Thursday, February 5, 2009

Down Days and Odd Dreams and Soldiering On

It turns out that mom now has to have chemo, followed by radiation, as the cancer has been a bit more aggressive/invasive than we'd hoped. However, she has good medical support and much support at home as well, and we're all feeling optimistic. Or so say all the e-mails flying back and forth arranging driving -- I'm going over tonight and will drive her Friday if she gets into a chemo session she's waitlisted for. Fridays are the only days I'm available, so if this works out, not only does mom get an early start, but I'll get a chance to do my share -- my sisters are so good about arranging medical appointments, driving, taking mom out, etc.

Despite all the optimism, I'm feeling that kind of hormonal, biochemical down, you know? The kind that once it nestles in, doesn't want to get budged. Partly from the cancer news, but also, pettily enough, because I got some feedback on a proposal I'm working on and it needs revision. Of course, deep down I knew it needed work, but hoped it would pass muster -- my better self must have been working my strings, though, 'cause I asked for an opinion from a colleague who I know as a demanding editor and sure enough . . . And note to self: don't read feedback on your work after 10 p.m. when you're already tired. It's brought back a wave of those feelings I associate with the slough of despond that was my dissertation-writing period, and I don't like those much at all.

And compounding it all, I had the oddest, oddest dream wherein I was visiting my old/ex doctor, a woman, and although I was ostensibly there for my Pap, she instead handed me some heavy white leather shoes, Mary-Jane-ish with the cut-outs on the front top as in those classic English girl's summer/sand shoe. At first I thought they weren't too bad but then I saw they had a thick rubbery sole and that broad straps fastened behind the heel with velcro. "No, no, no," I told her, "I can't wear those." She burst into tears and proceeded to lecture me about the damage women were doing to their bodies in the name of style/fashion but I was not swayed. And then my middle daughter, Rhiannon, came in, beautifully dressed in a green sleeveless shift, and I asked her opinion about the shoes. She just laughed and laughed and told the doctor her mom would never wear those. Someone in the room complimented her on her appearance and dress, and she said, "Well, after all, I AM a doctor's daughter" (obviously referring to my PhD), linked her arm in mine, and led me out of the room, away from the hideous shoes.

Care to make sense of it all for me?
I'm determined to claw my way out of the slough of despond before I sink further, so I'm focussing on her pride in me, which I could feel.
Then today, I'm just going to get done what I have to and leave some space for picking up the proposal and working on it later this weekend -- it's not due 'til the 15th anyway.
And I'm going to figure out some small treat for myself to look forward to as I suspect tomorrow might be battering. In light of my dream, shoes are suggested, but I did say a small treat. We'll see . . .
Meanwhile, I'm waiting on your dream interpretation. . .


  1. I really feel for you on the mother front. My own mother is very slowly going blind and because the process is so slow yet seemingly inevitable it hangs over every family gathering like a poisoned chalice. I will keep fingers and toes crossed that your mothers treatment goes well.
    I am truely crap at dreams but I do love what you said about your daughter.
    'so I'm focussing on her pride in me, which I could feel'
    You cannot put a price on this kind of feeling, and it is what keeps me going through the crap days too. I cry every time I imagine my girls leaving home. It must be wonderful to have remained so close to yours.
    Regards your proposal, nothing feels as raw as when you put yourself on the line like this. I do know that that revisiting work after a break helps me to rationalise the changes that need to be made though, so good luck
    Regards the 'treat' if the shoes seem too costly then jewellery does it for me every time. have fun.

  2. I have no idea about the dream, but I'm glad for your sake that you are able to do your bit for your mum. It's very sad to be too far away to help. Hope all goes well. Patricia

  3. That's a tough one. Illness in a loved one most definitely compounds the annual p.h.d. (post holiday depression). And although its starting to be obvious that the light's retuning, it's not doing it fast enough to keep it from being damn cold! Always at this time of year I find myself in thrall to the retailers of red and pink hearts. It's a nice visual salve. So I find myself buying goofy trinkets for coworkers and kids in a despearte attempt to stretch the christmas/hanukkah joy of giving!

    I remember being a student and then a newly employed writer, chafing under criticism, until I realized it was the only way I was going to get better. And it wasn't a personal attack. It was someone giving me the opportunity to improve. Now how can I share this with kindergarten daughter, so she gets it much quicker than I did?

    Dream is lovely! All I can say is, red shoes. Or boots. And, have you seen the sales out there? Go forth and get some retail therapy. :))

  4. I'm sad to hear things are worse than previously thought. She has much support and love, so important.

    Don't know about that dream :) Clearly something is fomenting upstairs. I hope you come out of it all stronger and even wiser!

  5. I'm sorry your mom has to go through more treatments, and I hope they go smoothly and successfully.

    The dream sounds to me like you're feeling misunderstood by people around you, as symbolized by the doctor giving you shoes you really don't want to wear. And then she cries when you won't... are you feeling manipulated? Or chafing under obligations others are placing on you?

