When day four intersects with Saturday

Several times today I have felt so weak and tired that I have had to sit on the floor wherever i was (usually the kitchen) for a while, until I got some strength back to either get to the sofa or finish what I was doing.



which all in all wasn’t a bad thing, since my roses from Dixon from Valentine’s Day were in the kitchen.  George was as fascinated with the flowers as he was with the snow, but in a vastly more positive way.  Everyone who walked in the house, George had to take their hand and lead them to Daddy’s Flowers.

During one of my “have to get horizontal” episodes today (which are very typical for post-chemo day four) I talked to a friend on the phone who used fancy platitudes disguised as physics quotes about objects at rest staying at rest and all… and said perhaps I was doing too much.



Like dyeing sample skeins of yarn to find the right color to finish another found old project…   but that was FUN!  It wasn’t a hard project, and playing with colors made me happy.  So I guess it was truly not necessary, but good for my spirit.  How do you decide?Stay on the sofa or make pretty yarn????



Or what about all the family care?  People need to eat, and most of their clothes were still wet from multiple trips out to play in the snow, and Danny needs all sorts of things, and  you can’t leave George unsupervised for a single second… Sure I could delegate more to Sam but he was studying and he took Brian out for lunch, and did a whole list of chores with the cars..  Brian, who usually carries most of the load had four hours of orchestra stuff today, and way too much homework…  Some of the family care things can be left undone, or left for Dixon, and you know, even Danny and George can help out, but still, somebody has to be in charge.  Thus, waffles for supper.  You know my friend Maureen… she delivered 5/6 of my babies… she gave us a restaurant grade heavy duty Belgian waffle maker for Christmas.  It’s not too hard to find somebody else to do the standing up in the kitchen when they can make waffles….

But seriously, though, how do you decide what to do and what not to do?  I feel like I have already given so much up… I used to volunteer for everything, and be on every board and in every group.  Now my only outside activity besides my book club is teaching Sunday school and I have so much help with that, they practically don’t even need me to show up.  But if I did nothing, and just slept all day, maybe I wouldn’t hurt so much but it seems to me that very soon I would lose the little stamina I still have left.  Plus I’d be sad and lonely and bored.

My husband and my children tell me that my only job round here is to deal with chemo and to love them.  They say they would be perfectly happy if I didn’t do anything else.  The only problem with that is that I haven’t quite trained them to do everything that really does need to get done, even if they think it’s not essential…. we are at a tough transition point, and have had long discussions about how to manage this as things move along with my cancer.



So then I find sit-down things to do… the color is TOTALLY not accurate, but the first of my Aunt Nancy’s Rosary socks is done, Luminous mysteries all through.  Knitting is a good thing, it keeps me sitting still but also lets me feel like i am accomplishing something.  Plus it helps so much with my prayer life, which is critically important at the moment.  But again, it’s not simple.  When I get a new blood clot in my chest, I can’t knit.  When my lymphedema is really bad, and i have to be wrapped up from fingertips to shoulders, I can’t knit.  And how do you prioritize a hundred people who would really, truly love a pair of hand knit socks made with 19,200 prayers, not even counting the heels and toes?

It’s Saturday.  I didn’t play outside with my kids.  As a matter of fact, George didn’t even go outside all day.  I am usually totally caught up with laundry, but today there are only exactly as many pair of clean church pants as there are boys who need them tomorrow, not a single extra pair.   I did no decluttering, wrote no thank you notes, and forgot to cut Danny’s fingernails.

However.  (there is always a “however”)  … i made it through the day of maximal cell lysis and death from this week’s chemo, the day when my body is most flooded with toxic waste from all the cells that the poisons on Tuesday killed.  I spent quality time with 80 % of my children, and even more quality time with some insurance lady on the phone about paying for my blood thinners.  Everybody ate, everybody got their music practice done, and George can now read the word “brother” …

How do you decide what is enough?  How hard to push, for my family’s sake as well as to keep up my stamina and my mental health?  How negative is the impact on boys of various ages when mama misjudges her strength and ends up a weepy heap on the kitchen floor?  I know nobody can answer these tough questions for us, especially since it seems like the “right” answers change every day….   sigh.  One thing for sure, it’s definitely time for sleep, I have like 30 second graders who know I am going to tell them the story of the Battle of Lepanto tomorrow and I need to be at my best for that one.

Love and hugs… and no, I haven’t forgotten about the rest of the sock (and not-sock) stories… I just needed to get these questions off my chest tonight.

17 thoughts on “When day four intersects with Saturday

  1. I so feel for you and understand! But, and here comes the but – could you just be a little bit less hard on yourself? You are an MD, and yes details matter a lot – and you still try to be on top of everything and this in the CHEMO WEEK!!!!! Yes, a crushed mother-heap on the kitchen floor might be scary for little boys who cannot understand……Loosen up for the sake of your sanity and the health of your family, just knit your day away if you have to. You do not have to be perfect…… Next week, when the worst of “war” in your body is behind you, will be better! Hoping for you a lot.

