When I was in the hospital last week I was in so much distress that I made a deal with G-d. “Please help me get rid of this awful restless leg syndrome and I won’t complain about anything else.” At the time it seemed perfectly reasonable. After all, that was what was bothering me the most– I couldn’t function because it was day and night– and who better to make a pact with than g-d?
I broke the pact. My RLS is much, much better (thank you g-d), but now I find myself complaining about nausea, massive fatigue, and even a broken heart.
People think that if you get enough good nights sleep in a row, or enough cozy naps on the couch after work, that your fatigue will be cured. I understand that because as with most things, it would be. However, cancer fatigue is a whole beast unto itself. You can sleep 10 hours at night and take a 2 hour nap during the day and still be so tired you want to cry just thinking about putting a dish in the dishwasher.
The fatigue creeps through my bones like a scary story.
People ask how I am and I’m grateful that so many care, but I’m also so tired of telling them how tired I am. In fact, I asked my cousin today, “Should I tell the truth or just say that I’m fine?” It’s that weird line between being honest and not wanting to bog people down with the same complaints all of the time (cue Debbie Downer from SNL). But beware: If you ask me every day how I am (because you love me and care), you will most likely get the same answer: So unbelievably and depressingly tired. Unless I decide to just say that I’m great. You never know.
So that’s the nausea and the fatigue (most likely side-effects from the radiation that g-d willing is saving my life, so there’s gratitude for that). The broken heart happened today when the woman who was cutting my hair (who is a total sweetheart) told me about taking her 9 month old baby to the beach. The way she described sitting at the shore with him brought tears to my eyes, and I couldn’t help but think, “That was supposed to be me.” She detailed his eyes and his smile sitting there at the beach, but the whole time I was picturing myself sitting at the shore with my own baby– maybe a boy– with the sun glistening off his brown hair making it appear just a little bit lighter, as mine was as a baby. Instead of her son’s eyes, I thought about what my own child’s eyes would look like: Bright blue, glistening every time a wave came up to greet us. A smile, a clap, a gurgle. Seeing the ocean, one of my very favorite things, through his (or her) eyes for the first time would be thrilling.
And then I felt it: A piece of my own heart ached profusely and then broke apart, falling into those waves that were supposed to be for us. And we all know, once something falls into that vast, beautiful ocean, you can never get it back again.