Sunday, April 12, 2015

How I spent my Easter vacation

Day 1 – April 3rd, Good Friday

I got to sleep in. Yup, I didn’t have to get up early (read: 5 am) and run, which was a good thing because the night before I spent hanging out at the surgical ward with my Dad who had just been admitted to the hospital.

Yup. Didn’t know what was going on with my Dad other than the fact that he may bleed to death as a result of this necessary surgery. I don’t know about you but if I was going to get to pick the one fact about my Dad I could know at that moment, his impending death would not be the factoid I would choose. #justsaying

The details that I knew at the time where very little and not very reliable so it was more like me trying to patch together a story out of half truths. Kind of like how you must feel reading my blog!

So something about a rapidly growing possibly cancerous growth on the side of my Dad’s neck and something about a biopsy and something about needing chemo because if this “tumor” keeps growing untreated over the next two weeks, well, my Dad won’t see the end of those 2 weeks.

Sounds all alarming and shit; however, it’s cancer, so actually it just sounds like the typical trajectory of a patient who has been diagnosed with cancer. At least that’s how I see it, which btw is kind of off putting for all those around me who don’t view the world like me. Oh, and telling those other people who think differently than me (i.e., everyone else) that we are all going to die, and that all of us are going to get cancer eventually if we insist on staying alive long enough, usually does not make them feel better. #justsaying

The good news was my visit with my Dad was awesome. My Dad was thoroughly entertained with stories of my non-dating dating life and of course he loved when I did some readings from my blog. Even the nurses got involved but it was mostly to ask me if I could read my blog quietly because there were too many F-bombs coming from the room. Apparently there is some correlation between recovery time from surgery and exposure to profanity.  Although, I’m dubious because when I asked to see the evidence to support that statement it was met with the closing of the room door. 

Well at least I could finally drop my F-bombs in peace.

So back to Good Friday!  While my Dad was having surgery I hung out with my Mom. We also had a lovely time together. Made me think how cool it would be to hang out more when not faced with the imminent death of a family member. #ToDoList

The cool thing about end of life is I get to espouse my views on death and dying, which are pretty awesome if I do say so myself (#futureblogpost), and no one looks at me like I have a third arm growing out of the left frontal lobe of my brain. Nope. It is perfectly reasonable to talk about death when people are dying or close to dying. And to be clear when I say people are dying I do not mean in the Sylvia Plath way (we are all dying from the second we are born) I mean in the let’s finalize the will and pick out the tombstone kind of dying.

So yes, I learned a valuable social skill on that Good Friday: it is ok to talk about death when people are dying. I also learned that people still don’t find it funny when you refer to Jesus as a zombie because of the whole resurrection thing. Also the level of hilarity of Zombie Jesus does not increase in probability based on the fact that someone in your immediate family may die of cancer. Although, you may be excused for your talk of the Zombie Jesus because of some kind of perceived shock people think you may be in from hearing the news that your Dad may die.  #LifeLessons #SocialSkills

So my Dad survived the surgery and was going to start his first of 6 cycles of Chemo. Yay!

I can’t remember what else happened that day but I probably went home and had a nap and then continued my marathon of Bloodline.

Day 2 – slept, ate and watched Bloodline.

Day 3 – ran, slept, ate and watched Bloodline.

Day 4 – Easter Monday (aka Zombie Jesus day) – met with my designer regarding my pattern making for my own line of running clothes. Yeah, I’ve fallen behind a bit so we met to see if we could get me moving again. I’ve been so tired lately, likely because of my ultra marathon training and lack of appropriate levels of sleep due to that whole Dad-Cancer-Possibly-Dying thing. I feel behind on so much right now. And yeah sure, where I think I should be is some arbitrary place that I have decided on based on my perfectionist view of the world, so I’m not taking it as bad as I normally would have. Although, that could just be depression…

Photo taken w/o permission from Johnfdtaff
Saw my coach, talked about training and I bought some new shoes. Apparently when one runs a stupid amount of mileage they need to replace their running shoes more. Fuck! I need a sponsor!! These shoes are like $170 a pop. And I’m replacing them every 3 months!

