Do you ever consciously think about breathing? Then the minute you try to stop, you can't? It becomes almost obsession, and the more you try to stop, the more you feel like all you can do is breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and each breath feels crazier and your heart is racing and you can't think about anything else, but...then you forget. Suddenly you look and realize that in the blink of an eye...
the leaves have turned, the Christmas lights are up, beautiful, home-made wreaths adorn every door and suddenly you have forgotten that breathing in and out can be simple and easy. You don't have to think about it, count your breaths or research your options anymore. No, in fact, everything is fine or at least better. The world has slowed down and you are no longer on your obsessive roller coaster of breathing, I mean, fact-finding...at least not for a few days.
I finally came to grips with reality and enforced a true self-prescribed cease-fire on my obsessive research about the issue that has overwhelmed me for the past two months. You see, it is very, very easy to say (or write) that one will do that, but the reality of actually letting go is much harder. It is so simple to think, "I will just do one more Google" or "No, no, really, I just have to look at one more article" and then just keep plowing on through the internet. I convince myself that just five more minutes will give me the answer I seek or clicking on one more page. Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion tonight that no one can give me the answer, because, truly, no one knows what will happen.
I finally stopped (officially) Friday night/Saturday morning. We had journeyed to Williamsburg on something of a whim. At nearly the last minute, Peter thought it would be fun to take the girls...oops, kids, and we managed to find a room at the nearby Residence Inn for the nifty price of $77/night (gov't rate, natch). We left the house at 7 p.m., were at the hotel way before 10 p.m. and we all settled in...except me.
It's not a new or very renovated Residence Inn and they don't have the little plug sets by the lights. Instead the only remaining one I could find to re-charge my iPhone (courtesy of Mr. I Must Bring Every Electronic Gadget I Own On Every Trip) was in the bathroom. I plugged the little sucker in, tucked myself into bed, tried to watch a little HGTV and was up every 5 minutes researching every iteration of my newest idea regarding possible treatments. The good part? I found the information I wanted to locate. The bad part? I couldn't put the phone down and just let it lie. I had to keep looking for more and more and more.
I tucked myself back into bed and then hopped out, repeatedly and obsessively, just as I hop back and forth between "Cancer Jen" and "Normal Jen". I SO want to be normal Jen and worry about nothing more than if our meals are relatively healthy, are we doing enough fun stuff, are the kids growing up to be conscientious and aware citizens, do we have enough coffee for tomorrow morning, and when did we last change the guinea pig's cage? Instead I become "Cancer Jen" and obsess about the proper foods, medication interactions (when I am not even ON medication, other than supplements), effects on my body in 30 years from possible treatments now, what can FEP case managers do, why is there no discount for having breast cancer and why I can't I just get over myself and be happy for the moment?
Finally, I went to bed. I tried to tell Peter about my new discovery, but since he had fallen asleep two hours before, his response was less than encouraging. I had my usual issues falling asleep and finally nodded off after stressing about not getting my point across to Pete. Then it occurred to me that maybe I needed to quit...and mean it this time. I woke up and while I was still somewhat miserable (lack of sleep not helping), I didn't pick up the phone and start Googling. I checked e-mail and Facebook and left it at that.
We spent the day in Williamsburg, ostensibly to see how it was decorated for Christmas and to let Cait pretend that she is a girl of the past (a favorite hobby...I yearned to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I get it). Given the historical nature, there is plenty of decorating, but far more laid-back and less electric than one might see on our street (we are officially the Griswolds o' the Pass). I originally expected more, but why? After all, plastic pre-lit reindeer had yet to be invented!
What did we find? Plenty of boughs of holly and nary a window without a candle. We also noticed that there was a wreath on nearly every residence. We then began to see the subtle differences in the wreaths: some utilized only dried fruits, another showcased shells and the most unique (in our opinion) involved clay pipes. After a tiny bit of research, I came upon several articles that discussed the wreaths of Williamsburg. It is actually a fairly new practice, but is stringent in that all items used must be those that were available in Colonial times. Hmm, sort of like eating locally...
By 2:45 p.m., we had nearly exhausted ourselves and Nicholas was rapidly heading towards nap-time. It occurred to me that since our arrival around 10:00 a.m., I hadn't thought once of looking at the phone, other than to check the time. Then I had a novel idea: what if I could just pretend I was normal and thus, get through the entire day without checking?
I did...and I did. In fact, it worked so well, that I declared last night (and then promptly choked up) that all weekends should be "cancer-free" in the household. There can be minimal discussions, but nothing intense and no researching. In fact, I am so enjoying my moratorium that I may just extend it into the week...and what the heck, maybe for the entire Christmas season? I know that I've said it before, but this time I really think I am serious...