Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Better Part of Valor

It’s stated that discretion is the better part of valor and I don’t disagree which I suppose would make me a coward since discretion is not at all my strong suit. After whatever happened two weeks ago where I was unconscious at the end of it, I tried to deal with the two parties that didn’t handle this well, Kiana’s mom and my job, and share some information with them. In my work, it ended up creating a hassle but my doctor filled out all paperwork to where that’s resolved. With Kiana’s mother, I hope it helps us get into counseling where we figure out both how to improve our coparenting communication and to put a plan in place in case the custody situation ever needs to change for medical reasons, both things which I more than concede will be rather difficult because signing up for my daughter to spend more time with a guy who would offer his parents’ house during the scariest and weakest point in my life while actively lying to both our families isn’t someone whose ethics I want my daughter to have anything but minimal exposure to. But perhaps, in one of those measurements of increased impulsivity, I should figure more of this out before telling them within 24 hours. Like too much of my life, there is no clear road map.

The doctor called me yesterday to come into his office where the second opinions of my case had been weighed in. It appears that we didn’t get close to having a seizure in the tests though to no one’s surprise there showed some irregular activity in the left temporal lobe. There also didn’t appear to be anywhere near enough keppra in my bloodflow several hours after I had taken the last dosage. I was told to do another blood sample this morning now having been on the higher dosage for a couple of weeks and to do it very shortly after taking it for a comparison. It turns out the blood work reveals I have very efficient kidneys and liver which means electrolytes need to be kept well tuned. (I’ve never been much of a drinker because it takes me forever to feel the alcohol and now we have medical confirmation as to why though the conversation had enough electrolyte mention to where I might have bought some Gatorade on the way home). We’ll see what this new blood work shows sometime next week.

After the doctor’s appointment, I went out and did a track workout and headed home afterwards, giving the princess a bath in which her splashing made too big of a mess in the bathroom. While that was going on, I got a text message that my aunt had died of cancer. She’d been struggling for a while so no one was surprised but we were all disappointed and heart broken. It had originated as breast cancer and spread to her bones and eventually would take her but her children and husband were there in the end and they say she seemed at peace with it. Hearing this messed with my emotions in a thousand directions. I certainly thought of the discretion factor in that they were more discreet about it than I’ll ever be. I sat and did more of the brain rehab games in one night than I had done in months because of course that will cure cancer. I sat and remember the times my aunt fed me as a kid and the jokes we traded as adults. She came by a few weeks after the diagnosis and I am disappointed in me that the first time I’ll “be there for her” in a while is at her memorial service. I recognized a little more the significance of what the doctor told me about the “upside” of brain cancer, that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body because those cells aren’t anywhere else. I called Kiana’s mom and asked her to watch her since 5 is probably too young for a memorial service of someone she didn’t know that well. I told her why she wouldn’t be staying at home tonight and she had a few questions about a memorial service. I answered as well as I could but then couldn’t hold it together any longer and just hugged her and tried to cry as discreetly as I could hoping it’s a long time before she ever has to attend a memorial service of anyone she’s close to. As I saw and watched people post pictures and sentiments on facebook about my aunt, I echoed again the sentiments of organizations like cancer sucks and mAss kickers.

Even knowing I wouldn’t sleep great, I had no objection when Kiana asked to sleep in my bed. I moved some money from my checkings into that saving account that I started to try to take that trip to Disneyland. While I usually run at night, I got up (and by got up just simply acknowledge I wasn’t sleeping that well) and ran at the crack of dawn this morning. After breakfast I headed over for some more bloodwork. November 4th, 2010, I’d never had a health insurance claim EVER. March 21st, 2012 I’m in my 7th medical appointment this month. A guy in the lobby Arch, 85 years old and like me an over sharer, starts telling me about how they’ve taken cancer things out of him 4 times, 1972, 1983, 1996, and 2005 and about how much more impressed he is with the new technology. I hear about this and plenty more about his grandkids and his job (which he loves so much he’s still doing it at 85). I just listen to this man who is speaking loud enough and indiscreetly enough to where quite a few people can hear him. Another man in the lobby also there for some bloodwork, although for heart issues, says “I hope I get to make your age no matter what and thank you for sharing” as he gets called in.

The guy who is going to help me train for the bike ride is 15 years surviving but has a tattoo of his brother’s name who died not too long after the diagnosis. There are many times where it’s strange to be known by something I don’t remember and can’t control but I try to keep aware, that for as long as possible, that I’d much rather have part of my life be known for it than simply to be remembered for it.

I process this infilitration of my brain in a lot of ways. Cognitive rehab, running, raising money for both research and awareness, this blog but above all else, the human connections help me get through the day. When first diagnosed, I read a blog of someone who kept track of their medical appointments on a tumor in a different area and it helped me to know that someone else had sentiments that rhymed. Last night an aunt died of cancer, today I listened to someone share how they’ve beaten it four times and will turn 86 soon. Who knows what camp I’ll end up in and who if anyone will be there to hold my hand on the way out whenever or whatever I die of, but the graciousness of all these types of people is where I get the little valor I have. And I feel no need to be discreet about that.

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