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All at What Cost?

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As I said, I had completed three treatments by this point. My dates on all this is are a bit fuzzy, but it is now Spring and I can sometimes enjoy it.

I had been without cigarettes for almost a year now, but felt the urges many times. Even being as weak as I was, I always wanted one. I did well until Mother’s Day.

I am not a needy person; I don’t like to have people fussing over me. But Mother’s Day is different. My children were no longer the age of young schoolers, so they weren’t making something as a school project in art class. Still I had hope that I would be recognized that day, feel loved, and even a bit of worry from them about me. We should have talked more about my illness; my children and I should have really talked about it. We never did, so they had no idea how much this simple day might mean to me.

No one did anything! Oh, that’s not fair; I did get a card from my daughter. But no others, or phone calls, or flowers. Not even from my husband outside of a quick wish for a good day. Seems to me I remember him working (yep! on a Sunday). I was so angry, lonely, and hurt. I packed my dogs, a carton of smokes, a case of beer and I went to our camp … alone!

Here I was dying (OK maybe not dying, but very sick) from cancer. In bed all the time, too weak to do anything, fighting these crazy symptoms and crying all the time and no one felt (or remembered) to recognize their poor mother on this Mother Day. The Mothers Day that will go down in my history as the worse ever experienced. I felt so insignificant and un-important. 

I started smoking again that weekend and haven’t looked back. I spend a few hours, literally a few hours at camp. It was overnight but my husband had called sounding all sad that I had left and actually asked if I was coming home. Not sure where he was going with that. I just needed to be away from those who had hurt me. I drank way too much; smoked all day long. I read a book, watched the birds, and played with my dogs. I could have stayed there forever, but knew in my heart that I was going home tomorrow.

Not that being in the woods alone was scary or even lonely. It’s very quiet and soothing. And that was an environment that I was comfortable in. I heard coyotes and owls. I heard the movement of deer that I’m sure were just out of my sight range. I rested well. I returned home the following afternoon.

I didn’t really feel better, and I have carried this hurt a long time. I also realized that driving was becoming more and more difficult for me. I knew I was at the point that I was going to be home-bound for a while and maybe this one last run was some sort of hurrah! I don’t know, but that one-and-a-half hour drive was hard. I had about six more weeks of chemo, then a break until I started radiation. Just lie around, tan, keep the ‘scrips filled, and try to heal.

This was the loneliest time for me. Even if I did have people wanted to see me, I felt so bad that I didn’t want to do anything. I faked most of the time. At the occasional BBQ or graduation party for a niece or nephew. When I did go I was withdrawn, sick, weak. I didn’t want to see anyone.

So the costs of all of this was more than the side effects of treatment or the money shelled out by my insurance company. The costs were the alienation from friends and family, from activities that I would normally enjoy and look forward to.

I was ready for whatever was going to happen, not because I was ready to fight. I had no strength for that. More of a quiet reserve that says … whatever happens.

In about a month, I will start radiation.


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