Shoot for the Moon #8

This is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be to recount the whole Non-Hodgkin’s experience. It has literally made me tired. So I need to finish up this dark era and move on to how the dark period made me motivated to start writing “Shoot for the Moon”.

So I layed in bed for weeks just a wet noodle. Correction, a limp, cold wet noodle. Over the passing days life returned to my blood stream in tiny increments. One day the Doctor came in and announced – GREAT NEWS! you now have 10 white blood cells! That was a great sign. The count steadily climbed and after a few weeks I was release to go home at 88 pounds with my bag full of medications and a glimmer of hope. I went home and as the poison slowly left my body over the months toward summer and I started to become a human being again. During this time I remember eating one or two bites of steak or fish a day and chocolate milkshakes. By summer I was moving about and seeing the world in a whole different way.

Life was different. So different. I am sure it sounds cliche but it is really true that there is NO OTHER moment than the present. We need to be grateful and thoughtful. We need to do what we want to do today because there are no guarantees that you might collapse on night by your swimming pool and be basically bedridden for a year.

So the self examination began. I examined what I enjoyed doing, what felt productive and felt I needed to be doing. I also had to look at what could I phyically do now.  I was unable to volunteer for the normal activities that I had been used to like classroom mom. I had a severely compromised immune system and could not be in large crowds and around sniffling children. It took me two years to get re-immunized for all the traditional childhood diseases. (Just like an infant with shots and follow up boosters)  I asked myself – Do I miss the School room Mom gig? Ahhhh – Nope! Who wants to be organizing teacher gifts and trying to make a fun holiday party in today’s politically correct schools! Do you know you can’t celebrate Christmas or Halloween in our school? HUH! It is now “Fall Festivals” and “Winter Celebrations”. Do you know you can’t bring in cookies and cake any longer? It is all about bringing the house down with great celebrations featuring carrots and Celery! Whoopee! … and raisins if you are edgy! Please!I don’t need that – and I stopped doing it.  I am now a great supporter of that young eager mother who volunteers her time to fit within the schools handbook of rules! I send in my carrots happily and send a thank you to the room mom!

So the question was what did I love to do? I loved to do art. I loved to quilt. At the same time I do like to bring in some income so I do not feel like a total parasite to the family. That is when I started doing more quilting/designing and picked up on the idea of starting a small pattern business from my home.  Mostly during this time I rested and recuperated and tried to re-plan a NEW future. I did not know what lasting limitations the whole disease process would imprint on my newly cleansed body. I was told that everything would be damaged and compromised to some degree for ever. They said it could be up to 30% lower functioning organs etc. It is weird to be 43 years old and thinking about re-entering the world. What is your purpose? Especially once you know first hand you are SO NOT IN CONTROL of your life! Big awakening!  I think for the first 3-4 months while my head started to get stubbly with little CURLY hair follicles I was just in a haze. I do remember going to the supermarket for the first time in over a year and being AMAZED at how many new ready made products and fast foods there were.  Can you imagining just being pulled away for your everyday life and whisked away for a year? All the appointments, dates on the calendar, group commitments, daily chores, holidays, yearly commitments – were just trumped by Cancer.  It is really bizarre.The good thing is that when it happens you really do not think about all that crap that was supposidly so pressing and earth shattering the same way ever again.

more to come.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda S
    May 11, 2009 @ 16:36:35

    um, may I _gently_ differ with your desire not to ‘be a parasite’ on your family because you were not bringing in an income? (sigh) This is an issue I had to deal with 25 years ago when my husband and I decided to have children … and calculated the cost pros and cons of having me work vs stay home. Although you are not compensated by the world to be a stay-at-home mother, your labor IS valuable.

    My husband used to say that he was paying me to stay home (and I stayed home because he is six years older than me and can demand a higher salary to support the household with, NOT because I’m female). The labor of an average stay-at-home mother is worth about $135,000 in today’s funds!!! NOT A PARASITE!

    Sorry, I just couldn’t let that pass. 🙂



    • zebrapatterns
      May 12, 2009 @ 12:17:00

      Linda- You are right! I do know in my head that I was not a parasite – but I guess the fact that I was doing something that costs money and I was loving it so much was a guild pleasure! We are so mind conditioned in this culture!


  2. Cathy Kleeman
    May 12, 2009 @ 13:07:49

    Debra – I just read through all your “Shoot for the Moon” entries. Such a story! I’m always in awe at your incredible energy and drive but after reading about your experiences I’ve just upped my awe factor by about a factor of ten. Good luck in Pittsburgh this weekend. I know you will have fabulous success.


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