Friday, November 30, 2012

So calm your waves and slow the churn

Yesterday was my two-month anniversary of moving to Portland.  Wow, has my life improved since I moved here.  I've talked a lot about the components of that improvement already, so I won't repeat myself here; suffice it to say that the life I have now is giving me more purpose and meaning than I ever expected to have.

It's good to take that energy into another chemo weekend.  So far this one has been pretty easy, with Jay being focused and alert and not having any obvious side effects or untoward misery.  His mother is doing primary caregiver duty this weekend, and we make a good care team.

It's good to be happy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And I think maybe we were lovers in a former life

Had two Thanksgivings since my last post: on Thanksgiving and on Saturday (both links to Jay's blog posts about the two feasts).  Both were lovely, with wonderful food and great company.

Thanksgiving day was my seven-week anniversary of arriving in Portland.  Things are going slow on the house-search front, this being an exceptionally difficult house rental market.

I'm in no great hurry to find a place, except that I'm starting to miss my stuff.  I'm getting tired of wearing the same clothes every week, which is mildly ridiculous, because chances are I'd be wearing the clothes I have with me anyway.  But not having the choice is beginning to wear, and I miss all the other clothes I have packed.

Things are bad enough that I wore a button-front shirt yesterday for the first time since I moved, and I've worn so many t-shirts and polos that Jay was actually surprised.

And if it gets cold, I'm really screwed, because I absolutely refuse to go buy a new winter coat when I already have multiple perfectly good ones.

So I'm missing my books, and my exercise equipment, and my crock pots, and my clothes.

But what I'm finding most interesting is that I really am doing OK without any of it.  Sure, I miss it all, but I'm living just fine without it.  It just makes me realize that so much of the stuff I brought with me I probably could have given away and I'd be OK.

It's an interesting thought.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No, I can't just relax, knowing that you're coming back

So the news from Jay's CT scan was good, as these things go.  I won't completely heave a sigh of relief until after his oncology appointment this afternoon, assuming nothing changes with his treatment plan, but I'm starting to let go of some of my fear of the worst.  For the moment, for this round, the worst isn't upon us.

Monday, November 19, 2012

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart

If only the waiting were the hardest part.  Waiting for Jay's scan results is hard enough, but knowing that something worse could be coming is even harder.  Harder for Jay than for me, but hard enough for both of us, for all of us, for everyone.

Just waiting ...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Great dominions, they don't come cheap

I've been thinking a lot lately about my new life, all good thoughts.  As I find a rhythm here, a solid routine, I'm realizing how empty my old life was.

This one has purpose, and meaning, and depth, and warmth, and well, life.  A lot of the old noise in my head has cleared away and I'm left with more of who I truly am and what I'm truly capable of.  I feel more present and more visible and more real than I can ever remember feeling.

Jay said something the other day that really got me thinking, about how I carry spoons for him, thus making day-to-day life easier for him.  I found this interesting, since I have some spoon issues of my own.  But I seem to be making it all work, balancing my needs and his needs and getting it all done, even if only eventually.

It's a good feeling to be useful, to have purpose, to finally get out of the awful noise in my head into real life.  I'm glad to be here, for all the values of here.

(And for those of you who don't know about spoon theory, here's what that is.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To feel safe again look over your shoulder

A collection of disparate things makes a post:

  • I'm finally finding my way around Portland with a little more confidence.  Those who know me well know that I have nearly no sense of direction, so finding my way around somewhere new is always a challenge.
  • I apparently hit the flirtation sweet spot for a bunch of men here, all of whom are slightly older than me and quite charming.  Since I never, ever dress better than frumpily these days, I am somewhat baffled, but not displeased.
  • Feeling the need to start exercising again - I'm beginning to feel creaky and slow and things will only get worse as it gets colder (or as cold as it gets here), so I've got to get my wide white ass in motion again.
  • Oh, and the weather! Marylanders have a saying - if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change.   That is almost literally true here.  The weather turns on a dime here, from sunny to pouring rain in nearly the blink of an eye.  It's fascinating, but it can make driving a bit of a challenge.
  • Parts of Jay's neighborhood remind me so much of parts of Rehoboth Beach. There's something about the style of houses and the ubiquitous presence of evergreens that makes me keep looking for the ocean around every corner.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Well, the dream burned up like paper in fire

Still reeling from yesterday's news.  Trying to remind myself that everything is just speculation, right up to the point where we see the scan results.

My subconscious is playing some funny tricks on me right now.  I'm getting scene after scene in my head of things I loved in Baltimore, which is my brain's way of reminding me that I might be happier elsewhere.

Good shot, but a miss, nonetheless.

Sad as I am, scared as I am, angry as I am, I am right where I should be, and glad to be here.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other, just like every day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bride of all unquiet things

Another chemo weekend.  Jay's currently sleeping peacefully in the chemo chair, his primary caregiver is at the ready in case she's needed, and I'm in the bedroom writing this post and contemplating the day.

These chemo weekends are tough on everyone, obviously not the least on Jay.  But I'm discovering as time goes on and my experience with them grows just how difficult they are for me.

It is incredibly hard to watch the light go out in his eyes as the chemicals swim into his body, to watch him sleep in the chair in the infusion center, to watch him come back to himself, that light flickering and struggling back to full life for moments at a time, only to wane again as he's dragged back into chemo-induced unconsciousness.

My heart is always tender and fragile these weekends, tears always close to the surface and almost never expressed.  The grief is also close to the surface, floating there and intermingling with the love and the passion and the tenderness and the longing and the hope.

The worry and the love are exhausting, but there is no other path here.  There is no comfort but the comfort of the rituals of caring for Jay, of making sure he has whatever he needs in this moment, of bearing serene and loving witness to that which must be nearly unbearable for him.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's all in the dark, a walk through the fire

I've been in a weird emotional place for the last week or so, and while I figured out pretty quickly what was causing it, I'm still not sure what to do about it.

It was a year ago, last November, last NaNoWriMo, that I wrote myself into the most explicit and painful episode of PTSD I've ever experienced.  It was all the talk about NaNoWriMo in my Twitter feed that made me realize why I was feeling what I was feeling.

One of the major ways my PTSD expresses itself is as a desire to be invisible, to be quiet and small and thus safe.  Something in either the act of writing or in what I was writing triggered nightmares for weeks of being exposed, of being under attack, of being unsafe.

So I stopped writing.  And not just for that month, but forever.  This past spring, I consciously removed all the trappings of writing from my life, removed all the mentions of being a writer from my Twitter bio, from my other, now-defunct, blog, from everywhere I could think of.  It was a choice, designed to see if I cared about writing enough to get help to get over my brain's reaction to a threat that didn't actually exist.

And I realized in that process that I really didn't care, that I didn't miss it, that I was fine without any sort of creative outlet.

And yet, here I am a year later, going through what can only be described as mourning for something I still don't think I'm missing.

I have no answers here, but am rather just thinking out loud.

What's really going on with me? And what the hell do I do about it?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sometimes the need is just too great for the solace we seek

I've been in Portland for a month today.  Almost exactly a month as I type this.

It's been a rollercoaster ride, emotions up, emotions down.  Energy up, energy down.  But in all of it, I keep coming back to the realization that I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life.  So no matter the challenges, no matter the pain, no matter the grief, I'm in a better place.  This was a good move.

Sometimes you get lucky, even if those looking in from the outside would say you're not lucky at all.

I got lucky. I am blessed.