Probably spent the rest of the day dreaming up inventive ways to get sponsorship from Adidas/Nike for not being an elite athlete but for being me. I’m sure there is a way I can get sponsorship for being a cute & adorable writer with a hilariously awesome blog who manages to stay super amazing and stylish despite suffering from a Major Depressive Disorder, right!? Oh! And we can also add to the "I’m a cute & adorable, hilariously-awesome-stylish-depressed blogger" list: Dad may “possibly” die of cancer

I feel there is a sponsorship in that story somewhere…

Day 5-7 - ran all three days, went to the gym to lift weights on Day 5 but didn’t make it to the gym for Day 7 because I was at the hospital with my lovely awesome Mom and sister to take my Dad through the steps required for him to start chemo the next day.

BTW there were A LOT of steps. Like a whole day worth of steps!

So yeah, fun Andrea fact: I’m a very dramatic (sometimes referred to as explosive) person at times and one of those times is when I process uncomfortable emotions (say emotions that may be brought up if one’s Dad has cancer and is about to start chemo the next day).

Additional fun Andrea fact: I like to process my emotions alone. I do not like other people to see me fall apart.

Best place for Andrea to process her uncomfortable emotions while hanging out at the hospital with a shitload of other people: The Hospital Chapel

I got to tell you, if you ever want to be alone at a hospital go to the chapel. NO ONE is there. I mean, if someone is there, they are likely to be so distraught they won’t care if you break down and cry and snot all over yourself; there will be no judgement. Which is actually kind of ironic for me, as I have always felt judged in religious settings.

And my logic was solid. There was no one at the Chapel. I went in and sat in the 2nd pew on the right hand side. I wasn’t sure why I chose to sit there at first and then I started crying and you know what? If you sit behind another pew you can rest your arms and head on its back, which makes for a good position for your body to let all your emotions out.  #LifeLesson

Anyways, I don’t know how long I hung out there but it was long enough for me to snot right through both sleeves of my shirt (5 minutes?!). Then I went home, ate food, talked to no one and watched Bloodline.  I may also have binge eaten 5 pounds of Belgium chocolate. #Truth

Day 8 – while my Dad went for his first round of chemo, which took over 7 hours to fully administer 4-5 drugs, I worked on my taxes.  I think my Dad enjoyed his experience more (see figure 1), as you will note the smile on his face, whereas no one smiles when they do their taxes. NO ONE. The chemo went really well for my dad. He tolerated all the drugs as well as one can for being injected with a shitload of drugs. And he has little to no side effects from the treatment. In fact, we hung out on Day 10 together and compared his side effects of chemo to my side effects of training for an ultra marathon and they are pretty comparable actually. We are both super tired, occasional nausea (his from drugs mine from dehydration), prone to falling asleep while someone is talking to you and you aren’t moving (actually that is me all the time as I often get bored when I’m not the one doing the talking).

Figure 1: Happy not to be doing taxes!
And sure my Dad will start to lose his hair in 3 weeks and maybe some think that is a bad thing but I think it is awesome! I suggested he shave his head and get a motorcycle so he can look all badass. My Dad concurred that him becoming a badass biker did seem like a reasonable course of action for him to take following the completion of his chemo treatments (Chemo brain side effect?!).

So there you have it. My 10 days off probably could have been a bit more productive and relaxing; however, I did learn some valuable life lessons, as well I learned that I would probably make a horrible guidance counselor as we can pretty much sum up the advice* I would give as:

We are all going to die and we will probably die of cancer so we might as well shave our heads and join a biker gang.

* Please note that this “advice” is placed here for comedic and entertainment purposes only and in no way or shape represents any true or actual advice that I would give or even refer to as  advice to be given to an alive human being.

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