Friday, January 20, 2012

Halfway There

I am halfway through.

While I am grateful for this milestone, the halfway mark appears to have brought with it the kind of pain that the doctors and my fellow tonsil cancer survivors have been talking about.

It didn't build gradually, getting a little worse each day. Somehow, the pain slammed in the back door yesterday afternoon, after my radiation treatment, put its feet up and has made itself at home.

It settles over all my emotions, thoughts and words.  It cloaks everything in a kind of prickly haze. It makes me squint my eyes, like I'm looking into the bright sun.  The kids' images and voices come to me through the pain, as if from afar.  I nod and try to smile; I don't want them to know how much I hurt.

Talking is impossible today.  Some days are worse than others, and I'm hoping today is just a bad day and that I will have a good day, soon.

The medication helps some, but there is only so much it can do on days like today.

My world is becoming so small, like a pinprick.  I don't go anywhere anymore; I'm not driving.  I can't speak on the phone comfortably.   My universe revolves around getting to treatment and back.  I walk wide-eyed through the halls of the hospital, marveling at the pace of everything, mutely taking it all in.

I don't feel well enough to read, even.   I think the only reason I can write is that it soothes me, like a balm on a fiery burn.  Writing about the pain makes me feel at arm's length from its bite, at least for a while.

Cancer treatment is such a bizarre thing.  I read a quote that said something like:  "treating cancer is like trying to rid a dog of  fleas by beating it with a stick".    Every day cancer patients willingly, even eagerly, submit to more pain and discomfort, because we know the pain is chasing away the disease.

But on days like today I wonder how on earth I'm going to get radiated 16 more times.

The other odd thing about the pain is that tomorrow I could wake up and it will be lighter, like a fog dissipating in the bright sun.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.  It comes and goes as it pleases.

I just realized this is my third post in a row about pain.  Clearly, it dominates my little world at the moment, but it isn't the only thing.

There are moments of such tenderness, too.  Yesterday, I was lying on my side on the couch, spent and exhausted, trying to summon enough energy to go upstairs.  Finn walked up to me and started rubbing my back, ever so gently, and asked, "Does this help, Momma?  Does this make you feel bettah?"  When I told him it did, the smile that burst forth on his face was priceless.

It's hard for the kids to see me sick, but it is bringing out the caregivers in them, teaching them that they can make a difference - a big one - to someone who is suffering.

And after one of the longer, harder afternoons I've had so far, last night there was another message from Greta waiting for me in my Prayer Box:



32 comments:

  1. I my heck I adore you and want to rub your back for you and I want to take the pain away and you are amazing and you are a warrior. Sending all the love and light I can to your part of the world.

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  2. I'm so thankful for Gretta and Finn right now, and full of tears for your pain.

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  3. Those kiddos are such gems.
    Thinking of you, Ellie. Wishing for you strength and comfort, and a sunshine-y tomorrow!

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  4. New reader to your blog, and I'd just like to say you seem like a very admirable woman and mother. It sounds like you have a super support system (no medicine can beat the feel of your soft kiddos hand rubbing your back) and a large following here on the internet, which is great. I hope you start to feel better much sooner rather than later. Thank you for sharing your story with those of us who are strangers.

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  5. I'm so glad your writing brings you a little comfort. Hugs. Prayers. Wishes for pain-free days ahead.

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  6. This is such a hard thing to go through. Yes, be assured there will be a few better days scattered here and there in the next month... I remember some advice given to me by an elderly woman, Ethel, who held the door for patients and arranged valet parking at the cancer center where I got my 35 days of radiation for my tonsil cancer... it was right around the half-way point and I was feeling weak and miserable and beat-up and starting to get depressed. She gave me a hug and said "Just relax into this, hon." I wasn't sure exactly what that meant... but it stuck with me and helped (I dont remember anything the oncologist told me that day)... Ellie, just relax into this, hon...

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  7. Keep writing if it helps because we are here to read your words and give you strength from afar.

    Sending so much love to you...

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  8. Sending cyber-pats on the back and wishing I knew you "in real life," so I could help more than just cyber hugs and pats. So many people are holding you up in prayer and thoughts; maybe you can relax on those good wishes.
    Lee Ann

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  9. Thinking of you and praying for you, Ellie.

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  10. Hi there Ellie! Thanks so much for writing...even if it's about pain and cancer I am so much less lonely out here with you writing to all of us.

    Greta is such a beautiful generous caring soul like you. She feels things very deeply and has so much empathy for a child her age. That is really a gift even though it can be heavy at times.

    Hugs and love and healing prayers to you always,
    Atomic Momma

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  11. Halfway is halfway, Ellie. Well worth celebrating! So congrats to you and lots of peace and ease as you move forward.

    XOXOXO

    C

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  12. Oh, Ellie. You're getting closer to the end of this torturous treatment. You children are little messengers of your higher power, touching you with his grace and comfort. What a precious blessing.

