All the time.
Every fucking day.
It is a constant and relentless bitch on our backs.
Generally speaking the normal anxiety level in our home is like a 7 (out of 10). We have significant stress from the myriad health issues we deal with. As part of his autism, Nathan doesn't transition well, and even with enough notice that we're about to make a transition (like, "this is the last TV show, then we're going to take an outside break") there's potential for him to have a meltdown. Gotta make sure the kid has zero strikes--so his tummy's gotta be full, and his brain's gotta be working properly for him to transition. Isaac, tell him it's the last show, and it's the last show; not too much push back. No potential for a meltdown. But with Nathan, there's always potential for meltdown. Always.
Like any family, there are certain times our anxiety increases. Generally speaking, our high anxiety times, like most families, are breakfast, lunch and dinner, wake up and bed times, and getting to and from school during the school year. And every single one of those involves transition. And, you read the previous paragraph, right? Nathan doesn't transition well. Potential for meltdown. Seriously.
But, unlike other families, my family has so many medical appointments, that we have anxiety about them, even if they are not for another couple of weeks. For example, in the immediate days after Randy's first chemo on 7/13, we started asking questions: will his reaction be as bad? Will he be worse? Better? Since he's on 1/3 of the dose they originally gave him, will he be on his ass 1/3 of the time (so only 3 days instead of 9) or will he feel 1/3 as bad as he did? Or, maybe, because they reduced the dose, but will ultimately increase the frequency of doses as well as having a new anti-nausea medication schedule, he won't have any nausea at all and he'll feel totally fine. I'm trying to be optimistic, here, people!
Randy starts back to chemotherapy on Wednesday, August 3. And while I know, and we know, that that's still a week away, and that we need to deal with just being in the moment, my reality is there are details to work out and plans to be made.
He cannot drive, he will need me to take him to chemo, which is fine and I can totally do it. I need to be with him; he needs me to be with him during the infusion. I never took one of my 12 infusions alone. Not one. I am thankful that I have people who love me and who went with me and kept me company. It's not that it's gross; it's just that it's a lot to deal with and can be overwhelming. Randy came with me to my first chemo infusion, because I was scared outta my gourd and needed my partner in crime to be by my side. But for the remaining 11 infusions, I had Florence or Caitlin or Jen with me; sometimes I'd have two of my friends, because they are that supportive and I am that loved. And I am that thankful. My friends at my chemo appointments was what kept me going; talking, laughing, coloring, drinking smoothies and coffee, eating snacks. And lots of chocolate. Really, we just hung out, and I was medicated with marijuana and getting my toxic medicine in order to beat the breast cancer that tried to kill me. It was all good and I got through it. And Randy was with the boys. And I felt at peace about it because they were with their other parent.
But, when Randy goes back to chemo on Wednesday 8/13, we need to have child care. Someone who can be present with my children while their father receives a toxic medicine to cure his cancer. From 6:45 am until we get home...around noon...maybe...we're trying to find out how long the infusion will take. We don't know yet, but will know soon. I hope. Like later today. Randy's at the cancer center right now, getting his fluids. He's alone. I participated in the meeting with the medical oncologist via FaceTime. And I am thankful for our friend who could take him to the cancer center, and bring him home. My anxiety is through the roof. Because my husband is alone. But it's just fluids, it's not chemo. It's just fluids...it's just fluids...it's just fluids.....
And he's going to need fluids probably on Monday and Friday. So each of those days, he'll likely be alone at the cancer center. It's too soon to know for sure; and it's ultimately his decision. He may want to be alone while he gets fluids so that he can get a nap or write or color or whatever.
But, from day one of Randy's Cancer Adventure, I've been saying that this is his health and his experience and his cancer is different than mine and that he's a different person and things will proceed differently than they proceeded with mine.
And so far I've been right. I'm totally brilliant, you guys.
And then there's the entire food thing.
Jesus the food issues in my home.
But that's a blog for another time.
And then there's the number of different medications we're on.
Which is also a blog post for another time.
Because Randy Anderson just texted me and is on his way home.