Man.

Tough week, and a hard day.

Had my first therapy session in several months today — my therapist has been checking on me on a weekly basis and we did an abbreviated phone session while I was in Arizona, but we finally got back together today.  Not a fun session — I’m a mess today, for a variety of reasons, and the walls just crumbled.  Dealing with a frustrating problem at work that has dominated my time this week (and will do so tomorrow) which isn’t helping.

I noted during the session that in some ways cats have been a bigger support system for me than people are — not sure if that’s a trust issue or what, but like I’ve noted here before I just get along better with animals, I think.  She said that was a lot more common than I might think, but seemed disappointed, or at least saddened, that I didn’t feel like there was anyone out there I could lean on.  I know that seems unfair to people in my life, at least 1-2 or whom would be happy to step up; I just am not capable of having that kind of relationship with people.  It’s depressing, in a lot of ways.

One thing I noticed while talking to her that I hadn’t consciously realized until today was that my appearance right now (bald) is bothering me so much because it’s a constant reminder of what I now am — I look like I expect a cancer patient to look (well except for my eyebrows still being there).  My wife has noted that nobody notices my haircut (lack thereof) when I’m out because so many people shave their heads these days, yet I have still felt self-conscious.  I guess it’s more that it’s me externalizing (internalizing?) how I feel about this path I’m on and the one I’ve lost.

The unfortunate net/net of my therapy session is a conclusion I’ve drawn several times in the past — that I’m not “suffering from depression,” but am dealing, as normally as possible, with amazingly depressing things.  Not that that is some major epiphany, it simply “is.”  I mentioned that outside of my daughter I’m having severe trouble finding anything that brings me real joy lately, that can break through this fucking cancer cloud, so my homework for the next two weeks is to focus on that and try to figure it out.

Meh.

Rough weekend.

Settling back into my life and realizing it’s not really mine, it’s a cancer patient’s and I don’t want it.

Nausea almost daily lately — not sure what the reason is but obviously not enjoying it.  Popping Zofran on almost a daily basis at this point.  Trying to get in to see my local oncologist for my 60-day post-transplant appointment so will see if I can go that long before dealing with it.

Having issues emotionally lately.  The cat thing is part of it — I can’t think of Mischief without getting overwhelmingly sad to the point of breaking down, which seems abnormal to me.  I mean yeah in most ways he was my best friend for 11 years but he was a pet.  It occurred to me this past week, however, that part of this may be because I think I just get along with animals better than people.  The mild discomfort and awkwardness, the emotional barriers, the shyness and slight introversion — none of that enters the equation with pets.  As such I wonder if due to that I’m suffering more than most would over this?  Not sure.

I want cats again but I’m afraid to bring it up with my wife for the time being.

I took Ariana on a daddy/daughter date to the aquarium this weekend, which was bittersweet.  She had a blast and loved the sharks, but it drove home the demarcation between my past life and my current one.  As I walked behind the scenes with her it felt like a different world, one that’s moved beyond me, and it saddened me a bit.

I’m not sure I can do justice to why in terms of explaining that with just words … your entire perspective shifts when you put on the proverbial cancer shades.  I can still, if I focus hard enough, remember what life was like almost a year ago when none of this was happening and my goals outside of Ariana-related stuff consisted of becoming a scuba instructor and continuing on like usual at the aquarium.  But now there’s this dark cloud obscuring it all, creating doubts and tethering the dreams I had like a ball and chain around my ankles.  Whether I’ll need maintenance chemotherapy, how I’ll still be needing monthly infusions of Zometa (the bone strengthening stuff that fucks me up for a few days every time) and the potential side effects and how to work that into a schedule where I want to submerse myself in somewhat unclean water.

Pre-transplant your focus, because that’s such a big, intimidating and landmark deal, is on the transplant.  Now, though?  I focus on day 100 post-transplant but looming over the horizon, and now visible really for the first time, is a life with cancer as a constant companion.

It doesn’t look like a lot of fun.