My mood is as black as my favorite jellybeans, so I’m hiding out. I explained to dear friend Emily that hearing “just one more time” during the throes of chemo is like hearing “just one more house fire.” Once is one too many and damaging enough. It’s “just” one more chance that side effects could seriously harm or hospitalize me, “just” one more heartbreaking Q&A with scared small boys, “just” another 10 pounds to gain in eye-blurring, fat-fingered edema, and “just” a lifetime of never knowing if this cancer is coming back. Thanks ever so much for the chipper tally… I’d nearly lost count. Mean, huh?
Brodie was in his own foul mood last night and I may have aggressively dropped (thrown) an armload of books, effectively hurting my wrist and scaring the crap out of him. Emotionally exhausted, I literally hurled the Cancer Card at (well not “at” and not even very “near”) my own child last night… but HOW DARE HE? His little 8 year old needs are met and exceeded, and I’m doing my cheery best to hide the fact that I’m tired, achy, and annoyed. Write your sentences and be cute and agreeable or I’ll GIVE you something to be pissy about… AAARRGGHHH! But fear not. Although I have morphed into Cancer bitch, all of my mean dialogues are entirely internal, where they are funnier and don’t inspire calls to Child Protective Services. Brodie got lots of extra hugs, fell asleep with me rubbing his back, and woke up early of his own accord to finish the homework… and all without any fear of being assaulted by a crazy bald lady.
Scary Aunt Paige (with God in total agreement, as prayer has become interrupted with inappropriate hilarity that can only be Divine) reassures me that this is expected and forgivable. Even without tiresome chemo side-effects, small children will annoy and probably won’t be eternally damaged from watching Lunatic Mommy violently organize the Magic Treehouses. But lately, all sorts of things irritate me… even phone and house calls to inquire if I’m OK. After a third round of poison, it would be good sense to assume I’m not OK and too pooped to pretend in real time (it’s easier to be The Queen of Upbeat via text and email). I successfully resisted the urge to verbally skewer my landscaper for ringing the bell at 9am, and wondered what the hell my mother was thinking letting him in. I’m sure I don’t know how I’ve gotten through any of this without having a heart to heart with the goddamn gardener. Mean, huh?
Honestly, until Round 3, I’ve been either too scared or grateful or drugged to be angry about all of this. But today, I am. And not in a why-oh-why-woe-is-me way, but in a not-fit-for-mixed-company way. This is a mood that goes better with scotch and accompanied by people who might have suspected I’m not always as cheery as I seem. I’m sending a fair number of bitter, venting texts to complain about teeny things in my teeny, self-absorbed life. However, I know this as temporary as anyone’s interest in a Pissed Off Cancer Mom. I’ve already turned the corner on the really bad side effects. And in ten minutes my little boys will come home from the bus stop so pink-cheeked and cute it won’t even occur to me to launch paperbacks at them. Then, instead of counting chemo sessions (hey, there’s JUST one more), I’ll be once again counting blessings.