    As for 16 more treatments, just tackle the next one and only that one. Try not to look ahead. Just stay in the moment. One treatment at a time. We all love you so much and I hope you can feel it from all over the world. xoxo

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  13. Pain sucks...there's no polite way to give you hope other than to tell you it WILL pass...all you can do is what you're doing now. Find hope and grab on!

    I am praying here always

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  14. This brought me to tears. I am so sorry for your pain. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Joanne

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  15. A suggestion for enduring pain moment to moment. As a word lover, can I suggest a crossword? Sounds trite but it worked for me when I was in unceasing pain at onepoint in my life. One word at a time. Do a word. rest. breathe. do another. repeat. sending love your way. stranger and then not.

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  16. Sorry there is so much pain now. Sounds surreal. You're in my prayers, Ellie. This, too, shall pass.

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  17. I read, I teared up, I adored your sweet girl *even* more.

    {Still sending those good thoughts your way.}

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  18. So sorry to read of your pain.

    Your daughter is such a sweetie, hugs to her and you.

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  19. To echo a previous commentor, you do not have to do this 16 more times.

    You have to do it one more time.

    And then repeat.

    One day at a time, remember? One day at a time, my dear friend. Someone very loving and very wise taught me about that ;-)

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  20. I'm so sorry you are in so much pain. You are always in my thoughts. I hope tomorrow will be less painful for you. Your kids are so precious. So touching it made me tear up.

    Libby

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  21. Oh Ellie - poor girl. Hang in there. I wish there was something I could say. Just hang in there. Lots and lots of love to you. One moment at a time.

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  22. You don't know me, but I've been following along because you seem like such a nice person and you have such a lovely way with words. I am very sorry to hear that the pain has gotten so bad - I was in chronic pain years ago which was mentally and physically exhausting and the only thing that helped was meditation and complete acceptance... putting "space" between me and the pain I was experiencing, as much as I possibly could - like I was an outside observer. I know it's easier said than done, but it really did help me so I thought I'd pass it along. During that time I read Tolle's "A New Earth" which opened me up to regular meditation practice, which really saved me at the time. Although that was four years ago, I remember the pain as vividly as if it happened yesterday. This too, will pass. You WILL get better and you will be well again. I am thinking of you today and sending you healing energy.

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  23. Beautiful caring children come from beautiful caring parents. Usually. Sometimes. Well, in this case anyways! Sending you prayers and hugs. As always, I am honored to call you my friend. And, as always, my most favorite of my sentences that I hate applies here: This too shall pass. Ugh. It pisses me off to even write it. But it's true.

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  24. Greta is so awesome I can barely stand it. Wow Ellie. Sister - your soul is so strong. We're with you.

    xoxo
    Lee

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  25. What they all said.

    Finn wanted you to feel better. We want you to feel better too. That's why we write to you and tell you how much your story has touched us. Because it HAS touched us.

    Greta told you to believe in yourself because she believes in you. We believe in you too. So much.

    Counting down from 16/32 (50%) with you. Every one treatment is three and one-eighths percent closer to "all done."

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  27. Thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon.

    Trish
    xoxo

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  28. Hang in there. Happy halfway! Our last radiation of 35 is today! We remember 5, 10 and halfway being exciting. Time flew for sure. Your comment on pain coming the back door with a bang is what we experienced too. Love the quote about ridding the fleas with a stick. So true. Our chemo nurse told us Friday we were at our worst for pain and we were excited. Yeah. We're in pain and it's so bad but it gets better hehe. Found you a while ago on BFAC and stopped by to see how you were doing. You certainly speak from the heart. As you look back when the fog clears it will help you realize how much you went through and how strong you really were when you didn't feel like it! Chin up and lots of smiles to you. Kenny and Sammy

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  29. Ellie,
    I left this unread in my RSS reader for so long. I wanted to comment, but I can't quite find the words. Thank you for sharing your struggles with cancer so openly. Love and prayers for you and your family.

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  30. I Albert Felix will forever be indebted to the great and powerful man Doctor Isibor for his great and mighty work he did for me , he saved me from an everlasting pain, and this is why i wont stop sharing his name on the internet, because he deserve more than this, if only i can express how i feel towards him. I got married to my wife for the past 5yrs now without a child and i became a laughing stock, people described me in different manner of ways of which i became worried and was not comfortable with the situation anymore, so i searched for a means to wipe the pain away from my eyes but all what i tried did not work out, until a friend of mine introduced me to the great and mighty man DOCTOR ISIBOR, i was not comfortable with the idea because men like him has failed me so many times, but my friend convinced me and told me i should have faith and trust him and do what so ever he tells me to do without a second thought and that all will be fine, i did all what he told me and behold my wife and i are happily blessed with two children , and from that day i made a promise that i will make him known all over the world, he is a nice man and he deals on all kinds of spell, you can contact him on his email: Doctorisiborspelltemple@hotmail.com, or you can whatsapp him on his mobile number: +2348138900575, website:http://doctorisiborspelltemple.webs.com/

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