I’ve been unemployed for a couple of months, but I’ve been putting the time to good use.  In fact, it’s been nice.  Ryan and the kids have all been home since the outbreak, so we’ve been spending a lot of time together as a family and we still all like each other.

Take-out and delivery meals are expensive, so I’ve been cooking pretty much every meal and I’m enjoying it.  I haven’t been experimenting as much as I’d like to, but I’m maintaining a routine and usually have plans for at least two days ahead.  I’ve always liked cooking.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good as a professional chef, but practice makes perfect.  Mostly, I just like being sure that everyone is fed.

Having Ryan home is reminding me of why I love him.  He’s working hard from home and I think would forget to eat, so I bring him his breakfast and lunch.  When his day is over, we relax and watch TV.  This last week, we’ve been watching filmed versions of Broadway musicals with Kate.  Before I met Ryan, I had no knowledge of musicals, but he grew up loving show tunes and he introduced me to all the big ones:  Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Evita.

Since high school when I started to enjoy writing, I’ve had ideas in my head, never fully formed enough to write a novel, but seeds of stories, and about a year ago I figured out a way to bring them together.  It’s coming along slowly, but more reliably now that I’m home every day.  I find that my protagonist has a mind of her own, though, and I’m having to wrangle her a bit.  Sometimes I’m more inspired by random things that end up as short stories.

The world outside our home is a scary place currently, so I’m grateful that we have each other inside.

the cruelest month

Unfortunately, the news isn’t so good.

Three months ago, a notable jump in tumor markers in my blood prompted a change in strategy, including a switch to a harsher chemotherapy drug called capecitebine, in the hopes of turning the tide.

Yesterday, I was called in at the last minute for another CAT scan and bone scan, when my latest bloodwork saw those numbers double in the last month. In addition to those markers, the cancer in my bones is now spreading and the troublesome spots in my liver are growing. Add in a few more aches and pains lately and the overall trend is troubling.

We still have a few options to try, which is good, but I will also need a liver biopsy to be sure that we’re not dealing with a different problem than the one that first emerged in 2012.

Starting next week, I will be receiving another type of treatment, this one in the chemo room again.  I was hoping I’d never have to go back in there.  I still have memories of getting the “red devil” (adriamycin) and feel queasy at the sight of ice chips.  I met interesting people in the chemo room, though, and have thought about writing about them. Now we’ll be spending time together again.

I lost my job at the beginning of March, when this whole COVID-19 thing started to happen.  I won’t have a hard time getting back and forth to treatment but things are difficult without my income.  I’ll need to get another job, but I have to see how well I tolerate treatment.

It’s hard to feel optimistic on any kind of level these days.  Even my daughter’s college graduation is bittersweet.  She’s so happy to be done but sad that we can’t celebrate, at least not right now. At least our middle kid isn’t at all broken up about his postponed high school graduation.

I’m starting to think about what will happen to my family when I’m gone.  I tried so hard not to think about that before.  I thought that if I thought about it, I’d just make myself sicker.  I’m actually imagining my memorial service.

I’m frustrated now that so much time was wasted between November and January.  That’s when things started to accelerate.  As much as I loved our vacation, I wonder if I accidentally hurt myself.  I just have to make up for it now.