His and Her Dreams

I’m a dreamer not in the John Lennon sort of way but in The Cranberries’ Dreams sort of way.  My dreams are never quite as they seem.   Sometimes in my dreams, I watch what I believe is my own life except the main female character doesn’t look like me and the main male character doesn’t look like Hook.  But, they act like us, using our mannerisms, saying what we would say.   As the non-me female lead, I feel what she’s feeling.

HDU_DreamingWhen I have these dreams, it usually means I’m worried about something or I ate too many bread products just before going to bed.   I do recall shoving baked potato chips into my mouth that I’d discovered in the pantry the night before.  Hook’s been trying to sneak snacks into the house which is fine so long as he sticks to our silent agreement to hide all snacks from me so I won’t eat them.  He’s also supposed to hide all junk food in general so I won’t nag him about eating stuff which will make his digestive system work harder than it needs to.

Too many chips meant not enough sleep and too many dreams.

Hook’s Dreams

Hook doesn’t dream often but when he does it usually includes throwing a bug net around or fishing with friends.  He’ll wake up on any given morning and say he dreamt he was on the coast and caught a red fish or that he had been in the field collecting.  He never seems to wake up frustrated even though sometimes he doesn’t catch anything or wakes up just before he’s going to catch “a big one.”  If there were other people fishing or bugging with him and he can identify them by name, I’ll always ask, “Could you see their faces?”

This question confuses Hook.  He replies that if he couldn’t see their faces, how would he know it was them?   In his dreams, the people are clear and real and the places he goes to actually exist.  While Hook’s dreams are exact and definite with a lot of action, mine are fuzzy and indistinct with a lot of feeling.   In Hook’s dreams, he’s doing things he wants to do again.  In my dreams, I’m feeling things I don’t want to feel anymore.

Dream Lessons from Freud

Do our minds continually send us back to learn a lesson that we did not learn the first time it was placed before us?  That’s my question not Freud’s.

Freud said that we are all of the characters in our dreams.  In order to understand the purpose of a dream (wish fulfillment or resolving conflict), we have to decide or figure out which character we represent or if we represent all of them.  Sometimes, we’re not even who we think we are in our own dream.  My Rosemary character in my dreams may not actually be me but represent someone else or something else that is unresolved or unfulfilled.

I’d visited Freud’s house in Vienna, Austria, back in 1995.  The house had what Americans would call, “a comfy feeling to it.”  The furniture was decorated in velvet burgundy giving the impression of intimacy and warmth.  Book shelves crowded Freud’s analysis room so that it felt cozy like all good reading rooms should.  Definitely a place you’d want to lounge around in while chatting over Vienna coffee and pastries.   I doubt Freud fed his patients anything but his bizarre analysis but I’m still going to guess what he might have concluded from our dreams:

  • I’m confused about what is next for us.  I say, “Austin to Australia in August,” because that is what Hook says but I know we’ve no way of knowing if it will be 100% certain until we’re about 30 days away from departure.   It’s that known unknown again.
  • Hook needs to go fishing.  He also needs to swing a bug net around and catch something interesting and exciting.  He did not get out of the country last year at all when normally he would have been gone for an entire summer in Trinidad. The man needs to catch some fish so he can come home excited which will in turn help his body to heal faster.

Hooks for Hook

Hook’s university started a scholarship fundraiser called Hooks for Hook.  They asked students and faculty to buy a gold hook like a jewelry hook with a clasp that pins to a lapel or a hat.   The fundraiser kicked off the Allan Hook Wild Basin Scholar which will be awarded to one student a semester who will study at Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, Texas.

The fundraiser sold out of the initial 100 Hooks for Hook, but in anticipation of your question — Can we still donate? —  why yes you may because there is no end date to donations.   If you click on the Hook Wild Basin link above, it’ll take you directly to the donation page.

