Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feeling Anti-social

I am feeling a bit anti-social these days. I'm not sure why, but I am. It has been going on for a little while now, and has reached its zenith the last few days.

I'm delighted to respond positively to people who seek me out, but I just can't be the one doing the arranging right now. I think part of it is that I just don't have the extra energy to put into relationships. It will return, I'm sure, but for the moment I just can't create opportunities.

I haven't had a day since I had surgery that I haven't been in pain to some degree and it's exhausting. It has been almost six months and it's getting really old. It's not intense pain, just minor, but it hasn't gone away completely. Most days it's very low-level, some days it's much more intense. There's a direct correlation between how active I am and how intense it is. It seems almost muscular, only in my pelvis. I had a CT scan Friday so hopefully I'll know more next week. I don't think it's anything serious at all, and it may just be healing time, but it is wearing me out.

I don't discuss such things much - it's not very interesting conversation, and there's nothing anyone can do for it anyway. But it becomes an issue when people pressure me to do things that I know will cause me pain. Maybe that's another reason I'm just doing more avoiding. I don't want to have to explain that I can't go do something that's going to involve me getting in and out of the car three dozen times or I'll really be hurting. I can't drive for long distances because being bent over like that causes pain. I'm missing my high school reunion this weekend because I just couldn't drive that far. I can't stand for long periods on concrete - like for shopping - without being in pain. So, I am judicious when doing those things.

I've also learned to compensate. When I'm having people over I stretch the preparations out. I pick up the house one night, or maybe two, because bending hurts; I wash the dishes and set them out another night; I bake another night; I pick flowers that morning so all I have to do that night after work is get the drinks made and the food put on plates. I've been doing it this way for months. I keep thinking it will get easier, and I'm sure it will, but I need to call a halt to such things until it is better, instead of believing by the next thing I have scheduled it will be normal.

Of course, it's always worth the effort to sit and enjoy time with friends when they're gathered around. But I think I'm going to have to put plans on hold for other events  I've been thinking about until I feel more normal. I'm limiting my social activities other than going out to dinner or something like that, to things I can easily accomplish.

I'm starting to be concerned I'm not going to be able to do Christmas the way I love to do it. It will break my heart a little bit if I can't celebrate that way this year when I have so much to be thankful for, but whatever will be, will be. At this point doing Christmas decorating the way I love it would require a lot of help from other people to get it set up and broken down, and I just can't ask that. I had to have help breaking it down this year - I don't know what I would have done without Greg, Barbara and Cleta.

This year - at least the first half of it - has required much of me and my mental state. Some of that is very positive - learning the new job for example. And some was much more taxing, but required me to move past it quickly to keep a positive attitude. I remember one January day turning onto A Street from Poplar, watching the snow fall, and thinking it might be the last time I would ever see snow. It was one of only two times I broke down between diagnosis and surgery. The other was one night in my office, when I could see Greg in the living room. I knew he was reading all he could about ovarian cancer, and I knew how much of a toll my situation was taking on him.

I haven't even had a chance to grieve the losses of this year yet. I'm afraid to even think about it too much, lest I get stuck in a downward spiral. I've just tried to focus on the positives, which are numerous.

Maybe the most important thing for me to remember going into the last half of the year is to not borrow sorrow from tomorrow.

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