It’s all about balance – this cancer management thing, I mean.
This week, it’s been balancing my need to just heal with the oncologist’s need to do LOTS of tests. But I’ve been able to spend my healing and resting time productively. I’ve taken many of the hours with my arm elevated to reflect on how essential balance is in every area, between the cancer and non-cancer parts of life.
For example, I have to balance my need to be independent and strong with my need to have help. Days 1 and 2 of chemotherapy seem to be fine, all the sedatives and pain drugs make the first two days pretty much a blur. Days 3 and 4 are not too bad, since they are weekend days, I can get IV fluids at home, and I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. Plus there are lots of big kids around to spoil me. I think it’s day 5 that got me this time. The Emend and Aloxi (superspecial IV antiemetics) are done and gone, Emily and Brian are at school, and life is supposed to return to normal. NOT. The oncologist thinks that it was getting dehydrated on days 5 and 6 that got me this past time. He called it “the precipitating event”….
But anyway, back to balance. Obviously, I want my parents here for Christmas. The kids REALLY want them here. However, I NEED more help on days 5 and 6. So we made a trade off. My mom and dad aren’t going to come down until after Christmas, with my sister, AJ and the boys, but my dad is also going to fly down next Sunday, to take care of things on days 4, 5 and 6 of this cycle. Then, they’re also going to be able to stay through days 4, 5 and 6 of my NEXT cycle. Once Jane thought of the idea, and my dad was able to get a reasonably priced plane ticket and clear his schedule, it was obvious that asking for help was the right choice. My anxiety level about the next round of chemotherapy has gone way down.
But it’s tough when I have to make judgements about balancing my needs with the kids needs. Like yesterday. Brian LOVES soccer. He loves it more than he loves just about anything else except George. He was invited to a special training session for kids that the league thinks are good candiates to move from challenge up to classic (the two levels of competitive soccer, as opposed to recreational soccer) … If I wasn’t doing chemotherapy and all, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I would have piled everybody in the car and driven 16 miles away in late afternoon traffic out to Matthews. No problem. So I had to decide if it was fair for Brian to have to miss out on something important to him, or if I should put forth a little extra effort use my last bit of remaining energy for a non-essential errand.
How do you balance two opposing needs? My need to make things as normal as possible for my children versus my need to be still and rest? My need to shelter them from excessive stress and worry with their need to know why I can’t do everything they want me to do?
One other tough one is trying to find the right balance between extra responsibilities for the big kids, and their need to still be kids. Sure, it would be easier for me if Sam, Emily and Brian stayed in every afternoon to do more chores and totally take care of the little guys. And I think they probably do more around here than the vast majority of their peers… I mean, how many 9 year olds can competently, confidently, happily change a diaper, feed a baby, rock him to sleep and settle him down for a nap? But that same 9 year old needs lots of outside time for his physical and mental health. How do I find the right balance?
Hmmmm….. no easy answers, I think.