St. Edward’s students and faculty were the original donors to the fundraiser with an average donation of $5 per person.  I was a little leery about using this blog to $olicit moola, but I was both touched and impressed that Hook’s department thought up the idea after his students said they wanted to do something nice for him because of what he’s been through.  When I told Hook I was going to add the donation link into this blog, he said, “You’re dreaming if you think people are going to donate.”  Then he said not to tell you the average donation was only $5 in case you wanted to donate more.   What a fundraising hog!

I can think of other dreams I’d rather be having.  I want Hook’s dreams, the kind where you’re in action, doing things you love, excited at the challenge ahead of you.

Maybe we all need Hook’s dreams.   Or, maybe we just need a couple of shots of good Vienna coffee.

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Falling Down and Getting Back Up Again

Hook hasn’t fallen down so no worries there.  That title actually applies to me and I’ll get to that in a moment, but first a quick update on Hook for all those Hook groupies out there.

The Amazing Power of Hook’s Body

The last of the I.V.s was removed on Friday when Hook met with his surgeon for his post hospital, double-release check-up.  At the appointment, Hook shared some of his concerns with the surgeon about what he felt was still a failure to thrive (he’s kind of stuck on that).  The doctor told him, “Walking a block for you right now is the equivalent of running a half marathon for someone else.”

HDU_menAbs

This is not Hook’s real stomach but it could be!

That was eye-opening for Hook and his surgeon’s remark put his progress into perspective.  He’s been frustrated with not being able to do more. He’s not able to drive liked he used to, he’s not able to eat whatever he wants, he’s not able to do a lot of the things he used to do before.  But he’s healing every day, getting stronger, and I might add, getting back to some of his ornery ways which I take as a very good sign.

And, I just peeked at his stomach and am happy to report that he still has the abs of a 20-year old.   Although there is a visible incision on his abdomen, it is so diminished since that first day after surgery that I only expect the slightest hint of a scar when he’s fully healed.  Ditto for the holes on the sides of his stomach–yes, holes– where tubes came out to extract stuff you don’t want me to describe.  Now I can barely notice there were ever any holes at all.

For those of you wondering whether to email/text Hook, I think he would enjoy hearing from you.  If he doesn’t respond right away, it’s because he has a ton of work email to catch up on.

The Amazing Power of The Mind

A few months agRunners and joggers on the hike and bike trail town lake austin, Texas, USAo, I fell while running the Town Lake trail.  Actually, it was a stumble that turned into a fall as my left knee scraped across the dirt trail while both of my hands slid forward and my left elbow smashed into a rock jutting out from the trail.

HDU_TownLakearm

This is my real arm before the bacteria started to multiply!

From the photo Hook took of my forearm, it might be tough for you to imagine how deep the wound in my elbow was which had to be treated for an infection with antibiotics because green pus starting coming out of it within 24 hours.   That’s how people get gangrene and are forced to have limbs amputated at least that’s what I was running around the house saying to frighten myself into seeing a doctor.  It didn’t help that Hook fanned the flames of my fear by telling me that bacterial cells divide every twenty minutes.  This meant that my infected cells (approximately 100,000) were multiplying by the “hundreds of thousands” the longer I waited to get started on antibiotics.  Such were the wild bacterial times in the Hook house.

I mention the fall because after I fell the first time, I waited for a couple of weeks before returning to the trail.  When I returned, I fell again.  It was almost comical the second time as my foot slipped on that same damn rock.  My mouth started to form an O-shape, all of it happening in slow motion, with a thought floating through my head: I can’t believe I’m going to fall again.  It was more a trip that second time but my hands still slammed onto the ground. A week after that second fall I tripped, for the third time, in almost the exact same spot.  I did one of those numbers where you lose balance and you have to put your hands out in front of your body to steady yourself.   There was nothing wrong with the trail.  I’ve run that spot on and off for the past 12 years.  I just wasn’t ready to run yet.

