The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feeling Slightly Better.... Sometimes.

The world is not ending every minute now.

It is ending ever *other* minute, which is a 50% rate of improvement, which I think I should be optimistic about.

Really, I've just been going up and down. And down and down. And then slightly up. I'm terrified about starting school on Wednesday. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to distract myself with other things. I guess it's a good thing, because me worrying and freaking out all the time isn't going to help anyone, but I'm still worried (ha) that if I try to ignore things I'll just have a nervous breakdown someday. So I don't know. I guess I have to get through this semester regardless, so whatever.

Mostly I feel like I'll just never be happy again. Not *truly* happy. I may laugh again; in fact, I notice now when I laugh, because it surprises me so much, and I can remember every time I've laughed in the last week. So I will laugh. But I don't think I'll ever truly be happy again. I will never again be carefree, though if I were honest with myself I would know that I haven't been "carefree" in years, mostly over stupid crap that clearly doesn't matter now.

A diagnosis like this is one of those things that splits your life; it demarcates time for you in such a cruelly precise way. There is the time before the diagnosis, when things were comparatively wonderful, and there is the time after the diagnosis, aka now, aka the future, aka everything our lives will be from now on, which is horrible.

I realize that it does no good to be negative, and that I can make things a lot easier for everyone, including myself, if I stay positive. But honestly, I don't think I'm capable of staying positive for more than 15 minutes at a time. I know I should just give it time, since it hasn't even been a full week since we found out (how bizarre is that? It feels like another, awful, lifetime), but again, that is something a logical, reasonable, healthy person would do.

I try to remember to breathe.

Tonight it was very icy outside. There was this fine mist falling and over the course of the evening, while I was toiling away in a toasty bookstore, this lovely mist gradually formed an invisible glaze of ice over everything. When we got out of the store at 11:30, we had to slide down the sidewalk (comically) penguin-walk to our cars across the parking lot (even more comically) and start to hack away at the 3mm layer of ice on our windshields. I worked for a good 15 minutes defrosting my car. However, the best part of the parking lot fun was when I was trapped on a patch of ice about 3 feet from my car door. I kept reaching for the door handle to pull myself over, but it was just inches out of reach. My feet scrambled in their business-casual brown leather shoes on the ice-patch, which rather seemed to be enjoying itself, while I swiped at thin air with my ineffectual, begloved hands.

Then it was time to drive. Surprisingly, the main roads were fine. I ran into trouble when I turned onto the neighborhood streets. I was going a cautious 20 mph or so when I started slowing down, much more carefully than usual, for the first stop sign. Things went bad fast, and I lost control and skidded my back wheel into the curb at a deadly 4mph. After this, I decided that 2mph was probably the proper speed for the conditions, and proceeded to make my way through the neighborhood thus, without further incident. I dimly registered the BBC radio announcer's story about the conflict in Kenya as I carefully cruised through the darkness at walking speed, riding the break that I was half convinced would be completely useless should I seriously need it. Though I was concentrating very hard on driving with about 65% of my brain, and listening to the radio story with another 10% of it, this still left another 25% unoccupied, which soon became bored and started philosophizing. I philosophized thus: I made it through the neighborhood by realizing that if I could move 3 inches at 2mph without losing control, I could make it all the way to my house at 2mph without losing control. It dawned on me that if I could apply this method to my mom's cancer, we all just might make it home again.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What We Never Saw Coming

My mom has breast cancer.

We don't know how advanced it is yet or anything. We just know she has a medium-sized tumor and they're concerned about her lymph nodes.

I'm completely terrified. I feel anxious and sick most of the time, my heart beats too fast, and my hands shake. When I'm not feeling that, I'm just exhausted.

I've felt for a couple of months now like I've been surrounded by death... or pursued by it. I thought it was me. I thought there was something wrong with me, I was afraid I had cancer. I've been anxious, ill-at-ease, like I knew something bad was going to happen. One of my dad's best friends died a couple of months ago after a long battle with cancer, and another of his best friends was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after. Part of me knew that it would be us next, I was almost expecting it--but I thought it would be my dad. My dad is always so high strung and worried about his health, and I always think of men as having more health problems than women; plus, it was all his friends that were getting sick. I never imagined my mom getting sick. It just never crossed my mind.

And now here we are, scouring the internet, reading about carcinomas and biopsies and In-Situ and lymph nodes and staging... it's only been a couple of days and I just can't believe it. I can't believe that we are doing this, that this is *our* life now. Thoughts of grad school and going abroad all seem absurd now. I completely don't care. The idea of my final semester at Drury seems absurd. I just have no idea how to go on, or if I even want to.

I feel like crying all the time, and the back of my throat aches from holding in sobs. My mind races and I think horrible things like I want my mom to be at my wedding, I want her to meet my grandchildren.

I just don't understand how it happened. They both try so hard to stay healthy, eat lots of antioxidants, and work out. They do yoga.

I've always thought that people shouldn't get mad at God when things like this happen because I figure, what makes you special? Everyone knows that people get sick, get hurt, die. People say "why me?" and I say "why not me?" it can happen to you as easily as anyone else.

And yet. When it happens to my family I am *so* *surprised.*

I know that millions of people have gone through this. I know that my family and I are surrounded by people who love and support us. Still, somehow the thing I feel, almost more than terror and sadness, is completely, utterly alone.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Let's Try That Again, Hold the Angst

So yes. I am mostly writing this in an effort to put something at the top of the blog that is not positively oozing angst as if from a giant, infected wound.

I went to the doctor, and, as far as both of us can tell, I'm not dying. Not predictably soon, anyway. Of course I'm dying, we're all dying. (In case you were wondering, that last sentence was not an angst-lapse, just a simple fact that I actually find rather comforting sometimes.)

In other news.

I saw Atonement this week and was quite satisfied. They did a pretty good job of converting my (currently) favorite book to the screen.

I bought the Atonement soundtrack, which is great, and the new Sia album, which is AMAZING.
I am trying to psych myself up to write something. Which appears to be working, because hey, you're reading this, aren't you? I intend to try to pick up my NaNoWriMo novel from '06 again. Once again, the main thing I have to get over in order to do this is to get over the fear of writing something bad. Only when I've had writer's block for this long do I actually consider the prospect of writing something bad *better* than the state of not writing anything at all. I need to accept that anything I write will be bad and there is nothing I can do about that; not right now, anyway. I read today that Proust almost intimidated Virginia Woolf out of writing anything ever again, and that was *before* she wrote Mrs. Dalloway. The book in which I read this surmised that reading a perfect book (or, what the reader considers a perfect book) actually discourages one to write, because a) it's intimidating to the point of being completely discouraging and b) one of the reasons writers write (supposedly) is because they have not yet found a book they are completely satisfied with (this is actually the reason I started to write, when I was about 7). Thus, my new excuse, as of this afternoon, for not having written anything in over a year, is that I have been shocked into writer's block by Atonement, which is everything I think a book should be. You would think that with the imagination I have for excuses, I would be able to come up with a plot, but, alas.

I started to scrapbook my time abroad today. I've made 5 pages and so far I've gotten up to Day 3 of my journey. I foresee many more trips to Hobby Lobby in my future.

Also, I'm kind of tired of the cold weather because it forces me to wear an inconvenient amount of clothes. Scarf and sweater and blazer get all crowded 'round my neck and it makes me cranky.

But I promised you and angst-free post so YAY! Life is wonderful! I live in America! Hurrah!