Friday, July 29, 2005

I wanted to let everyone know that I have a kid now, and he's fat and delicious and healthy ...

and the whole Internet breathes a sigh of tearful, delighted relief. funny how I can care so much about someone I've never met, and never will.

grrr. just ran into annoying neighbour from across the road, the one who just bangs on about her, her baby, what she's doing and shows no real interest in other people as such. she asked about the child care centre, which has just been renovated. then offered the opinion that before it was renovated, if there was a fire, "everyone would just die, basically." note, she's talking about a building where I've just left my child for the day. I did say "I don't really want to think about that" but I don't think she got how uncomfortable she'd just made me. she's got two books of mine on baby care. I think I'll let her keep them. I am in no hurry whatsoever to spend more time with her, not if she's going to say stupid things like that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

finally tracked down the good news: Grrl's baby has arrived!

sounds like he had a rough start with some time in NICU for unexplained reasons, but that's nothing compared to the hurdles on the way to this moment. I am pleased partly for entirely selfish reasons; now she gets to post in her inimitable way about poopies, sleepless nights and little fingers curled around her pinky. so looking forward to the next part of the ride.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I'm working. Really. But as Tuesdays are also my day for the dr checkup and I had an unexplained repeat x-ray taken yesterday and my chest is aching, I need to destress as well. what I need is good news from Grrl. but nothing's moving over there.

in the meantime: the despair of flying with children. oh, if only I was an Alpha Mom. not.

Friday, July 22, 2005

oh, and my friend had her baby at 5 yesterday morning. thank God, she didn't ring me. going to inspect him tonight.

so, was my prediction that he'd coincide with grrl's son right? looks like there's action...

how's this for a classic conflict between desires and obligations: the childcare centre quiz night is in August. it's going to be huge, exciting and important socially.

I have had yet another story accepted (that's three, four if you count the magazine that has not yet put out an issue). spent the morning cleaning it up, making changes. then I got a call from the editor working on it. so I asked him when the launch for the magazine was. I am very keen to go to the launch as both a fiction writer and poet for ego purposes, you understand. and when is it? the exact same frickin' night. I would probably have a better time at the quiz night. I'm sure I would. so would dh. but I really, really want to go along and feel important at the writers' festival. aargh!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

there nothing like a sleeping baby who will inevitably wake up to motivate a lazy writer.

don't feel like writing? too bad. write something, anything...and you know? eventually I do and it feels quite good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

yeah, OK, I've now logged 6 hours and 45 minutes of work, which is probably more than most workers actually do in a day (I'm talking real work, not office time), and I've taken my first call from a marketing director while still in my PJs, so I'm so finished for the day.

husbands: very angry with same. can't figure out exactly why, apart from that old bugbear about how he should have hustled me to a dr the second I mentioned the Lump, especially in the exhausted state I was in at the time. I just don't feel he's, you know, in this with me. like he understands, or wants to, just where my head is sometimes. and if he won't understand, if he won't be there for me now, well, who can be? and if he isn't here for me now, which with luck will be my darkest moments, frankly, what's the point of him? wouldn't I be better off alone? last time I felt like this was when I was really down with exhaustion and sleep-deprivation depression. If he's going to be mean to me, apply his unreasonably high standards of behaviour, when I'm sick and weak, exactly why should I forgive him when I'm feeling better? apart from the fact that he's A's father, that I can't have another baby without his permission (they're his embies too), and that financially it would be a disaster to leave him. no, not feeling very Pollyanna today.

my first "day" of working from home (I've done a bit over the weekend and this is meant to be the bulk of it); a frenzy of morning activity, then some time off to rest. and of course what worker with any pride, even one working from home on a baby/doctor-imposed deadline, would leave out the bit about vague internet surfing? in my case, to grrrl's site, where, hell, let's say it, a BABY is imminent. no news yet, but some thoughts that quite bother me about the surrogacy option, and taking a baby away from its womb-mother. I remember how A turned to my voice from the second he was born.

he's in the refurbished childcare centre in our street. what a relief after all the driving to the temporary place. it was a bit strange, leaving him in a new place and just popping home to work. still not sure I'm doing entirely the right thing. but the work is very, very low-key really, and if I keep being as lucky with my calls as I was this morning, should be quite doable. OK, enough surfing. half an hour's work time left...

Friday, July 15, 2005

ps: there will be a magazine launch. I am SO going to that. as one of the featured poets.
heh heh heh...

as it was recently noted, correctly, by my nursey friend Jen, this blog is mostly about infertility and cancer. so here is a post about neither: on top of my two stories accepted, a third magazine, and one I like, has deigned to take a poem. this is just after I had decided my poetry is pretty much banal shit which just doesn't, you know, sing. I am not telling the journal in question that, of course. nor will I mention that the line "Mercedes bends" in it is probably an unconscious theft from the Eagles' Hotel California.

the first acceptance, I ran around the room whooping. this time, I'm just bouncing up and down in my chair going "heh heh heh" like some kind of mad South American dictator.

bits from my journal that I meant to blog:

last Friday, in the change room at the hospital, I was thinking about why I'm going back to work. I said to myself "it's about self-respect, isn't it?" then laughed out loud. I was half-naked, wearing a thin hospital wrap, and about to go out and lie on a steel plate to be scribbed all over on my flat, scarred chest by the young male nurses who operate the radiotherapy machines. what self-respect?

