Am I really “still me”?

Lost is a place, right?

Are you there, too?

Hi, everyone! Welcome to “Lost”! It’s the new and improved place we used to call “Here”.

We don’t call it ‘Here” anymore because we’ve moved away from “Here”. “Here” is a place from afar. A place removed from what is relevant and current.

Destination: Unknown

I’m at home in “Lost”. And that’s sad.

Sad, but true.

“Lost” is both familiar and painful.

“Lost” is not that far away from “The Past” and just around the corner from “Hindsight”. It is 20/20, no?

And “Lost” is just before you get to “Far, Far Away”.

“Lost” is both confusing and exciting at the same time.

It is unknown and to some, might seem tragic.

To me, however, it’s not tragic.

It’s home.

I’m ready.

Ready to get to know my way around “Lost”. It seems that I may be here a while and I might as well get my bearings in this place.

Most of the people that live here are pretty nice. My neighbors keep to themselves, but smile and wave, if waved to.

And I do wave.

Every damn day.

The sights in this town are pretty nice, too. Old homes with character surrounded by new growth and change.

“Lost” has pretty great schools, too. With teachers that seem to actually care. Teachers that take the time to know their students by name and learning style.

The students seem to reciprocate with a sense of simple splendor. With a joy of learning! They converse in small groups out on the patio, while teachers smile their knowing smiles.

“Lost” even has a big chain Super Store!

Hooray, for “Lost”!

One day, we’ll catch up to the big city, but as of now, we’re pretty proud of our Super Store, thank you very much.

“Lost” is an easy commute to the finest jobs around. And, as luck may have it, my job, too. I love my drive to work from”Lost”. It’s a quiet and serene time that I can hear myself think. No one needs to be tended to and everyone can hear me.

I’ve found a nice niche in my little part of “Lost”. Albeit small, it’s mine.

I will miss “The Past”, but I’m not there anymore.

Now is the time to revel in the here and now and appreciate this thing we call life.

Do you appreciate life? Or do you, like I, take just about every minute for granted?

Geez, guys!

Let’s start the new year with a pact, OK?

Let’s be happy and content.

Whether we live in “Lost”, “Far, Far Away”, “Here”, “Now” or “In the Moment”.

Let us appreciate and savor every hour we get.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every second.

Why?

Because before long we’ll be living in “Gone, but Not Forgotten” and I for one, want to put the final move off for as long as possible.

So, I will live in “Lost”.

I will love in “Lost”.

 I will be in “Lost”.

And for once, I’ll finally just be “me”…

Everything stays the same…

Everything stays the same.

Time is passing.

Leaves are falling.

Costumed children have tricked their treat and turkeys are starting to get scared.

Yet, everything stays the same.

Chris has had two, two month check up’s since I last wrote. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t know what to say.

Everything stays the same.

His doctors are happy and we’re excited! His tumor isn’t growing.

Yes, Chuck is still hanging out in his brain. but he’s not growing.

Every single time we hear this it gets more and more hopeful.

An “all clear” at the two moth appointment means more time.

Chris, however, is struggling.

You know those steps of the grieving process? There are five and he’s knocking back and forth between steps two and four.

Anger and depression.

One day he’s happy and I see a glimpse of the man I used to know.

One day, he’s so angry that I can’t get a word in edgewise because he’s so damn mad at me he can’t see straight.

And then there are the days that hurt the most. The days that I watch that strong, amazing man crumple at the feet of cancer.

He doesn’t move.

He doesn’t talk.

He doesn’t…

I long for the “good” days.

The days that he laughs and sings in that horrible baritone that I love.

The days that the kids can joke with him and he laughs back.

But, more often than not, he has an anger or depressive day.

Now, I’m not saying he’s ALWAYS like this. I’m just saying that it’s hard to have a good day when you’re trapped in a three way cycle of happy, mad and depression.

He’s still Chris.

With his hat on, you might not know that he has brain cancer. He still looks the same. Handsome as ever!

The only things you might notice is his aphasia.

He talks with effort.

To someone who didn’t know, it’d be like talking to someone who’s distracted. Like talking to someone who isn’t really listening.

Except, it’s the exact opposite of distraction.

It’s extreme concentration.

Words are difficult and following an entire conversation takes as much concentration as he can muster.

Which is a lot!

You might not know he has cancer.

But, you do.

Other than the cycle of grief, everything is ok.

Everything stays the same.

The kids are starting back to public school and I couldn’t be happier!

Not that I didn’t enjoy homeschool, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m good at a lot of things. Great at some. But, homeschooling wasn’t my forte and I’m ok admitting that.

So, today Doodle two started at the elementary school near our new house and Doodle one starts Monday in middle.

