Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Lightning Thief, Part II

Percy Jackson and I had a date today. It was a spontaneous plan. No particular destination in mind, but the quietness of my bedroom was ideal. I did not have anything picked out to wear, but pajamas were more than appropriate. Who is Percy Jackson? He is the lead character of The Lightning Thief. Steve need not be jealous...my interest in Percy is solely based on relating to my ten-year-old son. Besides, Percy is a middle school misfit otherwise know as a Half-Blood (his mother was mortal, his father a god). His life is way too exciting for me! Our date has been successful thus far - I have read more than 100 pages today. More than I have read in one sitting in a very long time.

The downside....I am supposed to be working. I worked yesterday. Had I "listened to my body" and not been so determined (stubborn is another word for it) to work, I might have realized that I should have stayed home. Finally collapsing from exhaustion into a fitful sleep last night, I felt feverish all night long. Because I confirmed a low-grade fever this morning at an hour where fevers tend to wane, I estimated that my fever was likely higher last night*. As I have learned, consistent low-grade fever is an indicator of a dangerously low white blood count. Right then and there, like Percy, I knew it was time to raise my shield and protect myself from the monsters of the world, or in my case, germs.

Hence, my date with Percy Jackson and learning of the exciting world of the demi-gods.

It is hard to explain the guilt I feel about not going to work today. My best guess is the that the immense guilt I feel for contracting cancer and putting everyone that I love through all that they are going through, intensifies the guilt I feel daily over the little things.

I was once told that I have an "avoidance complex". At the time, this was referring to work projects, but I see it clearly now relating to my having breast cancer. I avoid everything about my having cancer as much as possible. The happier I seem, the less I have to admit that I have a stereotypically "deadly" disease. Plus, there are many who expect nothing less than a positive attitude from me and also a few that I only show the positive as my way of protecting them from my new daily grind. It is kind of a double-edged sword. I am not sure if this "mind over matter" attitude is working for me, but as I generally loathe complainers, why would I want to become one?

Still, I feel immense guilt when my Superwoman cape is no where to be found. In yesterday's case, I was completely exhausted after going through the motions to get myself ready for work and driving myself there. After two hours, I had nothing but blank stares and garbled words to offer my colleagues. Should I feel guilty for attempting to go in (putting myself at risk) or should I feel strong because my positive attitude prevailed? And how do I offer consistency to those who depend on me when all I seem to do is consistently misjudge my own capabilities? I have been told to take it day by day. At this point, this seems like a miscalculated attempt to provide comfort where there is none.

So, to feed my avoidance complex, my plan for the rest of the afternoon is to spend more quality time with Percy Jackson. I can imagine Harrison's face when he gets home and learns that I have finished the book. Making him (Steve or Maddie) happy is something I will never feel guilty about.

*It is recommended that chemotherapy patients who have a fever of 99.5-degrees and above, immediately go to the emergency room.

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