I cannot read/watch: stories about cancer, whatever the outcome
stories about children dying
stories (and they are very common) about a child with a dead parent. I just can't.

The Freemason's Hospital in East Melbourne, where I am now being treated, is not somewhere I would want to die. It's from the 1950s, mostly lacking in natural light, and, at least in the bits where I go, full of very old people in wheelchairs being treated for cancer. I know it's a tragedy for them, too, but like those young disabled people who are put into old folks' homes, I don't feel it's the right place for me. frankly, it's a depressing dive, fine though the medical treatment may be.

my country place, on the other hand, is 150 years old, with raw stone walls and rough timber floors. it's open to its surrounds through bubbly glass windows. Over the bed I have a mosquito net/drape that I like to think gives the room a romantic look. there, I could die. not that I want to. but it would be better.

procrastination post: in which I have turned the PC on because I can't get going on my writing, just to check my email, but have already obsessively checked in on Grrrl's blog for news, and will probably spend the next hour surfing pointless sites under the guise of "work".

Is there a polite way to say "just don't call me" to another mother who is having difficulties? probably not. She's in my mother's group, she has just had the first of the second batch of babies, she suffers depression and anxiety (still too frightened to drive two months after baby #2 was born, for instance), and yesterday she called me for a chat, clearly fishing for a catchup invitation. she makes weird inappropriate comments about my treatment and asks questions I don't want to answer, like "does it hurt?". she did not even consider bf-ing and tells me how well her babies sleep because they're on bottles. and while I believe she is fully entitled to help and support with whatever issues she has in her life, why me? I am in treatment, I don't have time for my work and my own friends, and I really am not psychologically generous enough to give her support with the two-baby thing. and yes, she does know that I probably won't be able to have another. I'm supposed to call her when I'm next going by there on the way down to the village. the thing is, I'm not doing that walk much at the moment because I'm spending that time in hospital every afternoon instead, and I just don't want to. I'm drained enough without adding draining people to my life, surely? am I a bad person?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

vent dept: have just received email from f-i-l stating they have made a lunch booking for 12:30 Sunday.

hell no. 12:30 sunday sucks. dh gets back from overseas on Saturday morning and will be wrecked from his overnight flight, so Saturday I'll be doing childcare. and on Sunday they expect me to go to lunch in my, and my baby's, naptime? without so much as an inquiry as to when I'd like to see them, when might work for the radiotherapy-exhausted mother? and I know what these meals involve. they are formal and slow. and guess who gets the job of jollying the baby along?

I'll do brunch. I'll do early dinner. but I will simply not do lunch at 12.30. what a ludicrous idea. sometimes I wonder if his parents realise we've had a baby, and that maybe it makes life easier for us if we consider said baby's needs? I had hoped to be let off long formal meals for a year or two after A. was born. they just don't seem to realise.

of course I won't be going. we'll probably change the time, as I've gently put my objection (ie, it's A's nap time) but meanwhile it's a source of stress to me, and dh isn't around to speak to them. and I've had to spend time emailing fil back, plus dh, plus, of course, a vent. hopefully writing this will make me feel better and I'll actually sleep now. grrrrrr....

thank God for spare computers, and the Mac; dh is away for five nights and of course the PC has somewhat carked it. don't know if I can get at the network from here, but I can blog...

so it's decided; I will do a day of work, but from home spread over a couple of days. so I will end up doing more than a days' work, I guess. I will also be paid less than I was for doing less work freelancing. c'est la vie. speaking of which, is it a good idea to add French lessons to my busy schedule? thought not. I just have this hankering after Monet's garden. and maybe walking the streets of Paris with my bubaloo. s'pose I'd have to take the husband too. might check out Craig's List for apartments.

meanwhile, I have radio in one hour fifteen and work to do. the great advantage of working from home: on the Internet, no one knows you're in your dressinggown.