Ugh!

Where has the time gone?!

I’m sure they’ll love being around more kids their own age and I’ll enjoy being with Chris ALONE on my days off.

What’s that like?

I forgot.

We moved to a new town and although it’s only a county away, I’m tee totally lost!

I’ll find my way.

Right now, I know where the schools are and the gas station.

It’s weird to be in a new town.

A fresh start.

Will we meet new friends?

Will we enjoy and become comfortable here?

I hope so! I certainly do.

That’s that!

Chris’s two month appointment went so well. Although, his brain is still swollen, it has gone down exponentially in the last few months.

Although weak, he has the ability to get stronger.

His will to fight is still there.

And, although dealing with the tremendous burden of grief, he is doing well.

The kids are starting school and they are nervously excited! They don’t seem as scared as they were before and my heart is happy to finally see them enjoy education again.

We are ok. We are together and enjoying what it feels like to be a normal family. We are happy with the notion that we get more time. We are starting to remember what it felt like before cancer entered our lives.

But, it did.

Everything stays the same.

One Week Later: A day in the life of a CANCER patient

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A day in the life of a cancer patient is just like the day of any person really. All except for that one thought in the back of their mind. “Is today the day that I become the past?”

We all do it. We wake up. Go about our days and never once think about the day that someone will refer to you in the past tense. “So and so WAS so nice. So and so WAS a good friend.” It never occurs to us to think that way. We haven’t been told that something foreign is invading our bodies or our brains. We go on about our day and are blissfully unaware of our own mortality.

Why do we do this? Because it’s easier. Because no one wants to talk about the end. Hell, we barely want to talk about the future. Much less, the end.

But to a cancer patient, the future is the end and now is all you have.

6:00 AM

Wake up. I hurt. I hurt bad. “What hurts?” Everything.

6:15 AM

So many pills. Do I need this many pills? “Yes, honey. Just take them two at a time”

6:45 AM

I’m starting to feel less pain. Is that right or am I still in a fog from sleep?

7:00 Am

OK. Pain is controlled. Not gone. Controlled.

7:30 AM

More pills? “Yes, honey. They are your steroids, remember?”

8:00 AM

I’ll drink this coffee and think about what to do with all of the junk under the carport “Honey, time for your medicine.”

8:45 AM

Should I blow off the driveway? I should blow off the driveway.

9:00 AM

I’m going to blow off the driveway

9:30 AM

Blow off the driveway

10:00 Am

Driveway looks great! “Honey, time for your medicine.”

10:30 AM

I’m going to get this junk out from under this carport!

11:00 AM

Damn, my carport looks nice!

11:30 Am

Come look at the work I’ve done! “Honey, you’ve done too much, again and it’s time for your medicine.”

12:00 PM

“Medicine, love!”

1:00 PM

What a nice conversation I just had on the phone! My speech is getting a little better…at least I think that it is?

2:00 PM

“Do you need medicine right now, love? One or two? Whichever you need.”

2:30 PM

 “I wish you’d take a nap!” I wish she’d just leave me alone. I’ll sleep when I damn well snnoorreeeeeeee……….

3:30 PM

“Here comes the steroid train! Choo Choo!” Oh my God she’s a dork, but you gotta love her.

4:30 PM

“You need to eat something.” I’m not hungry.

5:15 PM

I’m so hungry. What’s for dinner?!

6:00 PM

“It’s pain medicine time, love. Do you need any?” Just one this time. Just one.

7:00 PM

“Time to clean your staples. They look so good!!” How can staples look good?

7:30 PM

“Time for my muscle man to take his steroids!!” Wow. The woman will do anything to try and make me laugh.

8:00 PM

I think I’ll watch TV

8:30 PM

There’s nothing on TV

9:00 PM

Yes! Harry Potter on ABC Family! Score!

10:00 PM

“Anti seizure medicine and pain meds if you need them” Just Anti seizure for now, thank you

10:00 PM

Sleepy Time

12:00 AM

whisper “honey, it’s time for your medicine. here’s your water. i love you.” Ok, ugh.

2:00 AM

whisper “honey, it’s time for your medicine. here’s your water. i love you.” Ok, ugh.

3:30 AM

whisper “honey, it’s time for your medicine. here’s your water. i love you.” Ok, ugh.

6:00 AM

Wake up. I hurt. “Where do you hurt, love?” Every damn where.

What will you do today? What will your choices be? Will you choose to stay complacent or will you look outside yourself and reach? Reach for that one thing that’s been in the back of your mind for years? Step outside your comfort zone and break the mold? I think you should. I know you should.

Because one day, all of our names will be used in the past tense.