    Your BC-sister

  2. Actually, next week will be worse. my chemo regimen calls for infusion every week for three weeks, as long as my blood counts are at least sort of OK, and then one week off for recovery. Each week gets harder. At first, I felt pretty good that whole week off,but as the toxicity has accumulated, I’m still pretty weak and sick going into the first round of the next set of three. I am hoping, therefore, that my cancer cells are no longer recovering fully between sets,either.

  3. One thing around here is for sure, doesn’t change and is Forever…you are LOVED sweet Elizabeth and I’ve said before…no matter how much you accomplish in an hour or a day…or a year..you are teaching Life lessons to your family and friends! Not just anybody can do that! I thank God every day that you came walking in my shop and that you chose me and a lot of Scrapbooking mamas as friends.. this.journey is YOURS and I see nothing you should feel guilty about, but then again that’s what us mamas do best…so all of us should read this and tell ourselves the same thing…not to be so hard on ourselves and now, I’m off my soapbox and hope you’re feeling better… Love, Prayers and Hugs!

  4. I have no answers for you, only prayers. You must live life as you see fit. Love your blogs and your pictures. I am so sorry for your struggles. God Bless you and your family.

  5. I’m so sorry. I deal with the same questions because of my Crohn’s disease. If i do this activity, will I be spending my time wisely? Or will it keep me from something more important? Even if technically there’s enough time for both, I could very well not have enough energy. A trip to the library wears me out, even if I’m not the one driving. It’s so frustrating, and I’m very sorry you are having to deal with it.

  6. We keep you and your family in our constant prayers…I’m so glad that you can knit most days, it can be such a powerful prayer and meditation piece and in the end you have a tangible prayer…I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know 🙂

  7. Sending lots of love and hugs your way. You are such a loving and courageous woman. As I send out information about Virginia Suzuki Institute I have been thinking about all of the wonderful things that you and your kids are such an important part of at the camp. All of the “VSI family” sends our love to your family and send loving thoughts and prayers especially to you. Please be kind to yourself and just enjoy your knitting as you recover from your chemo. All of the other stuff will wait. You are truly an amazing inspiration to us all. Love, Nan

  8. Miss Elizabeth, You are a ROCK star!! A woman of faith and deep love. I know it drives you crazy not to do what you used to but now God is calling you to a much tougher fight. So let go and let God. One undone chore at a time. KNow that we pray with you and for you! Hugs friend…and LOTS of LOVE!!

  9. It is time for you to be a Mary and not a Martha. Spend time at His feet and let His peace and healing spirit fill you up!! We love you and miss you.

  10. Dear Elizabeth,

    My dear, big {{hugs}}

    You ask, “How do you decide what is enough? How hard to push, for my family’s sake as well as to keep up my stamina and my mental health? How negative is the impact on boys of various ages when mama misjudges her strength and ends up a weepy heap on the kitchen floor?”

    This is something that rides on my heart every day since my brain tumor and subsequent physical disability ….. I definitely have more misjudgments of my energy and weeps that affect my kids than I would care to!! And then I feel so bad! And they swear that they understand, but …. **sigh** So raising them? That,s my priority. No socializing. No errands. I pay the price all day or more for every hour I spend holding my body up outside the house. No making any sort of effort to do any sort of chore: I pay a huge price (and then so do my kids in consequence) ….

    So for me, the answer is that I gave everything up Except:: raising and homeschooling my kids; playing music at church; being Avowed to my Monastic Order …. This is the way it has to be. Mostly, these days, I am at peace with it. Physically for me, every little thing is difficult or impossible. Day by day, running the house, probably that’s the thing I feel worst about that my kids have to be responsible for: all meals, laundry, housecleaning …. They’ve had to grow up a lot these past few years.

    I try to be as self-disciplined as possible:: be the best mother I possibly can, homeschool them as well as I can, remain close to God and my Vows.

    We stumble and fall; we all have our crosses; but with God, all things are possible, right?


  11. Elizabeth, you are the HEART of our Sunday School Class and it gives me so much joy to see you radiate the love of Christ to our students! Really, you glow! You shine! It is contagious and such a gift and witness to these children! Thank you for your selfless gift. You are loved by so many!!

  12. Dear Elizabeth,
    I am a stranger but I have come to your blog b/c of the intercrossing of blogs I follow : Ginny/AnnV/Eliz.Foss/Ponderedinmyheart/likemotherlikedaughter. (I also knit and like knitting socks 🙂 your sock story is just precious and original. Bless you.
    I am commenting tonight to share that I offered my Mass intention for you today- and for your loved ones. I am awed by your generosity and joy. We attend a TLM and the epistle reading for Septuagesima Sunday is 1 Cor 9:24-27 + a wee bit in 10
    and you came to my heart and mind as I wondered Saint Paul’s words about running the race. You are living God’s will for your life and experiencing so much suffering- bearing eternal fruit. May my small prayers in some way bring you comfort.

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