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Friday, November 6, 2015

Coping

CAUTION: Major overuse of the word "coping" in this post. Links to everydamnthing. You have been warned.

Everyone asks how we're coping, and I don't usually know how to answer. So I will attempt it here. In descending order by age.

Laston seems to be coping pretty well; the scientific aspect has taken over to some extent, and medical SCIENCE (yes, it must be all caps) is interesting. The fact that he has his own USB port is part of this, as well as cataloging his symptoms (sometimes at length and out loud) and then categorizing them. Is it a cancer symptom or a chemo side effect? How does he feel, what does the doctor say, and (this is the bad one) how does the Internet feel about it? Inquiring minds...

It doesn't feel like I'm coping (mostly because I can't sleep, which makes me short on patience and weepy), but the counselor assures me that I am coping, and pretty well at that. He's a professional, so that makes me feel better. I told him that the biggest issues for me were fatigue and stress eating (because no Laston-job, cancer, the little things that make life a pain in the ass), and we're going to talk about that more next week and come up with some coping mechanisms that are healthier than those two.

But in the meantime, it's nice to know that a) insomnia due to what-if-scenario mind-racing is normal, especially in someone who is prone to this under the best of circumstances (he called it "hypervigilance," which sounds very Mad-Eye Moody to me), and b) part of the problem is that I am good in a crisis until the crisis is over, at which point I fall apart. This crisis is long term, and therefore I'm in constant crisis mode. Adrenaline keeps going.

I don't really know how Leanna is coping; she seems to be okay on the rare occasions when I see her, but she hasn't been here much. Part of this is fifteen-ness (that's about when I started having too much to do to make it to my dad's every other weekend, and also Abby is super busy and Leanna doesn't really like to come for the weekend if Abby's not here to hang out with). Part of it is likely a bit of denial; she's not here all the time like the other kids so she doesn't see the day-to-day of the illness. EDIT: She's here tonight and seems pretty okay, actually.

Abby seems okay for the most part, although her fledgling organizational skills (she took a class last school year) are kind of in abeyance at the moment. I don't know how much of this is nearly-thirteen and how much is worry for Laston, but I've lost track of how many times in the past few weeks there has been a frantic search for whatever object, only to find it in the car. Glasses, cell phone, homework, script, whatever.

Lizzy is even harder to suss out. She's her father's daughter and interested in the SCIENCE aspect ("see, mom, white blood cells are really yellow, and remember how you and the Magic Schoolbus told me they're the ones that fight disease, and you said they get killed by the chemo-medicine like the bad cells do? And that's why daddy is so tired and can get sick easily."). She is also her mother's daughter and tends to escape into books and/or whining about how hard the tasks she does not enjoy are. Again, might be worry, might be age. EDIT: She's having trouble in school this week; her teacher says several of them had rough weeks though, so it's possible some of this is Fall Back Fall Out as well.

But the counselor's statement that we (and this includes my mom) are doing an excellent job of keeping the kids in the loop at an age-appropriate level (while not scaring them), that helped, and helped a lot.

So did getting gifts from friends, offers of help, etc. Now all we need is the cure for cancer, a day at the spa, and to win the lottery. Failing that, continued response to treatment, a good massage, and a job* for Laston that will take his current limitations and run with them. Then we'll be good.

*on that note, how many of you would buy F*ck Cancer or Cancer Sucks (or equivalent) figurines made by 3D printer?