Actually, it may take more than a few minutes, but then again, maybe not. It depends on how fast you read?? Heh heh.
My wife Sheri and I are approaching two years of dealing with cancer. Two years. Is that a long time? Don't know. If you're serving a lifetime jail sentence, I guess not. If you're in an unhappy relationship and aren't able, or worse, don't have the courage, to get out of it, two years probably seems like a loooong time, I would guess.
For the two of us, in this particular instance, two years has seemed like long enough. We have had enough highs and lows to fill eleventy-seven trips to Disney World. Or Disneyland. Or Disney Tokyo. Or Disney Paris, for that matter. The point is...There have been a tremendous number of ups and downs.
Initially, everything was huge. I had cancer. I had multiple myeloma. I had chromosome deletion 17p. One thing after another bonking us on the head and in the heart. We did okay, though. Better than okay, I would say. We kept going, returning to the front of the line for the next trip, be it up or down. Even if it meant saying, “Excuse us. We were here first.” We got on the ride and went where we would.
In some ways, and bear with me on this one, those were sort of the good old days. Trust me. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but, I think, only because you aren't us. Maybe I should say, maybe because you aren't me, in this case. I haven't discussed it with Sheri. I can hear her in the kitchen now, making something healthy to eat, which in itself leaves me a bit torn. I know it will be delicious, as well as healthy, but I haven't enjoyed food for months. That is one the downs we've dealt with.
Anyway, the good old days... The news was terrible and consistently so. Each punch left us reeling and clinging to each other like... like, say, those tag team wrestlers who are all jacked up from being bounced about by the other two wrasslin' guys; but neither one is all that anxious to resume being tossed about like so much flotsam and/or jetsam.
We were tough, though, we could take it. And we did.
But now... I feel sick and/or tired almost all the time. Anything big? Not really. Not like finding out about the cancer, for sure. But, rather, an omnipresent nausea. I feel like I could easily throw up (or should I say vomit? Is vomit classier? Is there, in fact, any classy way to talk about... you know?) at various times through each day. I have these waves of hot and cold flashes that leave me, as good girls would say in the antebellum South, “positively moist” and wanting to wave a fan to cool myself.
The stomach pains that began so long ago remain. Still unnamed, but still responsible for considerable pain and discomfort.
The ribs I hurt when I was attacked by bees almost two years ago still hurt. As do the ones I damaged falling on ice in the winter and on our lawn this summer.
The collarbone I broke just prior to my stem cell transplant has still not truly healed. At least, not as far as I can tell. There is a numb, constant pain there that sometimes is replaced by a horrific jolt when I turn on my side just so and it feels like the two parts have tried to join together and just missed, causing a jagged bone into skin feeling. Sorry if that seems graphic. But, maybe it gives some credence to why I might be sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Let's see. What else? Well, there's an emotional aspect to this roller coast existence. Sometimes I feel good just because I stop feeling bad. Sometimes I just feel good. Other times I swoop down to a new low. And this affects Sheri too. She can see all of this and is very sensitive to it. She does what she needs to do to take care of herself, but as I've said before, it isn't easy watching someone you care about in pain, physical or mental.
Um... Um... Did I mention my bones hurt? All the time? Well, if I didn't, they do. They hurt to touch and I really suffer anxiety around someone bumping into me or punching me- anywhere- in some sort of attaboy gesture bound to go horribly awry.
So, maybe you can see what I mean. I should be feeling better, except my doctors say I feel exactly as I must. They don't really have a lot to say about any of these things, other than, “I'm sorry your ribs hurt. I'm sorry your bones hurt...” You get the drift, right?
But you know what? I think of my friend Cindy who died from complications resulting from her stem cell transplant, and of Dolly who succumbed to multiple myeloma after fighting it for some five years, and understand how much they loved their families to keep going. I don't think they struggled on so they could feel the way they felt for yet another day. God bless them and God bless all of you who have prayed for me, Sheri and my family. I can't imagine how sick and tired I would feel without your efforts.
There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere.”