Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Good Day vs. A Great Day

I had a Great Day today. In case you don't know the difference between a Good Day and a Great Day, let me fill you in.

I'm still alive.

Tony went to my chemo treatment with me. A new X-ray showed that my lungs haven't gotten worse -- a big deal, because I'd started having chest pains yesterday, every time I coughed or breathed in too deeply. My doctor says the pain is from bruising caused by all the coughing, and Ibuprofen will fix that. For once, a quick and simple fix. Gotta love that!

Tony and I had lunch together and talked about our kids, about their future, and my role in their future. I love talking to Tony about anything, but especially about the kids and our future together (me, in a less physical role, of course). And we laughed together. I love laughing with Tony. He does it better than anyone I know. Well, any adult. Toby and Josie have THE BEST laughs.

I got a private room during my chemo and had some time to think and write. The nurses were kind and cheerful. I think they all believe I'm going to die soon, so they're especially nice and accommodating. Hey, there ARE perks!

After chemo, I went to Da Paolo Gourmet Deli and splurged on yummy, naughty food for me and Tony for dinner. I'm still eating mostly healthy and organic food, but I've decided to indulge in a bit of meat, cheese, and chocolate once in a while. Plus, I have mouth ulcers coming on again and I'm trying to stuff myself with as much food as I can before I can no longer eat solid food. (By the way, no more food drop-offs! You've stocked our fridge and freezer so well, there's no more room! Thank you all SO MUCH!)

I ate a slice of veggie pizza with gooey cheese while Tony drove me home from chemo. Here's a Korean joke: A guy who's sentenced to death is walking up the platform to the hangman's noose. He slips on the steps but catches himself just in time. He lets out a sigh of relief, "Whew! Almost killed myself there!" Keeping the strict diet I've been keeping for the past two years now would be like that guy. I still believe that the no-meat, no-dairy, no-sugar, no-caffeine, no-alcohol diet is the best diet for optimum health if you plan to stay healthy long-term. But it sure isn't the best diet for optimum pleasure!

Then I got home to see Josie and Toby at the playground with about a dozen other neighborhood kids of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors. They all looked so happy. A few of the kids came up to me to say hello and looked relieved that I was still alive. I hadn't been out in a while and it was noticed, because I'm the crazy mom who dresses up in a bedsheet for Halloween and chases all the kids around.

Then I sat down with some other neighborhood moms and chatted while watching our kids run around. I hadn't had a nice long chat with these friends in weeks, maybe months, and I realized how much I've missed just talking to friends.

I know my time is precious now and I should devote every waking moment to writing to the kids, but I think what I did today was important too. I want my friends, their children, and my children to see that I'm not dead yet. I'm still alive, having fun, being the person they know.

I realized just how important this was when one of my friends told me that her daughter asked Josie why I hadn't been out for such a long time. Josie told her I was in the hospital. Another of Josie's friends asked if that was why my hair had fallen out, and Josie proceeded to tell them the story of the day my hair started falling out and she and Toby helped me pull it out so that Daddy could shave my head afterwards. Josie, grabbing a fistful of hair and yanking it out: "Mommy! Look how much I got!" Toby, eager to do everything his big sister does: "Me too! Let me try!" We had a ball. But then Toby tried pulling out Josie's hair and I had to explain that this little trick only worked with MY hair.

This time I spent with my girlfriends was also important to me for a selfish reason. I'm using them. These women will be in Josie's and Toby's lives after I'm gone. They'll probably see them almost every day, since we're neighbors. I want them to be able to tell my kids what their mother was thinking and feeling during these days. I want them to give Josie and Toby a picture of their mother through other people's eyes. I'd like my kids to see some day that I was more than the sum of my actions and conversations and interactions with just them.

So... to sum it up... What's a Great Day? Time with my husband, eating yummy food, watching my kids enjoy themselves, and talking and laughing with good friends. And no more bad cancer news. This was the best day I've had in ages.


Anonymous said...

May I leave a comment in Korean?
Because my English writting ability is not enough for what I feel and what I wanna say. hope you don't mind and can use a Korean font.

안녕하세요? 동민이 엄마예요.

가끔 유치원에서 뵙고 인사 나누고는 했었지요? 기억하실 수 있는지...
며칠 전에 님의 블로그에 들어와서는 너무 놀랍고 슬펐답니다.

그동안 많이 아프셨군요. 전혀 눈치채지 못했답니다.

제가 아는 님은 항상 밝고 건강한 미소와 함께였지요. 아이들에게 항상 좋은 엄마의 모습이었지요.

항상 커피 한잔 나누고 싶었는데 제가 영어를 잘 못해 적극적이지 못했었어요.

님의 블로그에 있는 포스트들을 읽으면서 너무 슬프고 슬픕니다. 저도 종교가 없지만 기도합니다.

차도가 있어서 회복하시길... 건강한 모습으로 커피 한 잔 같이 할 수 있길...진심으로 기도합니다.

앞으로도 항상 'A Great Day'가 되시길 진심으로 바랍니다.

- 동민 엄마.

Shin said...

Dong-Min Um-Ma,

Thanks for your comment! My Korean is FAR worse than your English, so I won't even try to write in Korean. But I was able to read your comment, so thanks for keeping it simple for me!

I'm glad you posted your comment in Korean because my family and some of my Korean friends will be able to read it and benefit from your thoughts.

I didn't even know the Blog could be published in Korean. Now maybe my father can write in Korean too!

I haven't been taking the kids to school lately because the walk takes the breath out of me and by the time I arrive at school, I don't have the energy to be myself and say hello to all the kids. I worry that the children at school will see me in a less-than-me state and be worried or scared.

I've always made it a point to say hello to all the children and address them by name, but now I can't even remember all their names. So rather than put myself and maybe the kids through this strangeness, I thought I'd let our helper take the kids to school while I rest at home.

So it's not because I'm really ill or anything like that, that I've not been at school lately. I just get short of breath -- like I did in my last month of pregnancy with Josie and Toby especially. That was FAR more uncomfortable and painful than this is. Then again, I had a baby to look forward to at the end of that... oh well.

Thanks so much for thinking of me and my family.