If You Can’t Run Then Walk

Once Hook was discharged from the hospital the first time, I slowly and I mean slooowly went back to a walking regimen, not a running one, because I knew I needed to walk before I could run.  I’m not intentionally trying to sound like a cliche, but quite frankly, I was plain afraid of falling even while walking.  Part of my job as Hook’s caretaker, though, was to get him outside to walk once to twice a day.  In the beginning that was tough because all Hook wanted to do was sleep, a major side affect of his medications, and all I wanted to do was not fall.  Eventually, we got into a groove with Hook walking to regain strength and me walking to regain balance.

It’s hard for me to resist writing some feel good platitudes about this whole falling phase because who falls three times in the same place except a drunk person.  But I was worn down mentally and physically and I wasn’t even the one going through chemo and radiation.  If I was that worn down, what must Hook have been feeling and all of it before an incredibly invasive surgery.

So I’m writing today to tell you to walk until you can run.   By walking, I mean do whatever it is that you need to do to keep making progress, however you define progress for yourself.  And if you’re searching for the strength to get back on a trail or a particular path in your life, remember there’s a guy in Austin, Texas, named Hook who struggles every day to be just a little bit stronger by walking two street blocks which his doctor has said is another man’s marathon.   There’s also a woman in Austin, Texas, who is a major klutz but who needed to fall three times before she finally took a big, fat break.

No worries if you fall so long as you keep getting back up again and you keep trying.

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The Beginning of Thanks not the End of It

I didn’t miss posting about Thanksgiving in Australia simply because there is no Thanksgiving in Australia at least not in the month of November.   Thanksgiving is one of the few U.S. holidays that is unique to Americans and oddly enough not grossly over commercialized.   We’re too busy giving thanks I guess.

Australia’s Thanksgiving

Australians have what some rumors call a National Day of Thanksgiving in the month of May.  It sounds like it was something conjured up by a Christian network in the mid-2000s and maybe (or maybe not) recognized by the Australian government.   But do Aussies actually celebrate this National Day of Thanksgiving?  I can only wonder without some Aussie input.

It doesn’t bother me that other countries might create their own day of thanks. Maybe your thanks will override our thanks since I’m sure everyone is not thankful enough.   I can already hear people saying out loud (mostly Americans probably), “I’m thankful, I am!”   Be more thankful.   If you’re healthy and you know it, clap your hands and be so very, very thankful.

No Thanks, Scary Thanks & Real Thanks

There is inner turmoil between my bethankful woman and my I’mpissedandscared woman and since this is not a Thanksgiving blog but only sounds like one, let me share my lists of No Thanks, Scary Thanks, and Real Thanks.

  • I give no thanks, nothing, nada, zilch to the doctors who have been treating Hook for the past six months but do not see him as a person.   Do I expect too much?  Maybe.  Except Hook represents for these doctors one of very few patients who is likely to become candy-free.   He’s not just a statistic so stop treating him like a number!
  • No thanks to– I have to say it: cancer.  That disgusting blob of killjoy which attaches itself to healthy cells and feeds off organs like a parasite.  With all the fat floating around in the universe, why couldn’t cancer attach itself to cellulite? We’d all sign up for it then.
  • More no thanks to a healthcare system that didn’t allow for a nurse practitioner to help Hook and me navigate the healthcare process until …wait for it…six months after we’d been navigating the system on our own.   In fact, I’ve been so upset about this for the past week that I couldn’t even post a blog.  (Yes, I’m blaming healthcare for my lack of writing!  Genius, no?)  No thanks for the added layer of bureaucracy.
  • A big fat no thanks to Hook’s oncologist who loves to answer a question with a question.  When I asked, “Should we get a second opinion?”  He answered, “Why do you feel you need a second opinion?” and I said, “Let me ask that another way.  Would you recommend we get a second opinion?”   His answer, “You could.”    Thanks for nothing, but shhhh, don’t tell Hook I wrote this.  He likes his fist-bumping oncologist.
  • Finally, I am not at all thankful for mastering the art of living-in-limbo in a constant state of ‘wait and see.’  It sucks.

Okay.  The no thanks is off my chest.   That was my fear and frustration talking.   Now let’s hear from my heart.

