After the first chemotherapy treatment my partner had for ovarian cancer, the rest of the sessions were oddly comforting, rather than scary. We knew what to expect. The nurses, particularly ours, were very good at what they do and very kind while they were doing it, from poking holes to explaining exactly what was happening and would happen. The drugs were actively fighting the cancer. We were fighting the cancer.
I just went to my first support group meeting for caregivers of cancer patients. I was a nervous wreck. One by one, we drifted into the hospital meeting room, and made small talk to relieve some of the discomfort of being strangers. We negotiated seats at the table: not too close, not too far. I took the corner position closest to the door, for easy escape. I noticed that there was a full-length keyboard tray under the table surface–aha: a computer table–and stopped myself from pulling it out. That would make me the center of attention, not keep me invisible. I wanted to observe, not participate.
The facilitator sent around name tags. Someone said, “let’s label ourselves,” and my mind was off to the races with a feminist theory-inspired critique. The analytical side of my brain is a great protector against emotion–during and since the meeting, it has been ruminating insistently. Continue reading Giving / caring for: caregiver?→
Does anyone know how it feels? Absolutely. Many people are in the position I’m in. Logically, I know am not alone in my experience, but, sometimes, I feel terribly alone.
My partner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this past March. The cancer cells must have been festering, but for our family, her illness began with a cold and then a persistent cough. From the 10,000 foot view, the whirlwind was three long weeks: repeatedly take fluid out of her lungs; she has lung cancer; no, she has stage 4 ovarian cancer; unzip her belly and remove all her “girly parts.” Bam.
From one perspective, the gale force winds have stopped. She’s not in the hospital. The news doesn’t change every day. We no longer live one day at a time, never knowing what will come tomorrow. From another perspective, the winds continue to blow, this way and that. While the news doesn’t change every day, we should live one day at a time, because we don’t know what will come tomorrow.