Part of the problem with the new job was that it was a 24/7 venture because it was where recently arrested kids were processed. Since all my medical appointments wouldn’t be until after the New Year this job kept being an in your face reminder of the condition inherently, this was even more frustrating because I wasn’t able to get anything done but still being reminded of it. It even affected my holidays since I would have to work some of them. Being the low man on the totem pole and because it wasn’t my coworkers fault that I’d been reassigned there, I volunteered to work both the Christmas eve and Christmas day holiday. With good intention, coworker friends kept on with the barrage that I should just have a better attitude about the job but gave me no tools to do so. I finally came up with an analogy that made sense to a few of them. Imagine your significant has an affair and your job puts a picture up of who they cheated with on the wall of your office. No it wasn’t the person itself but it was an 8 hour reminder because this job was all due to this...plus it was a reactionary job so you couldn’t do anything unless something was happening and the holidays were slow allowing me to do little but stare at that picture sometime.
Going to my running group, going to my wife, being with my friends, life felt normal. Being at work, life felt cancerous and it was exhausting. The last work day of the year I was supposed to go to my running group and the person giving me a ride that day wasn’t there when I got off work. I called and sounding a little buzzed, stating they forgot and were at a happy hour. They were incredibly apologetic and offered to come get me. I passed on the offer as it wouldn’t get me to my running group on time by then and I didn’t want anyone breaking any drinking and driving rules. I couldn’t call my wife because she had left town earlier that day because she was going to spend New Year’s with her sisters at her parents. I thought about calling people but just tired and discouraged, I decided I’d walk home, all 8 miles of it. It took me almost as long as it had to run my first marathon. Part of that was walking through traffic etc and part of it was that my pace was a downcast one. It was frustrating to have my emotions have these wild fluctuations within days and know that my medical appointments would be starting January 5th and dragging through February 11th before I’d even have enough information to make a treatmet decision. There was a point in the walk where I just looked up into the air and screamed with anger. I went home and just felt asleep dejected and alone.
The next day was New Year’s Eve and I woke up in my usual sunny disposition. Part of the privilege of being me has always been that nature has been kind enough to where I almost always wake up ready to go and in a good mood. I got up and took medication, balanced my checkbook, checked email, facebook etc my morning rituals. By coincidence, I looked at my calendar for January and every single thing on it was a medical appointment and it immediately took the wind out of my sails. Internally, I immediately decided this couldn’t be my life, just dealing with a medical condition and nothing else. Since I’d decided that I had a medical problem, I was not a medical problem; less than 20 minutes later I had gotten on line and bought a plane ticket for mid January to California (where I lived for 5 years), I would go see friends I had not seen in years. I also called every medical office that I had appointments over the next 6 weeks and told them I wanted to move them up to as soon as possible. Some were able to accommodate me and give me new appointments; others said they would call me after the New Year if anything opened up. Some were complicated because they depended on each other.
I spent the rest of the day researching my conditions, doing laundry, ironing, researching my condition, calling friends and family, researching my condition, watching some movies, researching my condition and learning abou doctors and procedures. I read blogs of people whose family member had things like this (some were encouraging, most were not), I read about experimental studies, I read stuff about when is the ‘best’ time for parents to die in regards to how it affects children (statistically speaking it is far more measurably traumatic, especially for girls, for their parents to die during adolescence than early childhood). I rechecked things like median life span for people who had this (4 years for those who don’t do surgery, 7 for those who do, wild outliers on both groups, which is why they used median numbers not average).
Then the sun started to set, both literally and figuratively on the best year of my life. I had invitations to multiple New Year’s party and had let many friends think I was going to the other one when my plan for a couple of days had been to do nothing. It was the only New Year’s Eve I’ve ever spent alone in my life. I just had this gut feeling that a year which was going to start the way 2011 would, well it didn’t feel like anything to celebrate. The other thing was that invariably this was still new enough to where people who weren’t up to speed would ask and there’d be people who weren’t that close and would have to deal with the awkwardness of someone having to talk about cancer at a party. Plus, this was New Year’s and while I made the joke that this year I would need both a designated drinker and a designated driver; I really didn’t want to be a hassle on people’s party night. I’d save my ride request for another time.
I went to bed about 10:30 but my wife called a few minutes later. She had skipped her own celebration to stay on the phone with me till about 12:02 AM. Reminding me why I’d married her, she didn’t talk about much but was just company and celebrated New Years with me in her own way. She said Happy New Year and let me go to sleep moments after and whispered “I love you and we’ll find a way to make it a happy year, I promise.” I didn’t but I could have drank to that.