Summer is supposed to be a time to re-set. Theoretically summer brings with it an opportunity to step back a bit and breathe. Kids are out of school, the air is warm, or in some cases just plain hot, everything takes on a different quality to it, at least that’s what people say, what some people experience.
Summers for the Newell’s are usually not that way. There is usually something big going on, or something frustrating or just plain annoying. That’s the case this year. As anyone reading my blog knows J was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive breast cancer. To say the months of June and July were hard is an understatement. It’s hard to get your feet back under you when you are hit very clearly with the fragility of life. As we move down the path that is Chemo and the side effects begin it gets harder and harder to pull out of the downward spiral. The nausea that everyone prepared us for didn’t happen, the main struggle at the outset was the fatigue, a few days later we had a night where we were up at 2 or 3 AM with bad back pain, but J chalked that up to something she ate, apparently she had to hit my leg pretty hard to get me to wake up, then there was no sleeping, the other seeming side effect is this persistent cough, and of course the one we were waiting for, the one we knew was coming, the hair falling out, started the day before an interview at a county school. That one was hard because Josie realized it was happening and well she was a mess, she seems to be on the verge of tears on a regular basis. Zoey remains clueless, not because we don’t want to tell her but every time we begin to broach the subject, or introduce the beginnings of the conversations she has no interest in continuing. She went to help Joyce pick out her hair prosthesis (wig) we were seeing the surgeon that day as well and there was still no question no interest even sitting in the waiting room at the breast center.
Each step of this horrific thing brings the reality of what’s happening into clearer focus. Having said that the response to Chemo is good, excellent in fact according to the surgeon. She is very pleased and somewhat surprised at how well the tumor is responding after one treatment. So why am I not comforted by all of this, why am I not seeing the other side, why am I still so worried, why does it still consume most of my thought process? I understand and know all the things I’m supposed to, even the things I have told others when I have tried encouraging them, I try and apply them to the situation but it just seems hollow.
In addition to the whole cancer thing we have the burglary/car theft/ arson thing going on. We have found out that our insurance claim can’t be processed until the arson unit releases the car, a process that we are told can take weeks or even months.
Personal stress is coupled with professional stress as well. J had a great interview and has been hired by a Tech Magnet school in Baltimore County. There is some maneuvering within Baltimore City Schools but hopefully nothing that will be too much of a problem.
The months of prayer and relationship building and outreach and work are finally bringing fruit. We have had three good attendance Sundays in a row, with offering from each of these days being up. New people keep coming and returning, things are finally working but there is so much more that must be done. One of the biggest needs that we have is to raise a substantial amount of money in the next few months to keep moving forward. This task naturally falls on my shoulders as the only full time employee of the church. We started a process but then all hell broke loose and much of the time that I was planning to devote to this portion of my job was sucked up in dealing with the whole cancer thing.
The bottom line is I’m just tired. So very tired of trying to juggle all the balls that keep getting thrown my way. Not complaining really just putting it out there. I have always looked at this blog as a place to be me and well right now me is a tired me.
Wednesday is treatment day. Those are the long day’s the hard ones that are full of waiting and watching and trying to figure it all out. Words fail at times, I struggle to make sure I notice things more, to pay attention to J and the girls. Last night it was all about how to help Zoey get her hair brushed out properly, the whole time my mind kept screaming that it didn’t want to know how to do this, not because I don’t want to brush Zoeys hair, but because if I am learning how to do that stuff, it means she may not be able to or around to do it. Funny how the mind can just go to that place, even when people are saying that things are looking good and they are pleased. It’s like sure that’s how it works for other people, but look at our Summer and well yeah. It’s not the same.
So to update J’s condition, just like I did 6 years ago.
1. Side effects are not as invasive or debilitating as they could be.
3. Hair is leaving.
4. Cough won’t go away.
5. Chemo Wednesday
Thanks for reading and praying.