Sweating the little stuff…

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm

In the coming week I’ll see an oncologist, a plastic surgeon, an oncology/gynecological surgeon, two neurologists from my Estriol trial and a partridge in a pear tree…but here’s what’s really bugging me.

My father has always said (you know it’s trouble when I begin a sentence this way, and often profanity is involved, though not in this case) but- he says of me that most times when I get upset about something the plug doesn’t fit the socket.  For those who don’t know the expression, it simply means that oftentimes I will lose my temper or burst into tears because I can’t loosen the top of a jar or the DVR didn’t record HOUSE.  Okay, no Hugh Laurie maybe worth shedding a tear- but you get my point.  Something small and relatively benign suddenly feels like the end of the world, and it always has to do with an event completely unrelated.

Well here’s the thing.  When you have something large and looming in your life- in my sister’s case, breast cancer and chemo, and in mine, the upcoming surgeries and recoveries, there really is only one socket.  The socket that says you are sick and scared and without choice in too many matters to name.  And somehow, that lack of choice is the thing that sticks in my craw.  It’s as though everything boils down to “do this or die”.  Well that choice sucks, frankly.

But not wanting to proceed through my life like Eeyore (shout out to A.A. Milne) I do try to put on my big girl panties and move forward.  I Recognize that there are challenges ahead that are going to kick my ass, but that I have an amazing team of doctors and a support team that rivals my current super-duper under wire bras.  But then there’s that pesky plug and socket.  I can move forward, I can have the strength of Superman- but any number of plugs show up- and it’s waterworks from the man of steel.

A few examples.  Let’s begin with the week that just went slowly into that good night.

For every show done at the theater where I am lucky enough to have worked for the past 13 years, I write an editorial piece for the program to help contextualize the play for our patrons.  For the last month or so I have been working on a retrospective about what it meant to work for my boss who died suddenly on October 31st.  This loss was huge for so many who knew and loved him, and I had hoped to chronicle what it meant to work beside him for so many years.  Many of the staff contributed to the piece- beautiful and funny stories about who he was to them and what he taught us all.  After careful consideration, it was decided that the piece was too personal to be included in the program- that it didn’t serve the play or the patrons coming to see this play and it was pulled from the program.   From a business perspective,  I can see the argument- but, my outrage and sorrow in regards to this choice could have brought the walls of my house crumbling down.  I cried and screamed like a child who had been robbed of my favorite toy.  (thankfully, I was working from home so only my dogs were privy to this outburst)- oh and my friends Shannon and Allison who I knew would understand that this in fact had nothing to do with the article itself, but rather the article’s subject.  Plug- socket…

What occurred to me, in the midst of trying to name why I was so despondent over this choice- I discovered that choice itself was the culprit.  I was not in a position to make the choice about the publication of the article, nor more to the point, did I have a choice over losing my boss.  I am not in a position to make a choice about having surgeries, I cannot choose to not have MS, for my son not to be unhappy that I don’t live with his dad,  for the man I love to love me back…I want more choices- and I simply can’t have them.  At the end of the day, it seems that this is the one big socket that all the mismatched plugs keep finding.

No one chooses for bad things to happen.  I have had so many people I love who hesitate to talk to me about their problems because they feel that my problems are so much larger.  On the contrary- like all of you- I am crying over the article, over the loss of a loved one, over the boy.  I could not possibly cry over my sister’s illness or our unlucky genetic make-up- it’s too big and too scary to warrant tears.  For the large things, we learn to push forward, to remain optimistic, to focus on others.  But, because I am not an automaton- as much as that appeals to me right now- I sweat the small stuff, get anxious over work and weight loss and finances- and then  I press on to the next Dr.’s appointment, and Missie presses on to the next round of chemo.

Maybe some day my worries will be small enough that the plugs and sockets will fit again- in the meantime if I burst into tears when next we meet I can promise you- it’s nothing you’ve said or done, it’s just the genes talking…

  1. You are amazing! I look forward to when we next meet. It’s been way to many years.

  2. I love that expression and it fits me totally and completely!!! Thank you for sharing on your blog, I love getting a chance to catch up on it. Much love as you face this huge hurdle.

  3. Allison- just in case, what’s the number for 911? I still tell that story all the time- sweet Genevieve 🙂

  4. Stumbled across this in the ether. Beautifully written. Thinking about you.

  5. Thank you for another wonder post. I have been fighting those sockets so much lately that simply knowing I wasn’t alone made me cry. Now if I could only learn not to read your blog at work since this is not the first time you’ve moved me to tears or outburst of laughter.

  6. Thank you brain for zeroing in on that lady in the speed line at the grocery store who is 3 items over the limit, and for making me obcess over each picture I take and edit, and for letting me worry about not walking enough and for eating too much. How would I survive this without you?

  7. TL,
    Oh, my chest is tight, and I’m about to cry at work here. Good thing it is a slow day, and most people have taken off for the holidays. What you describe: ” I could not possibly cry over my sister’s illness or our unlucky genetic make-up- it’s too big and too scary to warrant tears. For the large things, we learn to push forward, to remain optimistic, to focus on others.” That to me is sheer survival. You HAVE to focus on others and press on and persevere. Your amygdala is working overtime. It’s fight flight or freeze. And you are a fighter. Just remember there is a “post” to these current events, as well as the depths plummeted and the tantrums and numbed out feeling, and that’s what we, your family and friends are here for. (Snag–I ended a sentence with a prepostition). For reals, though. I hope you grab all the support you need because it is being offered. You are working the serenity prayer pretty good right now (take or leave the god part). I love you and miss you. Keep writing.
    p.s. You said “panties”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: