calendula_witch (calendula_witch) wrote,

Honesty vs. Discretion vs. Chemo Sucks

First off: perfectly reasonable drive home, no weather, nothing weird. I ended up not leaving till after 10am; I'd been aiming for 9am, and I did my yoga before I left (yay), but everything takes longer than you think it will...anyway, absolutely not a lick of traffic, and I even got A+ rockstar parking when I arrived (I was worried that I'd be trading traffic fail for parking fail, but I got lucky). So, oh well, it's after 9pm now and I'm just sort of getting situated; but, it's worth it.

Reason to live in a city: my driving gloves (which I have to wear on these long drives or I get blisters, and in fact I get them anyway, but not nearly as bad as I would if I didn't wear them), the left one has been getting harder and harder to unsnap. This evening, I simply could not undo it, not with one hand. Damnit damnit damnit. And of course there's nobody, I walked across the street to the bodega and asked the very bemused clerk to unsnap it. Which, with two hands, was trivial. I'm sure he thinks I'm insane; but, I'm no longer wearing one bright yellow driving glove, so I'm good.

criada arrives tomorrow; we're going to rent a truck and remove the last things from the ex's house on Wednesday. I am deeply, profoundly grateful that she is coming down to do this with me. Moral support, hand-holding, and, yes, heavy lifting. :-)


Anyway. To the topic at hand.

So, I had a stupidly difficult weekend, this past one. jaylake's chemo is always hard for me, and I know that, and I've developed ways of dealing with it and allowing for it, and they've been working reasonably well.

This time they didn't work. I really just never "came back" from that off-balance, touchy, hypersensitive, scary-exhausted place I go during the infusion session. Not fully. I mean, I functioned, more or less; I got some important and some ordinary things done, and I unplugged the needle, and I had brief chunks of time where I felt kind of more normal; but, basically, I was a wreck all weekend.

I can think of any number of reasons why this might be so: cumulative emotional impact of ever-worsening chemo side effects. Still getting over this massive wretched awful cold. Moving stress/house stress and excitement/divorce stress/massive life upheaval stress. Etc.

But. It doesn't really matter why; it matters how I cope with it, deal with it, and how it affects others.

Small bit of background/digression: jaylake and I have a set-in-stone policy of honesty and full disclosure, in our relationship. It's how we've made this complex, multifaceted, challenging, deeply rewarding, very unusual, unique and magnificent relationship work at all. We tell each other everything: what we are doing, what we are thinking, what we are feeling, what we are writing, what other people say to us--everything. Even the hard stuff. ESPECIALLY the hard stuff. I in particular come from past relationships where the hard stuff was avoided, brushed aside, not faced or dealt with....and, of course, it didn't go away; it just grew and grew and took over, and that's why I'm not in any of those past relationships any longer.

I LOVE our honesty. I LOVE that I can say anything--I don't have to self-censor, I don't have to worry that I will get "in trouble" for something that I have done or something that I am thinking or feeling. Sure, sometimes these things are not wonderful, and we do have difficult moments working some of this stuff out; but we always come out the other side stronger, happier, more trusting, more deeply connected.

So that's us going into chemo.

Well chemo sucks. It drains his energy, it screws up his digestion, it produces, as they say, "sexual side effects." Worst of all, it messes with his mind. He forgets things, he misunderstands things, he gets things wrong.

And he gets a total bye for this. He really does. We all understand what's going on here, and why; I know that he is not misunderstanding me because he wants to hurt me. Quite the opposite. But he is emotional and angry and frightened and weak and sick and his brain isn't behaving the way any of us are accustomed to its behaving.

I don't think I'm overstating it here. Chemo sucks.

And the stupid, crazy, insidious thing about it is: there are big chunks of time where he seems perfectly "himself," perfectly normal. We'll have a fantastic conversation; his energy will be up, he will track and make the lightning-quick connections that only he can make; he'll remember things I forgot; he'll be his old self. Now, I don't ever forget that the Chemo Demon will swoop down again; but I may be letting myself get lulled into some kind of complacency or relaxation or *something*, there. I don't know.

Anyway. The thing I'm struggling with here is the nexus between the "full disclosure" part of our relationship and the "total bye" aspect of being on chemo. Because sometimes things do happen which upset me. Things that he does. Which, if I were a saint, or better at self-deception, I could ignore or shrug off or not let them affect me.

But I have been so trained--and thank god--to speak up when things aren't working for me. (And it's STILL really hard for me to do's a pretty darn new thing for me, and I know I could certainly learn to do it more gracefully...but the fact that I do it at all, now, is to be treasured, I think.)

So I do. And what Jay now hears is: "You failed. Again." And it hurts him. And I hate that.

So I tell myself, Jesus, woman, cut the man some slack. He's on chemo. Get over your princessy self.

And I utterly completely decide to suck it up, to keep something to myself, to give him that bye that I really am giving him. And then I blurt it out anyway, when we talk. Or I lie awake from midnight to three a.m. staring at the ceiling stewing over it, and then tell him in the morning, and hurt him, and make him unhappy....


Thing is, I don't think I CAN any more hold this stuff in. I'm barely holding it together myself, a lot of the times. He's my strength, my rock, my partner, the person I bring all my stuff to. And, furthermore, if I hold something in, he knows it anyway. Even on chemo, he reads me like I'm completely transparent.


So. No answer here; not even a question, really. Just, airing this all out, all this stuff that bounced around in my sleep-starved head on the long drive, trying to make some sense of it.

Two more sessions. Almost there.

Fuck cancer.
Tags: cancer, chemo, driving, jay, personal
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