After not posting here for quite some time, I had a very flattering comment from a reader to say my voice was missed, and that people worry when too long a time goes by between posts. I hadn’t thought of that. I follow some other people who are journaling about their experiences with cancer, and know I’ve been concerned when I don’t see an update from someone who posts regularly. But for some reason it didn’t occur to me that any of my readers would be worried.
So thanks for commenting to let me know.
In February I posted about the need for patient navigators, to help terminally ill people who are overwhelmed by this disease itself and do not have the resources and energy to deal with the bureaucracies of health care and insurance. My friend was farther along in his disease than we wanted to acknowledge. He went into the hospital in March, we thought for a few days to resolve some side effects of a chemotherapy medication. One day a perky doctor that we hadn’t seen before even told us we could take him home that day. We said we needed some preparation and information about home health care and were even told that a physical therapist (whom we knew nothing about) said the patient didn’t need any home care assistance. We were astounded, since he needed help for all basic needs and hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything. So that discharge was postponed, ostensibly to give the hospital time to get the home care arranged.
So one day we were told to make him eat and drink so he could go home, and the next we were told if he didn’t want to eat or drink, not to force him. It was completely baffling and we had no idea what to expect. That, combined with our denial, didn’t prepare us for what was next – we were still preparing to take him home. Then we were prepared to take him to hospice.
We lost him on April 4.
I have been thinking about the post that I wrote about my resistence to using the metaphors of war for this disease of cancer. I was open to the possibility that I was wrong. After watching what my friend went through, the first post I wanted to write when I was able to come back to this journal was to say, “I was wrong. It is a war.”
I have not been able to articulate more of that yet. I have not been able to say much of anything. Our grief is overwhelming.
During this time, I was supposed to be helping start a local support group for cancer survivors, to finish a small directory of resources available for cancer patients and survivors in our little town, and to participate in a training to volunteer to help other breast cancer patients, and setting up an information resource center in our local hospital. All I wanted to do at that time was to not hear any more about cancer. Not to think about it for a while. What a luxury and privilege that would be. And I use “privilege” in the most pejorative sense.
We’re not able to have that luxury. We have to just keep on – taking care of ourselves and hoping that we can spare other family and friends more of this grief. Taking care of others that we love. Taking care of people we don’t know. Raising money for a cure for strangers. Finding information about prevention and good health for our children and grandchildren. Carrying the memories of those who didn’t want to go but are no longer here.
I don’t know what else to say right now. I will be back. Thanks for caring. I love all of you who care enough to read this.