10.09 a.m. Chemo day today. Approaching it as just one of the things we do in our life now. No big deal.
Hoping we don’t get knocked off our calm horse. Going to try, with all our might, not to.
2.23 p.m. The chemo starts going in.
I show cliff this photo and he likes it. Says the chemo looks like it’s glowing. Hoping it has magical powers.
4.00 p.m. Cliff and Jessica navigate and contemplate the landscape from his hospital room window.
We’re trying to see if we can locate Jessica’s house and our house. I suggest that next time the children go into our front yard with 50 red balloons and release them into the air while we are looking out the window. Cliff says, ‘Or just put the balloons on a really long string.’
5.00 p.m. Teetah and her lovely quilt lady friends made a Prayer Quilt for Cliff. It brightens up his hospital bed like you wouldn’t believe. Every time a new nurse walks in, he or she says, “Wow! What an amazing quilt.’
A quilt needs the front and the back to be ‘tied’ together. Nowadays, people often just use a sewing machine to stitch them together. But Teetah and her quilting friends put a stitch through the quilt with thread but don’t tie a knot, they leave it loose. That’s where the “prayer” bit comes in. Prayer quilts are for people who are sick or need prayers. So family and friends can say a prayer while they are tying a knot in the quilt strings. That way, all the knots holding the quilt together represent a prayer that has been said for them. Lying under a blanket that is covered in prayers for you can’t be bad.
8.30 p.m. Monique was heading back down to Orkley Island. I packed a few snacks for her trip, as you do, but I couldn’t find any little baggies in the patient pantry, so I grabbed a (new and clean) glove out of a box on the way back to the room. I handed it to her full of cheese, crackers and cookies. She laughed to find a glove full of snacks. ‘Something for the road,’ I said. She looked down at it and said, ‘It’s my handbag.’ Hilarious! We all had a hearty belly laugh.
Free handbag dispenser
As the chemo was going in and we were sitting, talking quietly in the hospital room we heard a little voice outside our room yell, ‘COCK!’ That was odd.
We giggled a bit but kept talking.
Two or three minutes later another loud, ‘COCK!’
I went out to make Cliff some Milo (kind of a hot chocolaty drink) in the patients’ pantry and saw the source of the cock call.
This little two-year-old boy was running laps of the ward’s circular hallway, burning off some energy. Every time he came past our room, where a clock hung from the ceiling, he would yell, ‘Cock! Cock! Mommy! Cock!’
11.37 p.m. Wow. This is bizarre. For the past two days I have been able to deftly jump, in my head, from, ‘Yes, I know he has mesothelioma and the doctors say he is going to die in six months’ to ‘We are so totally going to beat this thing. Be positive, don’t worry. If chemo doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean we give up hope. It just means chemo isn’t the answer for this particular disease and we are going to go out there and find the thing that does.’ That’s a new skill.
Sort of seems strange. Like the first time I did a cartwheel and end up standing on two feet. Feels good and I feel proud. A lot better than the ground coming up to slam me in the face like every other time before.
In the past three weeks it has taken me, on average, five days at a time to be able to shift from one kind of thinking to the next. It reduced to three days and then two days and now, it seems, I can do it within moments. Though, I confess, if I’m truthful, I may not have been allowing myself to fully enter into the abyss each time. So, when I say I can jump back and forth between the two, it’s probably more of standing, fully, in the positive thinking side (nearly denial) and just tapping my toes on the hot coals of the prognosis side of the situation.
Maybe I can do it fully.
I don’t know for sure.
When we’ve got some peace and quiet over the next two days and I’m feeling strong and have an ‘out’ plan (like coffee with a friend or something) in case I get stuck in the abyss, I might try it and see if I really do have this new skill or if I’m just kidding myself.
I can live with that. For now. Not bad after having just had our second day of chemo.