of the arm, across the chest and over to the grouping of lymph nodes in the armpit of the other arm. She is telling me that I now must be extraordinarily cautious about injury and lifting weights. Injuries to the arm will take a long time to heal and can get infected easily if not careful... my physician has already given me a prescription for antibiotics and has instructed me to fill them and immediately find myself in the emerge department should I show any early signs of infection... I nicked my pinkie the other day and it is not healing well and I have been very careful to put on an antibiotic cream and surgical bandages - I would not have given it a second thought weeks ago..... She continues to inform me that even lifting groceries can cause a build up of fluid. I will go and get fitted for a compression sleeve which I must wear when doing any gardening or really any lifting, pushing or pulling. I love to garden and you can generally find me in one when I am feeling better but now I must wear the sleeve and heavy duty gardening gloves - I picture myself wearing chain mail and a shield to tackle the weeds and am not overly amused by the visual... I am letting that sink in when the conversation turns to Chemo. Great thing about support workers and doctors that specialize - they are a wealth of information and can pass on the experience of others... saving you a lot of grief if you are willing to take the advice. Sue admires my beautiful nails and then lets me know that this will likely be the last time I will get to wear them... not only do I want to avoid the infections that can come from an unintentional nick, but the chemo will take care of them for me when they fall out. I look at them again at the end of my long fingers and can't explain the sudden emotional response.... I have quite a few moments as of late that are causing reactions that take me by surprise.

Earlier in the day, I was making lunch for Will as he chatted to me about his morning and the new video game that he desperately wants... I listened patiently to him as he talks about the finer details of yet another 'gun' game. He is animated and excited and I see that although he is a teen, he is still a little boy in some ways. He smiles back at me when I tell him I am excited for him and that yes he can get the game when it comes in. He changes subjects quickly and tells me quietly that they were asked in one of their classes to answer the question ' who is the one who would support your career goals and why'.... he looked at me at said that he chose me because I have always supported him and that I was army strong and am battling cancer'. I am his hero today and I catch the tears that are welling up. 'Thanks Will, that really means a lot' I say as I look down at my plate. He kisses my cheek gently and is on his way out the door...'thanks for lunch Mom, I love you'. He is having a difficult time with my cancer and is seeking counseling at school. He lets me know that he did not want to worry me and I realize that he is growing quickly....

I have finished my first massage and have made an appointment for another one just before my oncology appointment. She lets me know that it is difficult on the system and that she will not be doing anything while I have treatments. There will be plenty of time for some after that. She likes my artwork and it truly is a small world - she went to school with Anthony who has inked all but one of my tattoos and knows him well.... we both agree that not only is he a great artist but a truly wonderful guy. He does tattoo nipples after mastectomy/reconstruction surgery and she tucks that information away for her other patients. One thing I have discovered is how small my world is becoming. I chat a few minutes more with Sue and then I am off to do a few errands before heading home.

I am at Giant Tiger getting rubber gloves (can't do dishes without them now) when my cell phone rings... it is the school principle and he tells me that Mitchel has punched another boy in his class because of the teasing he is receiving. He is telling me that the boys will be dealing with their issues under the guiding watch of himself over their breaks... he feels that a suspension in this case would not solve the issue and I agree. I also inform him that Mitchel is very sensitive and is not taking the news of my cancer well and I quickly apologize for the oversight of not having informed the school of this. I assure him that I am OK but that it is no excuse for what has transpired between the two boys and that I will back him up. I will talk to him when he gets home in an hour...

Mitchel drags himself through the door and I let him know that he can meet me upstairs. I chat with him for a few minutes about the incident and I look at his slumped form on the bed beside me and I let him know that I am not angry at him... just disappointed sweetie. He is my emotional child who wears his heart on his sleeve and I look at the overly large tears trailing over his cheeks and cascading off his chin. His nose is running and I grab a kleenex and gently wipe his downturned face. I hold him close and let him know that I am sorry for his sadness and that I love him always and forever. It is sometimes hard to remember that he is still a child... he is the one who has always been so wise and mature... We hold each other for a few more minutes and he is off to do what kids do best... play.

I did not see the sudden wave of fatigue coming that has hit me so hard. I can barely sit up and find that I must crawl into bed and lay there as I help Lydia with her curriculum book - I look at the time and am shocked that I did not make it to 8 o'clock before my eyes shut and the sleep begins.... yes, the immune system is kicking in.... it has been a busy day. Tomorrow I will get fitted for a sleeve, pick up more prescriptions and see if I have an infection starting.... time to go back to bed.

No comments: