Sunday, February 17, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Well, it's all over. My last radiation treatment was Friday, I have 2-3 more weeks of side effects to deal with, and then find out what's next. I believe it's a pill, called Tomoxafin, but don't quote me on that.

A few folks have said to me "now you can get back to normal". Only thing wrong with that idea is that I have no idea of what normal IS.  How far back do I go? Dennis' death? Dad's? the Elder Ts'?   My son tells me it's the first time in my life I'm not responsible for the care of other people. SO, I guess I start with that.

I cried on Friday (third meltdown. First was last Saturday, second was Monday).  Though it was a pain in the neck to go to West Branch every day for 7 weeks, there was a "routine" to it ... that made my day predictable. I saw the same technicians every day, they ended up with quilt related nick names because I took a quilt with me to cover me during treatment.  They became extended family.  Everything about the last seven weeks came to an abrupt halt on Friday, and I felt lost.  I felt loss.  Breast cancer turned my life upside down for 4 1/2 months, and now deposits me here in the middle of the road and doesn't look back.  Some of the gals from the quilt shop were my drivers, but the two who did the most became part of the fabric of my life. And now they're back to their own lives, and out of mine for the most part.

I don't know what I want to do with myself, other than feed the cats and quilt.  And read. I like to read.  At least I used to, I can't seem to concentrate now. Oh, and cry at the drop of the hat for no apparent reason.  I'm told that's "normal".  There's a deal of self pity going on, I realize that, and fight it, but there really has been a string of events beating me down for a really long time, and even though they took their toll, they were the "normal".  

I made myself a Cancer Quilt.  There is a pre printed panel of quotations that begins with "Things that cancer cannot do".  Didn't figure anyone else would make me one, so I made it myself.  As I chose the fabrics, some with a print that was appropriate (cats), some purples (purple is the "awareness ribbon" color for fibromyalgia which I also have), I gave the quilt a statement of purpose.  They were "Patty" colors. Some left overs from long ago projects, some more recent. I mixed in some batiks, and some metallic. I wasn't predictable about any of it. The quilt police will tell you calico doesn't go with batik, and cat printed fabric doesn't go in a cancer quilt. Since there are no quilt police ever going to SEE my quilt, quite frankly, I didn't give a damn!

As folks saw it, and shared it, two more cancer quilts are on the drawing table. One for my daughter-in-law-elect's friend who is faced with ovarian cancer, and oddly enough, a quilt shop owner I admire and love, who admitted to me on Saturday that SHE now has breast cancer.  So, those two quilts will be "beginnings".  I have over 20 quilt tops to quilt that are hanging in my hallway, enough to keep me busy for a bit.  And naps. I can take naps. I find I need them, as long as they're not fraught with weird dreams. The sun is shining, and the white snow makes everything look pretty. Thanks to my daughter, I can put a pile of CDs in the stereo and listen to those for hours.

Flowers. I received flowers. One bunch from one of my drivers, the other bunch from my grand-sons. I love flowers, any time, for any reason. I didn't put up a lot of Christmas decorations, but of what I did, I've taken down half.  It's too cold to go out to the shed for the boxes.  SO, I'm mixing my holidays with a little Christmas through Lent.

Perhaps, since it's still Winter, I have these months to heal. Then with Spring I can feel refreshed, ready to lift my face to the sky and feel the warmth of life washing over me. Maybe it's too soon to worry about the "beginnings". I'll think about those later.

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