My First Train Ride!

We had a great time in Portland, eating and shopping and checking out some of the xmas decorations. Oliver loved all of the attention he got from so many adults, and Elsie is the cutest baby ever. I feel really lucky that I was feeling good enough to go on this trip and do so much walking around the city. We actually walked very little. . . but for me, it was a lot! My hips and ankles were sore for two days.

This week was a triple-whammy. I started my oral chemo week on Wednesday, plus had infusions of Zometa and Herceptin. I was also run-down from the trip and my immune system was probably on overdrive trying to fight off germs from the train. So I’ve spend the past few days doing a lot of napping.

I’m grateful that I’m doing so well right now on the Xeloda and Tykerb. It’s nice to have hair and eyebrows and eyelashes. Even my feet are doing pretty well, all things considered. But there are times that I wish I looked a little sick. As much as I like moving through the world without everyone I encounter thinking “cancer patient” the moment they see me, I do find it’s hard for people to understand my limitations. Going to the grocery store is exhausting. I love doing it– I like to get out, take care of my own errands, etc. But I have to plan one or two things a day, then take the time to rest. I often feel so tired and achy, like I have the flu, but I can’t actually fall asleep. I get restless and bored. It’s a good thing I have Finn and Jackson around to entertain me.

I’m also getting uncomfortable about how to respond to people I meet who ask “so, what do you do?” Two of the people on our Portland trip asked me that and I had no idea how to respond. I don’t want to be a bummer and respond with “Oh, I’m not working, I have terminal cancer.” That just makes everyone uncomfortable. I just laughed and said I was retired early, which of course makes no sense since I look like a healthy woman in her 30s. I should just start coming up with fake, crazy occupations. Or say I’m an heiress.

5 thoughts on “My First Train Ride!”

  1. I think it is great that you can do all the things that you plan for. Just tell people that you
    are a writer and leave the rest up to their imagination. You could always say that you
    are working on a project that you can’t talk about…….Another good one would be a dog
    sitter. Both of them are sort of true.
    Love you lots,
    Sue

  2. Yes Karen, think Sue’s idea that you are a writer is perfect. Remember editing Tara’s college and medical school essays?! Another idea is that you are a “consultant” like your dad. You have always had great ideas,organizational and problem solving skills.
    Taking good care of yourself with your medical challenges is your new expertise. So proud of how you are juggling it all.
    Love you,
    Karen Reagan

  3. Interesting, I never thought about that problem before (good consciousness-raiser so hopefully I don’t ask that question and put someone on the spot w/o meaning to). specifically, you could say “I’m a blogger” and then give them the online address of your blog, if they press for more detail. or you could say “I’m semi-retired due to a medical condition” which might be enough to satisfy some people.

  4. Thanks for the great education you’re giving all of us. It makes me realize that some things I may say with good intentions may be uncomfortable for the recipient. The comments above on your occupation are perfect. I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well. I think of you each day as you face new challenges. Stay strong.

  5. Americans frequently ask what you do for a living. When I lived in Europe it was considered rude. Sometimes I wish that it were rude here as well, even when I find myself asking that stupid question of others at parties or other social events.

    Personally, I think that since you’re not in the workforce you should feel free to respond with any of these as what you do: adventure, travel, read, snuggle pets, dream, and be fabulous. I also think there is nothing wrong with responding by saying you have terminal cancer and are using your time to rest, stay as healthy as possible, and enjoy smelling the roses when you can. So few people actually remember to stop and enjoy the universe they are surrounded by, and a response such as that might actually be a nice wake-up call to them that “doing” something for a living is not the whole of what someone does, or who they are. Frequently when I meet people who are retired or who do not work for other reasons, I get to be reminded of that myself, and it’s always a nice moment where I experience how lucky we all are to be alive and being human on this earth at this exact moment. Too often I get tied up in the busy-ness of life and forget.

    Also? Way to go on all the awesome traveling. Sounds like you’re having all kinds of crazy adventures right now!

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