And its been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
~ Counting Crows

I noticed today that I woke up feeling very impatient and angry. I thought back to when my adoptive mother had cancer and I would get irritated at the disease sometimes and start to think, “Okay it’s time to get well now. Life MUST go back to normal and it must go back to normal NOW.”

I am feeling that way today.

It’s the first time since Michael got sick that I felt truly tired of the whole damn thing. I’ve wanted to scream at the thought of losing him but I haven’t felt like my patience for living for cancer is running out. But today I feel that patience absolutely evaporating. I just want to scream my way back to the way life was before.

I want to shout, “ENOUGH!” I have had enough. I want it all to stop. I want to go back to last September and make the seizure and the diagnosis to have never happened. I want these last 3 months to not have happened. I want my life back. And I want it now.

After my father died and my mother died and some other relatives who fought a battle with cancer died, I never forgot the way that cancer upends your life. Whenever I would hear of someone with a loved one with cancer and hear about hospital stays and chemotherapy and radiation and living with the disease, I would be catapaulted back to those days. And even sometimes when I hadn’t heard anything, I would be grateful for my normal life because I knew what it was like to be living with cancer. The thing they call THE BIG C. There’s a reason why it’s called the BIG C. Because it takes over your life in ways that seem like this growing thing with tentacles. Wrapping up your life in its grip and not willing to let go.

And I hate it.

I’ve been a loving and patient spouse since he got sick and patience is not a big part of my personality. I’ve weathered all the storms with a minimum of freaking out. But today I just want things to go back to the way they used to be.

I’m crying angry tears for the first time in a while. Just anger at the whole “living with cancer” thing. Anger at not having my own space and my own schedule. My anger at being beholden to a medication schedule and visits by strangers. I hate it. I hate it all.

Before Michael got sick, we were very private people. We don’t like people dropping in. We value our time together and our privacy. It’s something we’ve both been fiercely protective of since the beginning of our relationship. With a slew of kids and crazy schedules we have always tried to keep the social visits to an absolute minimum. I know people who love to have people over. Who love to entertain and have guests. Maybe I was that person once upon a time…but after I met Michael and we combined our lives, there needed to be down time in order to do all that we needed to do…and we moved the other way. We practically nailed a KEEP OUT sign to our front door.

Sometimes people might have thought we were antisocial. But we had such little time to ourselves that we guarded our privacy like a state secret. We didn’t want to seem unwelcoming or antisocial but there was only so much of us to go around. And we had to ration it. So we kept our home private and visitors to a minimum. We preferred to meet friends out and be social in other places while our own home remained a safe and quiet sanctuary. It’s something we’ve always valued about our space and each other.

Now that’s gone. GONE. GONE. GONE.

Now that place is like Grand Central Station. Everyone is coming and going every day. Hospice. Visitors. Delivery people. Who knows who else.

I know that hospice is not only wonderful but Michael has improved since they’ve been on the scene. I don’t know how/why that works like that, but it does. And I’m grateful for that but still resentful over the need for them. And I like each of them and the great care they give Michael. While hating that they are here all the same.

People have suggested a home health aide. Between the hospice people and the private care giver who will be living here permanently as of next week and the more frequent visits by the kids and friends (all of whom I love, but still), I feel that my life is not my own. My house is not my own.

They’re bringing in a hospital bed and it will go in the living room. I will have a hospital bed in my living room. Next to the pool table. My hardwood floors don’t stay clean and shiny anymore. Things are a mess all the time it seems. When the weather is bad everyone is tracking mud into my house. Things get messed up and displaced. My housekeeper is ready to quit.

I know that my husband’s health and comfort is more important than decor and organization but I’m not having a fun time with any of this. My kitchen counter is full of medications. My bathroom is full of contraptions and disposable gloves. I don’t know where anything is. I wash towels and clothes twenty times a day. I cook and I clean far more than I’m used to. I do it, most days, with a modicum of tolerance but some days I just want to rant and rave. Today is one of those days.

Where is my life that I once knew before this dreadful disease came and took it away? Where is it?

It’s been a long December. One of the longest on record. And I’m tired and I’m angry and I’m not in a comfortable place.

I hate the BIG C and all that it brings.

It would be nice to have my life back. But that’s not going to happen. I just have to make the best of it and acknowledge my anger when it threatens to bubble over. And shake my fist at the sky and wish that everything could go back to how it used to be.

And then turn my attention back to the matter at hand. Caring for someone who has loved me unconditionally. Once I get the temper tantrum out I can turn back to that. Because it is what matters. And the BIG C cannot take that away from me or from him.

No it cannot.