Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Now What....

  1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
    "a pragmatic approach to politics"
    synonyms:practical, matter-of-fact, sensibledown-to-earth, commonsensical,businesslike, having both/one's feet on the ground, hardheadedno-nonsense
    "she remains pragmatic in the most emotional circumstances"

Definition from Google.

Everyone seems to have a joke or a story for the "glass half full" vs "glass half empty" views of optimists vs. pessimists.

I really don't fit into either camp.  I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatist.

Being pragmatic is how I've gotten through Alex's cancer.  For me, being pragmatic means that in order to deal with something as terrifying and life altering as cancer, I need to focus on the bits (however few they may be) that are within my control.  

Doctor's appointments, making sure Alex was eating, keeping everything clean and germ free, writing lesson plans for my sub, all of those things provided the illusion at least that I was doing something.  

Now that chemo is done, I feel a bit adrift.  I'm thrilled, don't get me wrong, but I'm back to feeling helpless.  I'm trying to stay positive, but I'm not quite ready to say that Alex has "kicked cancer."  Maybe I'm afraid I'll jinx something somehow.  We're back to a waiting game.  Waiting for the PET scan.  Then waiting for results.  And then just waiting for time to pass and prove to us that Alex's cancer won't come back.

Except I know I can't live my life waiting.  I just have to live my life.  And Alex has to live his.  Knowing that cancer could come back, but also knowing that statistics for Hodgkins are extremely encouraging.  And looking at Alex and knowing that he is so much stronger than he was in February.  His energy is slowly returning.  He was so sick by the time his cancer was diagnosed.  I felt like every day and alarm was going off in my head.  I knew that he was getting sicker by the day.  But now I can almost see him gaining strength by the day.

Too often, I talk about when "life will settle down."  John reminds me that life never really settles down, and if I keep waiting for that day, I'll miss my life.  He's pragmatic, too.  Life just is.  It's messy.  Sometimes it's harder than others.

And I know he's right.  It's not like life was on hold during Alex's illness.  Many things took a back seat, that's for sure, but there were still so many things to juggle.

We continued to work full time throughout his illness.  Thankfully, we had amazingly supportive employers, business partners for John, and coworkers who helped pick up the slack when we needed it.  We learned to say yes when help was offered.

We said good-bye to John's mom as her four year battle with Alzheimer's came to an end in April.  Time was spent at her bedside in those last weeks of her life.

My own mom has not been well.

Jess got married, which was a joyous celebration for our family, but hectic in its own way.

And I know that in the days, weeks, and years ahead, life will continue to be messy.  Sometimes filled with joy, sometimes heartache, and everything in between.

I'll just keep reminding myself to stop wishing and waiting for life to settle down, and to just embrace whatever life brings at the moment.