Sometimes I defer to cancer.

Pack of playing cards that say "Cancer Playing Cards"

Something wild and crazy happened yesterday. J. booked a flight to Vancouver next Monday with our good friend, who has a meeting there. I know, it sounds crazy, it is crazy. She used some Airmiles–thanks to all those prescriptions I’ve purchased over the years–and the taxes were reasonable, so she’s leaving and coming back on a jet plane, all in one day.

J. asked me several times whether I’d like to come too and I didn’t have to think long about my response. It sounds like fun, and I love Vancouver, and I never turn down a chance to get away, but I declined. I can’t manage waking early, rushing to the airport, walking my socks off, and flying back home in the evening. I could go, but I’d crash midday, slow everyone down, and ruin the day. Then I’d need the rest of the week to recuperate. I might love to go in theory, but in practice I know such a fast and furious outing is contraindicated.

Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I might have been able to manage it, though. I’m doing fairly well now even with cancer, but I’m not the party animal I used to be. That’s why cancer piped in and decided for me. I told J., “Sorry, honey, but my leukemia said no.” (To clarify, I was not pulling the L card here. The L card only works in situations I want to avoid.)

When I push myself too hard, cancer reminds me, “Slow down. You move too fast.” I should probably heed cancer’s reasonable and realistic voice in me more often. Last week, I was wiped after going to two plays two days in a row. After a few hours of sitting and listening and not much else, my exhaustion surprised even me. When I go out for dinner, I’m pooped for the next day or two. I volunteer late Monday afternoons and Tuesdays I’m tanked. I know what I can do and what I can’t. I may respect those limits, but I also resent them.

[Skip the next paragraph if you’re not up to hearing Sadness’s perspective.]

I made the right decision about staying home but I still feel sad and so does J. Would I rather J. didn’t go? Nope, I want her to have a great day with our friend. There’s no point in our moping together at home when J. could be enjoying great sushi in good company.

I forced myself to see the bright side, though. While J. is gone, I can hang out in her woman cave all day if I want. I can mess up every room of our house and no one will know (assuming I tidy before she returns). Oh, how I’ve longed for opportunities to desecrate our clean home since J.’s retirement! I will relish this freedom.

Even better, Jelly and I will have a little mother-dog time. I will be Mother Superior for a day! I’ll ply her with endless treats and let her up on the couch. On second thought, maybe I’ll skip the couch, since no amount of vacuuming will eliminate her hair once it’s interwoven through the fabric. Why would I want to spend my Day of Desecration vacuuming anyhow? Here comes the L card….

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