Scary Thanks

Scary thanks are those thanks I give because I know it could be worse (way worse).  I know I’ve somehow skated by and I’m not quite sure why I get to be part of the lucky group.  Scary thanks are those cosmic chuckles we all give from time to time when Good Blessings aren’t checking I.D.s at the door because not all of us would be admitted:

  • I give thanks that my life’s circumstances aren’t worse or worse than yours whoever you are whose life is worse than mine.
  • I give thanks that my husband is who he is, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.  If things get worse, please remind me that I wrote this.
  • I give thanks for those nurses who do answer our questions, who give us frank advice when it’s not always in their best, political interest to do so.  God bless all nurses always.

Real Thanks

  • For our families.
  • For our wealth of friends.
  • For our lack of debt because we like to live like monks.
  • For my work-from-home business.
  • For my stupid cat.

I’ll always be thankful that life in Australia was even a possibility, is still a possibility, and who knows maybe next May when some Australians celebrate a Day of Thanks, the Hooks will be celebrating with them.  It’s the beginning of thanks, not the end of it.  Sing it with me people!

Hook’s Surgery is Dec 6th  I’ll probably post twice that day.   I’ll either post or spontaneously combust and you can read about it on Twitter.  😦

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Where a Pancreas and Halloween Collide

Is it kosher to get excited about a pancreas?

We’re not frying it up in a pan or planning to serve it for Thanksgiving or anything, but we are pretty jazzed about Hook’s pancreas right now.   (Those are jazz hands on that tumor by the way.)  And just so you know how excited, this morning’s grocery list looked like this:

  • bananas
  • tequila
  • body lotion

Bananas are our breakfast of choice, the body lotion is for Hook because of the radiation, and the tequila is for momma.  🙂

Last week, Hook and I met with the oncologist and learned that the mass on his pancreas has shrunk and that “everything looks great, better than we expected.” Then yesterday, Hook and I met with the surgeon to hear whether he and his pancreatic posse believed Hook’s pancreas was good enough to be operated on.  The answer was “Yes,” and surgery has been tentatively set for Thursday, December 6th.  We’ll know more after meeting with the oncologist after Thanksgiving.

When we showed up for the appointment with the surgeon, he looked at us both and asked, “So how are things going?”

I answered truthfully, “Well, there’s been some nausea, increasing hair loss, and not much sleep.”

The surgeon replied, “I hadn’t realized he had those side effects.”

“No, no, no,” I said, “Hook hasn’t had any side effects.  I was talking about me.”

Between tossing and turning and waking up regularly at 3:14am in a panic, I would expect to have little to no appetite.  Instead, I keep eating and eating and eating.  It’s the overeating that’s making me nauseated I think.  And my hair, oh sweet Jesus, my hair strands are falling out in such great numbers that one might wonder if I’m the one going through chemo instead of Hook.   It’s the known unknown that’s weighing on me.  I have known something was going to happen (recovery, surgery, decline) but not when or what it would be.  It’s been that looming question mark hanging over our lives that has kept me on edge.   For the first time in my life, I wish I were a woman prone to tears, something, anything to release the stress out of my mind instead of pulling it into my body.

The survival rate for pancreatic candy is something low and not good.  I actually don’t know.  I don’t want to know.  I don’t think I can stand knowing too much.   It’s an odd place to find myself, openly choosing to be ignorant, fearing the unknown.  That’s why I’m counting on you …

Whatever You’ve Been Doing, Keep Doing It!!!

“How is Hook?” people ask.   If I keep telling you he’s great, you’re going to stop praying for him, thinking about him, wishing him well and I so need you to keep doing what you’re doing.  Keep sending blessings his way, good vibes, all your positive thoughts.  IT’S WORKING!!!!!

Writing that just made me want to cry.

Hook has had little to no side effects.  To look at him, you would never guess his body has been ravaged by chemo and radiation for the past five months.  He’s gained 10 pounds, his head looks like it might actually have grown hair, and his energy level has stayed more or less the same.   The only exception to this was toward the last month of treatments when a full work day was capable of tapping him out.

