This is about loss. About being dragged down from someone you were, to someone you never thought you could be.
There is little doubt that I have been a Type A person for most of my life. I always have to be doing something and I am driven by perfectionism. But since I developed cancer, especially since it metastasized, I have steadily lost capabilities such that I now classify myself as Type Z. The Z is for Zombie. Zombies are pretty popular and they provide a good model for describing how I feel these days (Dianne tells me I don't look like a Zombie, but I'm referring to how I feel). For I have lost so much and am on track to lose so much more. Too much. At times, just thinking about it drags me into a deep depression. These are the times I really feel sorry for myself. It's when I cry.
So what have I lost? Well, quite a lot.
- I have lost the ability to work, something which has defined me for most of my life.
- I cannot make the kind of money it did when I was working. There was always a commission on it's way to help with a big purchase, repair, vacation or event. No more. I'm just scraping by.
- I have lost the pride I wore like a mantle for doing a good job and for being recognized for it. The respect of my peers.
- I don't see the many people I met through work. They were not necessarily best friends, but they were my "network" who we're always up for a beer or a coffee.
- I can't travel like I used to. I hated the extent of traveling I had to do for my job from time to time, but I enjoyed being a jet-setting business man and meeting new people in other countries.
- I forget things all the time....words, names, what day it is.
- I can't drink any alcohol because of the medication I'm on. I loved good scotch, cognac, dark beers.
- I don't enjoy food like I used to and can't eat as much.
- I can't kayak like I used to and miss my annual summer kayaking/camping trips with my buddies.
- I can't participate in any sports and I can't even work out or jog, so my body has lost all it's muscle tone (well a lot, anyway).
- I have only a few really productive hours in the day because I sleep so much and am so drowsy the rest of the time (from the cancer and my meds).
- I don't play my guitar any more.
- I have had to cut back my active involvement in health care advocacy.
- I live with varying degrees of pain every day. And I'm not in love with the meds I have to take to make it bearable.
- I have a great deal of difficulty with intimacy which is hard on Dianne and I.
- Above all, I am losing a future with my family and friends, and especially with Dianne.
Wow! Sounds pretty desolate, doesn't it? Well, it sure feels like that some days! But to be fair, I still have a lot to be thankful for and I don't want to minimize that. Yes, maybe I'm whining, but I'm being honest about it because, after all, that is what this blog is all about. I have to be open and honest with you. You need to know what I feel..... what others in my situation feel.
A light in the darkness!!!!!!!!! Recently, Dianne and I connected with the Dorothy Ley Hospice, which has been like a breath of fresh air to us. In addition to the support of our family and friends, we now have the support of a wonderful team of volunteers and professionals and the occasional companionship of others who are going through what we are going through. Does that move me back up the alphabet? Mmmmmmmmm.....nah. But it sure helps to concentrate on the good things in life; to realize that, in spite of what's happening, life is good!
And I can still write!!