Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Moe

Yesterday I went to the pet store and picked out some new fish. It was depressing over the last week to look at an empty tank and it is wonderful to see some new vibrant fish sharing my room with me. Meet Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Moe. (pictured below from left to right)

They behave differently than Horton. They are much more active and tend to chase each other. Unlike Horton, they love fish food and come to the surface every time I lift the cover. Last night I could not sleep, so I just sat up in bed and watched them. It was very relaxing. I will write more soon, but I wanted to introduce you to the new additions to the family.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Lesson on Life and Death

Many of you know that I used to have a golden retriever named Oscar that I loved a lot and that I miss often. What many of you don’t know is I have another pet, a Tetra Fish named Horton. I brought him home in November 2008 with a few other pals (Thing1 & Thing2), but he was the only one that remained after three months. He took the move to my parent’s house in stride. I found myself talking to him every day; saying good morning or good night, telling him about my day or just asking how he was. I know it might seem odd that I talked to a fish and could not understand me or even hear me, but he was my buddy. I knew things about him like what food he preferred and which live plants he liked in his aquarium to munch on.

Horton died today. I had him for over a year and half. When I woke up I looked over at his tank and saw him lying on the bottom and I immediately thought he was dead, but upon a closer look, I realized that he was still on the process of dying. He was on his side and his gills were moving. He was gasping for air. It was so painful to watch him knowing there was nothing I could do to save him or to ease his suffering. I knew too well that death has own time frame. I screamed an “Oh no, Not Horton” when I first saw him and then proceeded to sob for several minutes.

It may seem weird to you that I felt like I have a bond with Horton and probably think that my reaction to his death was a little much. You might be thinking to yourself, yeesh it was just a fish and maybe asking if fish can feel pain. I know the Horton was just a fish, a tiny being in the circle of life. But he was my fish, something I care for. Even as I write this, tears are in my eyes. I think there are many reasons for my emotions. Horton has been a constant in my life during a time that everything seems to always changing and often in crisis. He also depended on me to care for him. His death is just another example of the losses that we experience every day and for me another harsh reminder of life and death. It was hard to watch him die without thinking about my own death. Did he feel pain? Is that what it will be like for me as I am dying? Will I be lying on my bed gasping for breath?

My energy level is low these days and I try to keep it in reserves so I use it when I want to go out with friends. So I spend a lot more time in bed or lying on the couch. I try to fill my time up with books, tv, music, movies and crossword puzzles, but the more I feel bad, the more time I have to think. I have been thinking more lately about the process of dying and what that will be like for me. I don’t know when I will die. My time was supposed to be up over a year ago. I am very blessed to have been given the last year and love the gift of each day. It is hard though to not wonder about the future. I wonder why I have been given this extra time and I wonder when this time will end. I feel like I am living in a bit of limbo. It is impossible for me to plan things for the future. I have no idea how I will be physically in two weeks, two months. Do I dare hope for more time? I have been preparing for over a year for my death. Sometimes I think I am ready for this whole dying process to start already. Please don’t take me wrong, I do not want to die anytime soon, but wondering when it is going to happen and how it will happen is excruciating. Tonight I am sad. Sad for the loss of my pet and sad about how painful it is to think about my death. I think it is ok to be sad though and good that I allow myself to think and write a about this topic. It is an important one and we may not want to talk about it, it is always there in the back of my head.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Life goes on…..

….and sometimes it feels as though it is happening without me and I am left behind. I had dinner tonight with my ex-boyfriend and I found out that he and his wife are expecting a baby girl to be born in August.

As I lay here tonight I find myself very sad. It is not that I miss him or anything like that. We dated for five years and though we loved each other and genuinely enjoyed being together we knew we were not meant to spend of lives together and we ended it on good terms and have become friends. I am so happy that he found someone that he was meant to be with and I am very excited about their news.

I just feel as though his wife is living the life that I wanted, but not in a jealous way at all. Before cancer I dreamed about meeting someone that I would spend the rest of my life with. I am not sure if I ever wanted kids, but cancer took that decision away from me right along with the opportunity to be with someone for the rest of my life.

This week I went to a young adult support group and the topic was about sexuality and relationships in the context of the young adult cancer survivor. It was a good discussion, but I left with the understanding that a relationship and sex is not an option for me. We talked about when is the right time to disclose that you have or had cancer. There were some great suggestions, but I don’t feel like they apply to me. How do you tell someone that you are interested in that you have advanced incurable cancer that is spread throughout my body, that I have no job, can’t drive, and live with my parents and I have no idea how long I will live. Of course this conversation would happen after I met someone that can overlook how much weight I have gained due to having cancer and that I walk with a cane. I know that live in a dream world sometimes, but get real people; something this farfetched does not even happen in my dreams.

This is just another example of how much cancer has ripped from my life. Just another loss that I will work through.

I have been feeling like shit lately. May was a busy month and I think I overdid it. I am glad I went to camp and also to the church retreat, but with those trips on top of my sister and her family in town I now seem to be paying the consequences. I have not written a blog in a while. There are several reasons why, including my busy schedule over the last month, but in the beginning it was because I was sleeping pretty good and my usual writing time occurs when I can’t sleep. Unfortunately I can no longer give the same reason. I have not been sleeping well over the past two weeks, but I have felt so poorly that I did not have the energy to write. I mostly just laid in bed whimpering until exhaustion took over.

Last night I had another one of my coughing fits that seems to become more frequent of late. After coughing so much I was sure I had coughed up a lung, I stopped coughing long enough to vomit. After feeling physically spent I dragged myself back to bed and curled up into a fetal position and cried. Finally around 4am my body gave in and allowed me to sleep. When I awoke I at felt a little rested, but was just worn out. I took it easy until my doctor appointment this afternoon and when I got home all I wanted to do was curl back into the ball on my bed. However, I had plans to meet my ex-boyfriend and did not want to cancel on him two weeks in a row.

He commented that I looking like I was doing well and he was surprised by how much energy I had. What he does not know was that I was snoozing on the couch up until the moment he picked me up and immediately upon return home I took a nap. There is something that provides energy when I really want to do something. I call it being “on”. No matter how I am feeling, if I need to be “on” I somehow find the energy and am usually good for about two hours before I start to crash. I think part of the reason I am able to find energy to do something I really want is because I am so determine to live life on my own terms and to be able to enjoy my time with people. I do not spend too much time with my friends and when I do I want it to be good, so I push away how I feel and concentrate on enjoying it. This does not always work and when it does however I was feeling beforehand comes at me ten-fold, but it is usually worth it.

Now that I have been able to let out my feelings, I hope this horrific headache will go away and I can get some sleep.