It was nice to change the outside scenery for a few days. Taking care of the practical needs of everyone while out of my usual environment helped to distract me from time to time from the "big C" refrain that is on an endless loop in my head. But it definitely pushed its way to the forefront many times. I tried to focus more on making sure everyone had a good time and did thing that they wanted to do. Isabelle had heard about glass bottom boats, so she and I did that on our last day. Olivier was pretty flexible with stuff and seemed to have a good time. Jean-Marc absolutely loved the swimming pool-he definitely is a water baby. The first time I took him in, he was giddy! It was really cute. We got many adorable pictures of him hamming it up for the camera.
But cancer was never far away from me. I don't think Eric noticed it until he downloaded some of his pictures that he had taken the first day. When he saw this one, he realized my mental state. We were on the boat on Tuesday morning, pulling away from Long Beach harbor. The picture does a good job of summing up how I am most of the time. I'm physically present, but not "present." I wish I could be fully engaged mentally in what is going on around me...especially when it is good.
Maybe I'm more sensitive to cancer related things. But I kept hearing snippets of the conversations of passers by that brought me back to it as well. For instance, walking on the pier, a man was on his cell phone and his end of the conversation that I couldn't help but hear went something like, "...they think they got all the cancer out in the surgery...." Every tourist shop I walked by I peered in looking at their collection of hats. I'd like to get a light brown/beige hat to wear once I lose my hair, but not one made of straw. Gosh, even a sand sculpture Isabelle made with her hands looked like breasts to me! Is that nuts or what?
On Wednesday afternoon while I was at the pool with the kids, Kaiser left a message on my cell phone. I called them back to find it was the "surgical outreach" department. Unfortunately, by the time I got the message, they were closed. I called at 9 a.m. on Thursday and left my own message. When they called back, it was just a medical history pre-op interview. Sigh. My medical history up until now is pretty boring. No other medical conditions. No disease. No medical devices. No medication. The only interesting part of the conversation was when she asked if there had been any changes in my weight over the last 6 months. Bingo! I told her I had lost 50 pounds. She asked me if I was going to write a book about how I did it. I told her that Jillian Michaels already had. After I hung up with her, I called the surgical scheduling department to see if my surgery date could be moved up. The answer was NO. That bummed me out for a couple of hours. I felt better after lunch, but my mood seemed to latch onto Eric, who was out of sorts for the rest of the day. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was realizing how much 2 1/2 days restaurant meals was costing.
I went out for a run early on our last day. The hotel had a "gym," which was a small room with some old equipment. Why run on a broken down treadmill when I could run around the island? I ran up to the Wrigley Memorial, which is on a slight incline. I ran back down. I ran through the small town of Avalon, past the boat terminal on Pebbly Beach road as far as they would allow pedestrians. It took about an hour. It felt great, but my old shoes need replacing, so my knee started hurting. The run was nice, but pointed out this disconnect I have--here I am, able to RUN for an hour. To the people I run by, I don't look sick. But here I am, with cancer cells dividing inside me, trying to kill me. I'm glad I went for my run. I want to feed that "strong" side of me for as long as I can.
I hope I don't sound too morbid or self-pitying. I really did have a good time and I'm glad we went. As my last post showed, God is ministering to me to help me get through this. The trip gave the Eric and the kids a sense of having had a vacation, and I'm 3 days closer to surgery.
My prayer requests:
- I continue to have trouble with sleep. I get to sleep okay, but if I am roused in the night for whatever reason, I have had trouble going back to sleep.
- That this cancer does not get any bigger. My cancer is estrogen driven. This week has been a pre-menstrual week for me. I've been paranoid that my cycle is making these tumors grow like in time-lapse photography. I won't know what "stage" or how big it is until after surgery. Not knowing this is kind of eating at me as well. I really don't want to be at stage 3, but I'm afraid that I may very well be.
- I know the surgery date is in God's hands, like everything else. But each day of waiting is torture. I pray for an earlier date-every day makes a difference. Waiting for certain pain is hard. I'd rather just jump into it and get it over with.