Thursday, March 15, 2018

After the worst year ever...

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I have been far more absent than present of late. The past year or so has rocked me off of my foundations and I currently lack the spoons to do much of anything. In November of 2016 my husband fell ill. In February of last year the cause was determined to be pancreatic cancer. Three days later he was whisked into surgery for ten hours to have half his pancreas, half his stomach, his duodenum (the part of the intestine connected to the stomach), his gall bladder, and over 30 lymph nodes removed. We were hopeful that, indeed, surgery had managed to remove all the cancer and he would be one of the lucky few who survive this devastating illness. Once surgical recovery was done chemotherapy started. Several trips a week to the infusion center, for chemo, for fluids, for shots to bolster his immune system, not to mention the inevitable hospitalizations when those efforts failed.

Through all this I maintained a stoic exterior. I went to every appointment, talked to every doctor and nurse, and continued to keep life as normal as possible for everyone. I drove the kids to work and school, did the shopping and cleaning, tempted my husband to eat even when he wasn't hungry, and, in general, tried to soldier on as if normalcy could drive the shadow from our doorstep.

My efforts were futile. In January his condition deteriorated to the point where no more treatments were possible and he was transitioned to hospice care. Four weeks later he was dead. I knew it was coming, I thought I was prepared...but nothing prepares you to lose your partner of 36 years. And now I am adrift. I spend every day seconds away from a panic attack. The nervous churning in my gut is a constant. Sleep eludes me at night and dogs me during the day. Food is an uphill battle...and I cannot seem to get anything accomplished, even though there is a pile of urgent matters I need to tackle.

At the best of times I have issues with communicating verbally. Face to face is difficult, and just the thought of speaking on the telephone sends me huddling in a corner. Yet there are urgent phone calls to be made, and I no longer have a partner to delegate those tasks to. I also need to go back to work. After a decade of freelancing while I divided my time between home and caring for my aging father, I now have to somehow convince an employer that I am worthy of hiring at the ripe old age of 59. The cost of battling cancer has left me deeply in debt, with all my retirement and savings long gone.

So...for many reasons I haven't been as visible as I once was. I may become even less visible as I struggle to climb back out of the emotional and financial pit I have fallen into. But I haven't forgotten you. I want to come back. I even have some wonderful ideas percolating that, with luck, may even make it onto the page.

Miss you all very much.