Monday, July 11, 2005

not sure how I feel about this: I'm listed as a "patient" blog on this nurse's blog

Sunday, July 10, 2005

cancer news watch; lots of news from someone who really has his heart in it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

stupidly busy day today: market, work meetings, market for lunch, failed attempt at sleep (the work thing is bugging me), mothers' group, radiotherapy, home to feed and play with baby. must freeze more meals for him.

dh is going away for all of next week. I guess it'll be OK; he really doesn't do that much around the house anyway, though sometimes he gets up early in the morning when I can't, and I make sure I keep one thing a night for him to do. tonight I am ignoring the clean dishwasher in order to let him do it. after all, I fill the dishwasher, put it on, do a few loads of washing, clean up baby stuff, take out nappy bin, cook dinner, etc etc.

it looks likely I'll be doing one short day a week, plus a few weekend hours. not that enthused about my far from glamorous, badly airconditioned office, and my workmates, who like to bash my ear about not much. am trying to get excited about the task, which may or may not be a combination of easy Web stuff and slightly less easy reporting. bosses v. sympathetic. they'd want to be.

better get offline or dh will come home while I'm blogging and assume it's all I do all day. look busy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Let me tell you about radiotherapy.
It sounds quite soft, really – “radio” promising maybe the songs you grew up with, “therapy” conjuring massage while Eastern music plays in the background and incense burns down.
But it’s hard. It’s cold. This is what you do for six or seven weeks: You wait in a room with the other cancer victims, reading the captions on photographs of old English houses in magazines until they call your name.
You have a little locker; that’s how much a part of your life this is. Inside is a thin, striped dressinggown. You process yourself; undress in a cubicle, carry your outside clothes in a little basket to another, smaller waiting room. When the technicians are ready, you assume the position on the machine, like this: head on a moulded plastic pillow, knees locked over a protrusion in the metal tray you’re on, both arms over your head, gripping twin handlebars, the right side of your chest exposed. You can see it reflected in the glass plate above you, looking in the semi darkness like a boy’s chest, ribs visible where your breast used to be.
The technicians fuss around your body and the machine, marking little x’s and lines on the skin with blue pencil. A light snaps on inside the machine, projecting the image of a ruler in white light onto your skin. Red laser beams line up with the ruler, and the technicians leave the room. The massive steel head of the machine whirrs and shifts, moving over your body a foot or so away. You don’t move.
An atonal, high-volume buzzing sounds danger, get out, to everyone but you as the X-rays beam senselessly into your body. It stops, the lights come on, the technicians fuss. Again. And again. Glass plates showing the outline of where the cancer might be slide in and out of the machine.
It’s important to keep your chin up at this point, to minimise damage to the throat.
When you’re done, you dress, stow the gown in your locker for tomorrow, slip on your beanie over your still-too-short hair.
This will go on until your skin is burned and you are weak with radiation poisoning. It’s good for you; statistically it means a few less bullets in that hundred-chambered gun called “percentage likelihood of recurrence”.
You will be grateful for these afternoons in a darkened room, alone with the machine. You might not die. Not yet.

Monday, July 04, 2005

dateline: 9am Monday. status: fully dressed in new clothes, makeup on, ready to go storm the barricades at work. have had enough of being put off and ignored and am ready to use my staff pass to go in there and beard my manager in his den.
meanwhile, I thought I was wasting a good baby-sleep morning on this stuff. but A, who slept until the miraculous hour of 7.15 am, is sooking wildly about being put down. I expect he'll go on to sleep from 9.15-11.15, thus giving the babysitter two quiet hours I could have used to write. thus also making me ever more resentful of wasting time on this work thing.

no, he's off again. is this "fussing", as Julie would have it? or am I traumatising him? oh well, I'll overcompensate later by giving him large amounts of sweeties.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

bombinmybelly is talking about anniversaries. I plan to forget all but two: the date I was diagnosed, which I can't forget as it's my son's birthday. and the date I am calling the finish of chemo etc, which is 1 July this year - from which I plan to date all my cancer-free periods and the long, long wait until I can even thing about getting pregnant again.

(actually that's an old post I've linked to, but whatever.)

tomorrow is another day. actually tomorrow is another 2 1/2 years, which is my current plan for the duration of my Tamoxifen treatment. followed by, all going well, about 18 months off to detox, get pregnant, feed for three months and then go back on it. Tuesday is the day after tomorrow, and while we're not anticipating worldwide flooding, we will have the beginning of a therapeutic course of radiation poisoning.

I'm thinking of this as Phase 2 of my treatment. Phase 1 was the horrid surgery/chemo shock and awe campaign. now I have to just settle in and do my time. Phase 3 could be post-radio, but I think it will really be when I'm off all treatment altogether, in many years from now. Phase 4 comes in ten years, when I will be official "cured". here's to that

Friday, July 01, 2005

a work colleague's wife is pregnant. they already have a boy and twin girls. due in December, which is when I would possibly have been due. he's such a nice guy, and they had a hard time when the twins were born early, and she's had one miscarriage. they deserve whatever they want. but I'm still jealous.

A finally went to childcare today. had a great time, too, by all accounts. Me? I did useless small things, scrapped yesterday's writing work and had a big afternoon sleep. still a bit sick with this cold, feeling blah and slow and useless. so much for the week off between chemo and radio.

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