A colleague of Hook’s said he was like a cat with nine lives.   I like the idea of Hook as an alley cat, the kind who never seems to be starving but instead looks like he’s growing stronger, that cat who keeps showing up day after day and you know somehow they’ve figured out how to survive.  That’s my husband.

It helps that Hook takes care of himself.  He has swum five days a week for the last 25 years, and unless we have outside dinner plans, he sits down to a meal of a salad, a meat entrée, and a starch every evening at 6 o’clock.   It used to drive me crazy how programmed he was since I eat half my meals while staring at a laptop or while standing up.  Now, I’m thankful for his lifelong discipline, but I’m most thankful that he chose to bulk up on nutritional supplements especially since the doctors weren’t all that keen on him taking these in the first place.   I find it odd that western doctors are so unwilling to discuss nutrition when it’s so critical to the body’s ability to withstand the infusion of poison and laser beams.  But, Hook has been taking a basketful of supplements every single day for the past five months and I firmly believe that this is what will save his life.  That and your good thoughts.

Toward the end of our visit with the surgeon, the doctor took a long look at Hook and with amazement in his voice said, “Everyone here is bragging about you.  They’re counting on you to survive and look at you, you look great.”

Please, keep doing what you’re doing.   We’re counting on you.  I’m counting on you.  Hook is, too, even if he never says so.

Halloweenie in Australia

What?  I’m only 8 days late.   So I learned something about Australians and Halloween and how there’s been this terrible rumor going on for years and years in Oz that Halloween is a U.S. holiday and that the Aussies are sick and tired of Americans pushing their holidays off on them and yadayadayada.   The yadayada being that some not-so-nice-things were said by Australians about Americans.   To address this, I figured a formal letter was in order:

Dear Australians who detest Halloween,

Some of your fellow Aussies have told a bold-faced lie.   Halloween is not an American holiday.  U.S. employers are not giving their employees a paid day off to go trick or treating.  Halloween didn’t even originate in the U.S.   Someone said it had Celtic origins with the name derivation coming from something pagan, Hallow’s Eve I think, with All Saints for the Christians and dancing nuns or maybe it was dancing witches with autistic feet or autumn’s fest, yes, something to do with harvest and vegetables.  

Whatever.  

Look, the reason Americans celebrate Halloween is because we like to have fun, and we understand, truly we do, that our idea of fun may not be your idea of fun.   For Americans, it’s fun to pass out candy that we know will give kids cavities that we don’t have to pay for.  It’s fun to watch heterosexual men put on make-up and panty hose and pretend it’s a costume.  And it’s fun to say hello to our neighbors with children whose existence we otherwise ignore. 

But gosh Oz, are you really that annoyed at carving pumpkins, hanging spiders, and baking skeleton cookies?  If we had known …

Look, if you don’t want to celebrate a made up, commercialized evening of goughlish fun then don’t.  It’s not a law to party and drink, not like how Cinco de Mayo is.  But to say Halloween is an American holiday just hurts.  We only made up the idea so we could have an excuse to buy more useless stuff and to overindulge.   How can something that feels so right be so wrong?   We always make stuff up.   We thought you knew this about us.   We thought you LIKED that about us.

Oz, we never meant for you to feel pressured into snorting Halloween with us, and believe it or not, there are some Americans who don’t even like Halloween.  Or, at least that’s what we’ve heard, but no one’s ever actually met these people so maybe that’s just a mean rumor, too. 

Signed,

Don’t Make Me Send Hook’s Pancreas Down There

p.s.  We heard about how you put a balloon out to let trick-or-treaters know whether you’re a house that’s handing out “lollies.”  See?  Make it up as you go along, just like we did.

p.s.s. Can I get a Hallelujah for Hook?

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From Funk to Super: The Hook-Australian Update

The Olympics came and went, August came and went and now, if I’m not careful, September will come and go, too.

My lackadaisical attitude hit right after my last blog posting.  I’d been in a bit of a funk, the kind where you have all these different directions you could go but none of them are completely where you want to go.  Instead of going anywhere, you decide to go nowhere.  You come to a dead stop like slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road even though there’s no car in front of you.

Some of you know what I mean.

August required some Brothers Johnson to help me get the funk outta my face.  Snoop Dog wouldn’t do.   And to help this process along, I did what any self-respecting, mature woman of 47 would do:  I ran away from home.

Running Away From Home

When I was 14 years old, my father, Lou, took a stand against my late night talks on the phone with my then boyfriend.   Remember the kitchen wall phone with the long, winding cord that you could twirl around your fingers as you talked?  I would sit on the steps leading down to the basement with the door between the kitchen and the basement partially closed so I could giggle in private.  Exercising his patriarchal rights, Lou took away my phone privileges.  In an act of teenage defiance, I hopped a bus from Saginaw to Flint. 45 miles away, learning the hard way that $10 dollars doesn’t go very far when you have to buy a $4.50 bus ticket.  I was gone for what felt like an entire week but was really only three days.  I chose Flint because I had a friend who lived there and it felt brave to my 14-year old self.

Flint, Michael Moore’s Flint of Roger & Me, is not a place people run to but away from.  No one runs to Saginaw either but at least Saginaw had one thing going for it – it wasn’t Flint.  I was taking a stand (so was Lou), fed up (so was Lou), and I meant to take drastic measures (again, Lou).

Running away from home when you’re 14 is eye-opening.   Running away when you’re 47 is just another charge on the credit card in San Antonio which is where I ran to.   My tastes and my friends have changed, but my lifelong desire not to be stifled has not.

I sent a text to Hook the next day just in case he hadn’t realized I wasn’t there anymore.   Poor Lou agonized over my absence.   Hook probably didn’t notice until I didn’t show up for dinner … the next day.

After getting our lives back in order, Hook’s and mine, I realized that I hadn’t taken a break.  Oh sure, we’d spent weeks and half weeks on and off in Port Aransas but that was more for Hook’s decompression.  Beach or no beach, I still worked doing my virtual recruiting and career coaching.

Within a three-month period, we went from planning a life overseas to planning to save Hook’s life to redesigning what our new, temporary lives would be.   In a bad case situation, it’s the best of circumstances.  No sane person could ask for more and that’s not just a repressed Pollyanna talking.   We really couldn’t ask for things to be better.

But the summer came and went and I missed it somehow and then Hook said something he shouldn’t have said (what husband doesn’t?) so I waited until he left for work one Friday morning, just like I’d waited for Lou to leave that morning back in 1979, and I packed a bag and ran away.

And it felt great.   Just like it had before.  And this time I could drive myself, so there.

I know most women, if presented with the right amount of alcohol in small intervals, would admit to the secret desire to walk onto a train, hop in a car, get on a plane and just go.  No note, no call.   Nothing to anyone.   Ppfft.   Figure it out for yourself.

 And What Does Any of This Have To Do With Being Down Under?

Well everything actually.  One of the allures of Australia, and one of the reasons we are still determined to get there, is that Aussies have this knack for going with the flow.  It’s different than say with the French who pretend to care only about wine and taking it easy but who are closet tight asses and whose weather can really suck.  Or even the Mexicans who claim to live on a mañana schedule in siesta time which feels great initially but the flow still needs to flow at some point and the whole mañana thing eventually gets on your nerves.

We chose Australia because it is on the other side of the world with an 11-hour difference, sometimes 12 depending on how we are monkeying with our clocks.  When Americans are sleeping, Australians are awake.  When we’re working, they’re dreaming.   People in Perth have the Outback in their backyard and they rest against the Indian Ocean.  We here in Austin have some incredible parks and Lady Bird Lake.   I love Austin but there’s just no comparison to the beauty of Australia.

