“C” is also for Coping

Things I have learned about coping with cancer this week:

  • Keep a large supply of tissues on hand all the time, everywhere, within reach. And premium tissues–the soft, thick kind–are worth it. The industrial, near-unto-sandpaper variety, not so much. (Ow.)
  • On a related note, switching to waterproof mascara for a while = good idea.
  • No matter how desperate I feel my need for information is, some things–which, furthermore, may not even be relevant to my case–I’m not emotionally stable enough to handle right now. After terrifying myself multiple times in the last few days, I’ve placed a moratorium on me Googling certain search terms until after I’ve met with the Emory oncologist.
  • Little things can be surprisingly life-affirming.
    • Applying sunscreen religiously every day is a necessity for me because of my Lupus/MCTD. But I’m also fanatical about it because exposure to sunlight’s UV rays is the single largest cause of signs of aging in skin, i.e., wrinkles. I’m vain. I want to still look pretty when I’m 94+. Sunscreen means I plan to make it to 94+.
    • Matthew took me shoe-shopping. A pair of new shoes means I fully intend to be sporting fashionable footwear next month, and the month after that, and the one after that and that and that. Shiny, life-affirming footwear:
  • While maintaining as much of my everyday routine for as long as I can is a good thing–my routine grounds me, helps me focus on something other than my terror and uncertainty–however, I’ve discovered and need to keep in mind that autopilot isn’t so auto right now.

    Yesterday, as I was getting ready for work, I almost put a half-full drink carton in the glasses cupboard instead of back in the ‘fridge, applied concealer with my eyeliner brush and accidentally dragged my concealer brush through a dollop of sunscreen, dropped my (hot) curling iron, and started getting into the wrong car in the garage. o_O

  • Which leads to: use more than one method to keep track of medication schedules.

    Holy crap I’m taking so many pills! And each has its own special dosage timetable and instructions: Once a day, twice a day, every six hours, with food, with a full glass of water, yadda yadda blargh. Hell, the prednisone is dizzingly confounding all by itself: two pills twice a day for three days, one pill twice a day for three days, one pill daily for three days. *thud*

    So, yeah, my day-per-week pill container just isn’t going to cut it. I’ve started keeping a log on my calendar to indicate when I’ve taken what and setting reminder alarms on my phone to remind me when I need to pop something.

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23 Responses to “C” is also for Coping

  1. Hang in there, Eugie. We’re all pulling for you. 🙂

  2. Cassy Gordon says:

    First things first, I LOVE your shoes and remain jealous that I can no longer sport such works of art! You shall look stunning as always in them! Secondly, pill tracking (and making sure you take what you need when you need and not too much, etc.) has always been a major pain in my arse, so I feel for you completely. Might I suggest a pill case that has four or more slots per day and pre-placing pills in the case? I use one with four slots currently, that way I have them in place at 7 AM, 3 PM, 7 PM, and 11 PM and I (or someone in my family) can quickly look at the case and know if I took the appropriate pills or not. I also use alarms, but frequently ignore them. And last but not least, I use this app to help me (in addition to my alarms):

  3. Eugie Foster says:

    That is an AWESOME app, Cassy. I am installing it on my phone right now. Thankyouthankyou!

  4. Cassy Gordon says:

    <3 your welcome! Movie weekend is a must in our near future! Sherlock makes everything better.

  5. Anne O'Connor says:

    When life hands you cancer, write a book. Nobody wants to be where you are, and where I’ve been. Trust me, anyone who says cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them is lying or delusional. But coping…you’re doing it right. My only regret is that I didn’t write more of my experience.
    Staying away from Google right now is an excellent idea. When John had an aneurysm that the doctors thought was going to kill him, I Googled it. When I came to a certain point, I closed the site and gave it up. And the thing that most alarmed me never came close to happening anyway.

    You are wise, strong, and incredibly articulate. You will make it. You will teach others. (I know, surely there was a better way to teach?) Love you in absentia, Anne

  6. I haven’t said as much, and I don’t want to make you cry again, but you’ve been on my and Cassie’s minds pretty much perpetually since this news first broke.

  7. Cancer is a word, not a sentence. ~John Diamond

  8. I love this^ And it’s true. It’s a comma, not a period.

  9. And if treatment required removal of part of one’s digestive tract, it would be a semicolon.

  10. Eugie Foster says:

    Vandy Beth: *groan* Ayup, you did indeed go there, didn’t you? :p

  11. Janice Clark says:

    Anxiety (whether over medical issues or whatever) tends to shut of autopilot and blitz out short-term memory. I’ve certainly done my share of weird things in stress situations. You’re coping amazingly well. I like the idea of sunscreen and shoes as life-affirming.

  12. Amy Herring says:

    Work prep and meds sound like good focal points. I still like the story SC tells of her BF Michael distractedly dropping his fish oil pills into his travel coffee mug. Did he have a freeway surprise or what? Not quite as bad as applying concealer with an eyeliner brush but close, eh?

  13. I hope this doesn’t mean we need more shoes.

  14. Eugie Foster says:

    More shoes! *clamor clamor clamor*

  15. Leigh says:

    Thinking of you. And sending every positive thought your way, while being jealous as all get out re: those shoes. I so miss wearing all my pretty heels.

    Oh, and you can get th multi pill things assert the Dollar Store (Swiss she from experience)

  16. Oops, didn’t mean to start a grammar trend…but what perfect place to do so!

  17. Amy Herring says:

    Some new boots would be cool, too?

  18. Bao Pham says:

    Well you can’t just stop at new shoes, you need an entire ensemble. 😀

  19. Marilyn Foster says:

    Yes Matthew, more shoes is the plan. You’ve checked my closet so you know by feelings about shoes.

  20. Alice Black says:

    Hi, we don’t know each other but I found my way over here by way of Bundoran Press’s blog.

    Every situation is different. But I thought maybe I could offer a couple things I learned about when I had to deal with my tumour, and following surgery.

    It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be angry. It’s also okay to not know how to feel. I pushed everything down until I could handle it. That’s okay too, but probably not as healthy, since things spring back up eventually.

    It’s okay to write, or not write. Because sometimes the C word gets too overwhelming and you just have to sit there and stare at a wall or out a window until you feel a little better.

    Most of all though, what I learned the hard way is that it’s okay to not always be ‘positive’. Cancer’s scary as shit, some people can manage to be cheery through the entirety of their treatment, but I have a personal belief that they’re saints. Us humans get scared and angry and envious that we have to deal with being sick, weak and in pain. But that passes too, just like this will.

    I wish you all the best, Alice.

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