Thursday, May 31, 2012

101 Things

After discussing the possible upcoming changes to my blog in my last post (the largest one being ACTUALLY POSTING), I realized it had been awhile since I had checked in on my 101 list.  I found where I had posted my end date....and it's in less than two months! July 15, to be exact.  My next move was to go and count all the ones I had accomplished. After updating my list, it came to a total of....36. Hmmmm. Not sure I like that, it's just barely over a third completed! I reviewed the rest of my list, and mentally eliminated any that would be unattainable, time-wise (write in a sleep journal every month for a year? oops!).  Of the 65 I had left, that eliminated a nice round 15, leaving me with 50 left. That's right, as of tomorrow (since today is nearly done), I have 45 days left and 50 possible tasks.

I don't plan on trying to do all 50 in that amount of time, despite my penchant for aking on too much stuff at one time. However....if I could possible bump up my 36 to 50? That would be pretty cool.  That only leaves me with 14 more to complete.  Quit smoking 6 months? 5 months in, so I should be able to cross that off my list pretty soon.  Make copies of important records? Watch the sun rise and set in the same day? Definitely do-able. Watch all Hitchcock movies I haven't seen? Maybe not.

Regardless of the number I have done, it's been an interesting challenge and one I'm thankful I tried. Certainly, some were much more difficult than others, though that doesn't seem to help in terms of which ones have been finished. Applying and getting into grad school, for example, would probably be the most challenging item on there and yet it is one I've been able to cross off.  If anything, this at least helped me narrow down goals from ones I was really invested in versus ones that sounded fun. I do enjoy the idea of keeping a list, so perhaps once July 15 rolls around I'll figure out a new, shorter list.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Coping Skills

Originally I wasn't sure that I would write this. I wasn't sure I'd be able to, first of all, and I wasn't sure if it was my story to tell.  But, it's been floating around my head and I talked to the person whose story it is, so now I'm getting it all down on virtual paper.

In mid-April, my mom was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in her salivary gland larynx. Earlier, she had been having some symptoms and her voice had changed, and her Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor told her that one of her vocal chords wasn't moving.  After further testing, she was diagnosed with ACC.  And then....nothing. Or, so it seemed from 2,500 miles away.  In reality, she was scheduling appointments, meeting with an oncologist, a radiologist, being tested on her ability to swallow, and so on. However, it took almost exactly a month before she and her doctors decided on treatment.

If there is any type of "theme" to my year so far, I would have to say "coping skills" pretty much sums it up. The beginning of the year when I was stressed out about grad school? I was so overwhelmed then, but it seems so small in comparison to that month waiting for answers.  Zero concentration, crying at the drop of a hat, blurting it out inappropriately via Facebook messenger to several friends ("Hey, what's new?" "Oh, not much, my mom has cancer" "Oh...." AWKWARD).  I may have even suggested to the hubby that we start trying to have a baby (even though we've talked extensively about not doing this, at least, not now, and not biologically if we ever do have kids - adoption all the way!) because clearly the answer to being stressed out is ADD CHILDREN.

Next week, she begins radiation. 5x/wk, for 7 weeks.  June 16th, David and I are flying to CT. David is staying for one week, and I am staying for about six (or so).  And, like the librarian student that I am, I have prepared....

There's one more book that I want to reserve (The "I-Can't-Chew Cookbook", basically the best name ever), but even before we knew Mom would definitely be having radiation, I threw myself into researching food. I knew if I was going back to help out, I would be in charge of food, and it was something practical, hell it was something, tangible, I could do from across the country.

I also ordered a ridiculous number of used books from Amazon to keep myself occupied. Check it: 
(Morning Michelle with books!)
(Extra parenthetical remarks! Someone looks pretty good for this being written pre-coffee)

So, the past few months have been rough, and I know the next few months will likely be even rougher. It's been a decade since I've lived with my parents. (This excludes the month my Dad stayed with us in Tucson; that however was our place and he was our guest. This time I'm the guest).  But, I'm hanging in there. I have a wonderfully supportive partner (seriously, he's the best). I have wonderfully supportive friends. (I've realized that I know more people who have had a parent with cancer or other serious medical condition than not.) I was able to complete my first semester of graduate school - and did pretty fucking well if I do say so myself. I haven't started smoking again (this might be my most proudest accomplishment because ohhhh have I really wanted to). 

I'm thinking with the extra free time I'll be having not working full time or taking classes this summer, I'll be able to blog more regularly. So, this might become a cancer-cookbook blog, or a Michelle-continues-to-be-constantly-stressed blog, or something else. 

This weekend we are celebrating a friend's wedding.  My goal for the next few days is simply to do just that. Not to split my attention between here and Connecticut, but to really appreciate things going on here until I fly home.