Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on steps without me

I admit my blogging has been exiguous. Mostly, this is because I've been working quite hard at my job now that I've been transferred to the corporate office, but also because there is less of the sort of thing going on that lead to the creation of this blog. That's a good thing, and it has led to things like Ann's solo trip to Houston.

Ann's trip to MDA without me has caused a breakthrough in my thinking. Each journey there is like a big-event and is proceeded by (for me at least) a week's worth of humorless worry and crushing anxiety. So much depends on those trips that I have long given up on the idea of routine exams and I made sure that I was there each time so I could hold her hand.

Ann and I spent every day on the 8th floor of the Clark Clinic at MDA for what seemed like years. Without too much difficulty I can remember with a voluminous mix of despair and dread everything we fought so hard to overcome while there: induction, blindness, wheelchairs, having no home, desperate donor searches, insurance denials, transplant, relapse and transplant again.

I could have taken vacation or sick time to go with her, but I didn't. I could have begged off of my reports and deadlines until the end of the week, but I didn't. I don't think I would have lost my job. So why did I let her go alone this time? Why did I allow her to go and face the beast without even moral support?

My sneaking suspicion is because I needed to, and she needed me to let go just as badly. Which is not to say that I don't feel one iota less guilty about not being there.

Life pushes toward its normal equilibrium in the absence of a crisis. Feeling scared, anxious, or guilty are just bi-products of that process and we can't control it. Ann needed to be able to do something big without support. I needed to focus on work and put my anxiety away. And she needed me to do this as well.


Susan C said...

Great to hear your "voice" again, Chris.

And good for you for taking a big step in letting go.

susiegb said...

100% agree - both with Susan, and with your thoughts and reasonings Chris! It's hard to let go, but a necessary part of returning to 'normal' life! Good on you! (as they say here in Oz!)

Ronni Gordon said...

I felt kind of liberated when my sister stopped going with me, more like I could speak for myself. Sounds like it was good for Ann to go alone, too. To bad the drive is so long, though. Any place to stay overnight if it's necessary next time?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
This is Marty, PJ's husband, and wow, I know just what you're saying. After being out of work for about 10 months, I got a good job in New York City, about 175 miles away from PJ in Rhode Island. I know it's only temporary, and we needed for me to get working again ($), but the guilt pops up now and then. And each month, when good friends step up to take her to the doctor for her tests, I spend the week before being scared, the day of the exam twitching at my desk, and then realize I can let my breath out after she calls to say we've "dodged the bullet" again.
I think you're right, that our wives feel the need to do without us in many ways, probably because it means the beginning of the journey back to normalcy.
Maybe it's also like teaching a kid to ride a two-wheeler: it's good to know that someone is there to help, but all they want to do is go off on their own for a while.
Keep smiling and working!

Nancy said...

Hi Chris. I agree with everyone above. Congrats to both of you. Keep on keepin on!!! love ya, n

Ann said...

Ronni, there are a few places I could crash in Houston in case I'm not feeling up to all of the driving in one day. Thankfully, there's a hotel connected to MDA via an air-bridge, which is pretty convenient. There's also a dedicated nap room at the treatment center, which I've used plenty of times in the past.It's a long and boring drive, but Chris and some friends keep me entertained via phone calls. It's not so bad. :)

Marsi White said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and just wanted to say thank you. I am the cancer survivor in my family. I am glad to find some insight as to the other side of the coin.