    But it sounds like your family is a source of support for you and makes you feel understood and valued, as symbolized by Rhiannon. Anyhow, this is obviously only amateur speculation, so take it for what it's worth.

    Hope you feel better soon. I'm currently home on the couch, sick and feeling sorry for myself.

  6. Oh dear! Dear materfamilias. When we find our parent has ills we cannot take away with a routine visit and a cup of tea, I think we take this into our very souls; it's hard.

    Then the matter of the feedback- though welcome, it too is hard- more work, revisiting something you've done.

    The dream: A wise women, a therapist and noted academic taught me "YOU are everyone in your dream."

    In this dream, you are loved and taken care of by your daughter who sees and admires the real you, leads you away from the ignominy of Sensible Shoes. You are also the doctor, aware of what's best for the body, giving good advice. You are the beauty in a green dress- your younger self- saying it is not time to give up, caring tenderly for the mature you. (This is her approach to dream interpretation, as she taught me.)

    Does this resonate for you?

  7. sounds like you could use some quality time with a certain grandaughter... just let me know and i will arrange it!!


  8. Thanks, IndieAl, and my sympathy also re your mother's sight. Her fear and grief must affect her mood and hence all of yours.
    You're right, a break from the proposal will do me good, but I'm already starting to feel I can face it again and even know what to do. And shoes, jewelry, lipstick, a new bra, all possibilities . . .
    Patricia: Thank you. I know this is all very fresh, still, for you.
    Dana: Yes, and my colleague was generous with her time, and the advice was very useful.
    I'm quite inspired by your encouragement to take advantage of all the great sales. I'd even be helping out the economy, right?
    Jillian: Thanks, and you're right, at the very least, there's lots of support and love. We're a lucky family in that.
    Thanks, Miss R. and I do hope you're feeling better soon. And that you're not so sick that you can't indulge in a good DVD or book or two or three . . .
    Duchesse: I love this dream interpretation! It absolutely resonates with me -- there is definitely something there about myself and phases, or/and myself at a transitional phase, generationally. And me as my own doctor, knowing what's right for me, resisting manipulative, righteous advice, I like that!

    Oh, You're all a lovely and wise group, offering the kind of support and advice I'd be pleased to get from my "real-life" friends. Indeed, I have to say I consider you very much part of my real life, and your real words help to lift my spirits. Thanks so much, all of you.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum, as I am watching my own mum suffer from Parkinsons, I truly feel your pain. My advice is to take the illness one day at a time because if you look at the big picture it can be too overwhelming.
    From your dream, it also sounds like you are feeling a little unsteady/unsure about 'parenting' your mum, the little girl in you says no (so give that little girl a hug).

  10. Thanks, Cybill -- and can the hugs sometimes come in the form of a very nice new lipstick or skirt or pair of shoes or . . . ?

  11. I love your delightful, thoughtful, insightful and amusingly acerbic blog though I was deeply saddened about your Mum. Thank your for allowing me to have a little peek into your world. If you ever have a free moment, please drop by for a little peek into mine.
    Steady On,
    Reggie Girl

  12. I am not surprised that that the emotional roller-coaster you are on is triggering vivid dreams and I'll send some strong positive thoughts across an ocean and a continent for you, your mum and your family.

    Treats are goods. Big or small. So, yes, definitely give yourself something that will give you real pleasure.

  13. Thanks for the kind words, Reggie Girls -- it's lovely to have new visitors. I look forward to visiting your blog soon
    60 going on 16: I managed some delightful time with my wee granddaughter, Nola, which puts much into perspective for me -- the perfect treat, and it didn't cost anything! Thanks for the good thoughts.

  14. i am sorry about your mom. I'll include her in my prayers. why is all people started getting cancer? and its happening all over the globe? a friend of mine and a colleague just passed away a few days ago bec of bone marrow cancer, too.

  15. Summer: Thank you for stopping by -- it's always great to have new visitors. And thanks very much for your kind thoughts about my mom. I'm sorry about your own loss -- it's hard to see someone suffering through this disease, isn't it?

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. It's very difficult to stay focused and upbeat at times like this, so I can understand that cellular exhaustion you are feeling. The dream is interesting. I don't know how to interpret it, but I'd say it sounds positive.

  17. it is. i am praying that your mom gets well, soon. i believe she will. believe and it will happen. :) Remember the law of self-fulfilling expectations? believe it, will it, and it will happen. :)

    have a nice week! :)

  18. can't seemt to find a "follow link." i'll just put you on my blog links. thanks!

  19. Thanks, Gina, and yes, "cellular exhaustion" -- that's what I've been getting waves of, and it's something sleep doesn't really repair.
    and thanks again, Summer -- not sure about a "follow link" but I see you've joined the crew so welcome!

  20. I'm so sorry to hear that about your mom. She is so lucky to have you. I will keep you in my thoughts.


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