Monday, January 11, 2010

Chemotherapy - Session 3: Presession Jitters

Today, Steve and I head off for my third chemotherapy session. I write this morning because I am having a hard time expressing my anticipation of my next four rounds of chemo. Specifically, considering these rounds have cumulative side affects and fatigue. Because I know this, I am as nervous as my first round when I knew nothing.

Round one, I managed my symptoms well. I like to think I got some techniques down. Round two, I managed my symptoms well too, and I think I nailed down a few more techniques for managing chemo's side affects. This past week, I felt the best I have felt in two months. With both of these sessions, I had traumatic events which counterbalanced how well I seemed to be doing - my hair loss and Christmas events. My previous blog entries thoroughly explained these I will not go into them here. However, as I head into chemo session number three, I have to wonder, when is the other shoe going to drop?

Growing up with epilepsy I have learned to remain positive and above all else do not use my medical problems as excuses for living a normal life. I think this why it is hard for me to consider that living with cancer may just be a good enough excuse to accept help when offered and even more so, to reach out and ask for help for what seem to be simple chores.

I gave my brother a poster years and years ago of a beautiful silhouette of an elephant with the phrase under it "Seeking Solitude." I have to say that I think of that poster often these days. For this is the other caveat to asking and receiving help from others. I really like to be alone with myself sometimes. I often gather strength this way. So, I am consistently torn with wanting space yet asking for help that may bring people into my space.

Please do not misunderstand, if I have arranged for someone to come over and help me, I am extremely grateful and have come to peace (sorry if this sounds overly dramatic) with not being alone for that period of time. However, back to my not using medical issues as an excuse, thoughts also cross my mind like: "I should be able to do the dishes, cook, do laundry, vacuum, take care of my dog, etc. Those are simple chores. Is it obnoxious to let someone else do it?"

What I keep coming back to is how I feel in that moment of that day. Maybe this is my time to just sit and have an excuse. Maybe not. The fact is though, that with Steve going back to work, we are going to need the help. We just need to figure out how/when/what. And I need to get over myself a little, too.

We are blessed by our community responding to needs that sometimes we do not even realize that we have. I am lucky that as I head into chemo today, I have confidence that my family's needs will be met - normalcy will exist in my household. I just wish I could predict how much I will be able to provide.


  1. One day at a time!!! One day you'll need help, the next you won't...Take it as it comes and realize people WANT you to ask them for help! Watching a dear friend, a wonderful person, struggling is such a helpless feeling. If we can help in any way ease that struggle, we will, we WANT to! So ask! Eventually you'll be helping someone in the same boat- it's reality, someone else you know will go through something similar and you'll want to do something, anything, for them! And a year from now, like I've said before, you'll be sitting around feeling well and great and be thinking- while staring at that Christmas pile of stuff that's such a pain to deal with- "I should've taken more advantage of those friends!" =)

  2. I have to agree with everything up there ^^. I was thinking the exact same thing. Some days you need a little help and somedays you don't. Just like everyone our needs change on a daily basis. Asking for (and accepting) help are extremely difficult, there is no doubt about it. But like Carrie said, people want to help. We want to feel like we can somehow ease what you are going through. For some people a kind word is their gift to you. For others, it's taking out your garbage, for others it's entertaining the kids so you can have a moment of peace and for others it's cooking, cleaning and picking up dog poop! We all have gifts and talents that we want to offer to you with no expectations and no strings attached! Please accept them and stay strong!!

  3. Marsi:
    As I read your blog, and all the wonderful comments posted in reply, I know that you are blessed with a great group of friends and community. All are wanting to help you however they can, and so am I. I realize we've been more colleagues than friends, but please remember that I'm available to help with anything, any time.
    Susan L.

  4. Marsi and Steve,
    I wanted to lt you know how touched I was by Steve's heartfelt blog! I also wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and to please let me know what I can do to help support your family through this. You are strong and amazing! Know that the love of family and friends is incredibly healing!

    Thinking about you,
    Michelle Feller