One of the gift books I’d received, Mutant Message Down Under, was written by Marlo Morgan, an American woman who takes a four month walkabout in the Australian Outback.  There was some controversy surrounding the book because the author wrote it as fiction but then later said it was non-fiction but then changed her mind again and said it was fiction.  Fiction schmiction.  That woman did a walkabout and she convinced wellness gurus Og Mandino, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Wayne Dyer to write praises for her book.  Then Harper Collins turned around and published a million copies.

Here’s what we know:  there was a woman, there was an Outback, she walked.    And I want to walk, too, in the Outback in 2013; we think/hope/are planning.  “We,” remember?  Everything is ‘we’ now.

The Super Hook Update

Hook has passed through six weeks of intravenous chemo and is now onto daily radiation with chemo pills as a chaser.   The radiation with chemo sandwich will continue through the rest of September and the first week of October.   Then his body will take a rest from all the drugs with surgery planned for November.

Hook is doing great, a teensy tiny bit on the tired side, but otherwise great.  Or “Super!” as one of our nurse practitioner/advisors/doctor’s assistants (I have no clue what she is) says to us every, single time we meet.  “Do you feel tired or do you feel super?”

You cannot ask Hook if he feels tired because his automatic answer is, “Tired?  Well, yes, yes I do feel a little tired.”   And then I have to butt in with, “No, he’s not tired.   He sleeps a little more in the morning but his energy is the same.   He’s still swimming and bugging and fishing.”

“Super!”  Our assistant doctor-like person says.   She is who the doctors have us meet with so we’ll feel like we’re meeting with them.  We only actually get to see the doctor every third visit.  Do they really think we can’t tell the difference?  Our person is bubbly but annoying, perky but forgetful, genuinely nice but eternally distracted so much so that I want to punch her in the face before her mouth ever opens to save us both the hassle of conversing.

But I keep my hands to myself, screaming only in my head, when our practitioner/advisor forgets to tell us what we really need to know or says things like, “I just can’t keep all these prescriptions straight.”  And how does she think we do it? Or, she forgets to set up a “very important appointment” that is so important she cannot tell us why it’s important or who it is going to be with.   “It just is.  Trust me.”   Super!

You should have seen Hook’s oncologist and radiologist fist-bumping him after the first set of test results came in.  That’s how excited they were that the chemo was killing off what it was supposed to, and the radiation was not burning a hole in his skin.

The doctors exclude me from their excitement; they do not raise their closed fists to me because we are not on the same team.  I am on a maybe-surgery-won’t-be-necessary team, and they are on a he’s-almost-ready-to-be-cut-open team.   I’d have a little more faith in the process, in the medical system, if it seemed everyone was reading from the same game play.  But we meet and re-meet and discuss and re-discuss and have the same conversations over and over and over again that it takes everything in me not to punch them all in the face and say, SUPER.  But I don’t.  I am antsy but quiet; stoic with a wide-eyed hysterical look which I’m quite certain doesn’t look super.

2013 Australia Plans

Our plans are still on for Oz-land in 2013, so much so that Hook will meet with an academic guest from Curtin University of Technology this month.   The Curtin contact will be in Dallas and a connection to a connection to a connection was made and viola, they will stop in Austin to meet.

Why It’s All Going to Work Out

Four months ago, when Hook and I received the soap opera-like phone call about his diagnosis from a nurse who couldn’t answer any of our questions, we sat down side-by-side and scrolled through websites together to read what we could about pancreatic cancer, the stages, and the possible outcomes.

My first thought after reading was, Okay. This is going to be okay.  Hook read the same sites and thought, I have six months.

We communicate like all married couples communicate– we don’t– and our initial reactions to the situation were comical:  Hook wanted to update beneficiaries; I wanted to update our plane tickets.

We did update the beneficiaries and we cancelled the plane tickets but only because I didn’t listen to my instinct, and my instinct is this:  The only thing that’s ever going to kill Hook is me.

It’s all super!   And I am keeping the funk outta of our face(s).

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