I believe what I would remember most about this summer (and the quickly approaching end of it) was 1.) Trying to come to terms with the demands of my own health, and 2.) A fierce nesting phase as I tried to both prepare to launch my new graphic design business and transform our house into a rather lovely home. Before Dan was diagnosed last year, I was so busy working full-time managing the shop in McMinnville and operating my LuLaRoe business, our house was pretty empty and neglected, save a lot of toys. I also spent little time focusing on my health other than occasional diets and taking meds without stopping to consider whether or not they were actually working. Fast forward to Dan’s diagnosis and my wild emotional free-fall. Along came summertime with long, bright, hot days and I went into overtime finding a new passion to earn income and decorating our house. I channeled my emotional struggle into countless hours obsessing over everything from ergonomic desks, paint chips, baskets, and wall decor to business cards, napkins, pencils, filing systems, and patio furniture. If you follow me on Pinterest, you can easily tell by my large collections on boards like Organizational Tips & Products and Crafts Ideas/DIY, that I had more than enough ideas to wrestle into reality. So that was what I was doing all summer–with, I might add, the most abundant sense of urgency. Did someone set a countdown for the anniversary of Dan’s diagnosis as the day that everyone will arrive at our home and knock on the door to visit and have a drink over some graphic design consulting!?! That is how it feels. By the time I had converted our guest bedroom into my office/studio space, Dan requested a ban on any online purchasing due to the buildup–a kingdom, really–of cardboard boxes. (Raine, however, thought it was very fun!)
I have done my absolute best to stay sane while processing Dan’s diagnosis, taking care of Raine, and changing my medications. My doctor and I are tweaking them endlessly to find the *right* combination. I must say, I have to remain optimistic that we will find *it* or I will absolutely go mad with hopelessness. At present, I am trying an anti-depressant/thyroid/bipolar combination with supplements on the side and nutritional changes that compliment my exercise. My chief complaint currently is the bipolar med makes me STARVING–GIVE ME THE PIE ALREADY! ALL THE PIE! I have gained 20 pounds since Dan’s diagnosis, when I had dropped to a mere 105 (awfully wispy!) For a woman with a history of an eating disorder, that is a tricky situation but I have taken it in stride and tried to focus more on my overall wellness than my pant sizes changing. However the last five pounds that were tacked on in about 1 week due to the medication feel like an insult. Gaining weight while working on depression and anxiety is a bit of an insult BUT WAIT, WHERE IS THE PIE ALREADY?
What was I saying?
I took my first escape in July. I flew to Denver where I visited Hattie, then Allyson in Boulder, then Sarah in Castle Rock. For six days I was alone–without anyone “needing” me. I even lost my phone the first day at the Denver airport and found myself literally unplugged for the first three days of my trip. I wish I could tell you that Colorado was an oasis of wonderful relaxation and soothed my soul but it wasn’t. My depression and anxiety go with me wherever I go. And being removed from my daily routine as well as Dan and Raine, well, I was a bit manic and binged on my drinking and shopping repeatedly. Oh readers, are you still with me? I don’t mean to sound obnoxious but I’m trying to be honest! I wasn’t in very good shape during that trip. Because I haven’t been in very good shape period. I’ve become increasingly desperate as Dan’s situation has quieted and broke into a base line of sorts. Scans are coming back good and stable. We know we have multiple medications to use for ALK yet ahead, which is reassuring. Our life isn’t getting interrupted by ER visits and blood transfusions. In a bizarre lung cancer IV world, this is chill. But while it is chill, I am unraveling.
Of course, there to do his JOB is Dan. He is my partner, my best friend, my lover. He is my husband and his job is to help me as I unravel. He is trying so hard to not worry, worry, worry about ME as much as I worry, worry, worry about him. So we are both two worriers stuck in worrytown. The only secret I can whisper to you is…Choose to laugh. Find the things that are funny. Find the words that will make your partner smile. Find what you can… And go to therapy. Haha! Seriously. The best couples I know are in therapy, both individually and together. AND they are in healthy, happy marriages/partnerships. The luckiest thing we found this year was the woman who sits with me once (sometimes twice) a week and once a month with Dan. For FREE. She is doing it to help us because she cares and understands that our situation wreaks financial havoc. She listens to me, challenges me, gently supports me, and offers the same to Dan even though he has very little to say. (He is a very zen, well adjusted gentleman. I hope Raine has inherited his psychological disposition!)
Speaking of Raine, he has had a great summer. He completed his first session of swim lessons, planned his 4th birthday party–which was a great success, and logged many hours playing outside at parks and home with his water slide toy and kiddie pool. He is certainly looking more and more like a little boy and less a toddler. True to his given history, he had one accident for the summer–on the 4th of July, when he fell off of the top of a car. Luckily, nothing was broken (except maybe daddy’s pride, because he was watching him at the time!) Raine saw his urologist at Doernbecher’s and completed his 4 year check-up, which required some bloodwork and he did such a good job sitting for it; we were so proud. These days he is in love with his books, stories, and buddies at bedtime, playing superheroes, anything Frozen or Paw Patrol related, and, still, watching YouTube videos of other children playing with toys. Of course, he is the ultimate source of optimism in my life.