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Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010, 03:52 pm
Back Under The Bellows Again

My wife Reesa (eposia) was recently diagnosed with an aggressive malignancy in her left breast. The last four days have been a blur of doctors, social workers, friends, family, grief, and baked goods. The third most common reaction to tragic news, after "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help" and "Keep your chin up", appears to be "Here, I cooked you this". Which has certainly helped keep us going, if only because we'd feel bad about the good food going to waste if we didn't eat it.

For those inclined to the most common reaction, Reesa has posted a chore and errand list. One thing not listed on there, because of its different scope, is my ongoing job hunt. I am looking for full-time work as a Linux administrator or PHP developer, which is a time-consuming process of applications and rounds of interviews. I've had no trouble finding job listings, but that leaves me at the beginning of the long process on each one. If you know a job opening (or even just an HR director) somewhere your recommendation will carry weight, getting my foot in the door and on to the interview would help a lot. I'll probably want help with other things as time goes on, which will get added to Reesa's list or posted here, as appropriate. I'll also be posting periodic job hunt progress here, until something pans out.

Reminders of the importance of positive thinking are, while nice, somewhere between moot and frustrating: we know, and anyone who has seen Reesa recently can already tell we're on top of that. Coming over and spending some happy time with us, on the other hand, certainly helps us with the minute-to-minute up-chin-keeping. Grief tends to stifle happy conversation from others, in a misguided attempt to not trivialize the pain; that's understandable, but our friends and family continuing to have good lives, and to share them with us, is more important.

I'm acting as Reesa's patient advocate, which means (among other things) filtering the stream of information so she can focus on healing. If you have medical advice or contacts to share, please send it my way. Unfortunately, medical advice (amateur and professional) is often well intended but poorly delivered; I would much rather bear the brunt of that myself, wherever possible. If my enforcement of this is brusque, I apologize, but adding to Reesa's stress is something I won't sit quietly for right now.

This has been difficult to write. In part that's due to the subject, in part it's because I have kept quiet about my life recently, for a variety of personal reasons. The reasons for that reticence are past and insignificant now; you didn't miss much except stale drama, and I'll be posting much more publicly in future. Anyone needing more info is welcome to ask for a private explanation, which I will be forthright as possible with. I'll also be making a grief filter, to give myself more space and permission to process. If you would like to be on the filter, let me know in comments; not wanting to be on it (for whatever reason) is not something I will take amiss, as I don't want people to stop interacting with me online just to escape my pain.

Thank you to everyone who has already been out to support us, as well as those who have been keeping us in their thoughts. Thank you, my wonderful wife, for balancing me so well; even in the midst of this grief, you have been my rock, and your strength has kept mine present. I'd say I don't know what I'd do without you, but we've even covered that together. May we never need those plans.

Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)

Love at you both.

Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)

Love you! And I admit, I'm thrilled to my toes that you are with Reesa, someone who is able and willing to support her the way she deserves. Please add me to your grief filter if you'd like, and either way, I'm here, or there, but always nearby.

Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)

I'll be in Austin on Monday. If you would like me to come over and just clean house (or run other errands if housecleaning is not the most pressing need) for a few hours (say 11-4 or 5), I'll be glad to.

Contact information for me is here; cell will be best. If I don't answer leave a message.

Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)

I would like to be on the filter.

Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)

Oh filter. I would love to know what I can do, and am always good for an ear.

Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)

I am so sorry to hear about the malignancy, and happy that you two are together. Please do include me on your filter. I'm not sure what else I can say but to send my love to you both.

Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)

Oh geez- I don't even know where I want to begin.

Mazel tov! I didn't know you'd gotten married! I do tend to be remiss in keeping tabs on my distant loved ones. And I apologize for that.

But regarding the more recent matters... I know that you know that I completely understand what you're going through. It's hard to know you're parents are ill, it's agonizing to know your children are ill, but the one person in your life you always expect to stand by you and support you when disaster strikes... it's its own very special kind of personal hell.

I don't know if it's just that my own experience has tainted my view of reality, but I will tell you this: You have the right outlook, and if you can maintain it the two of you will be alright. Nobody expected Mike to make it, but he sure as hell did. And our lives are better for having walked through that particular fire.

If you ever need to talk to somebody about having a spouse with cancer, or being a patient advocate for somebody with cancer, or about something completely unrelated without the word "cancer" coming up once, I am here for you.

So yes, obviously, put me on your filter. But it there is ANYTHING else I can do... as a friend, an ally, or someone with experience in your situation, please please please let me know.

Much love, always.
(Deleted comment)

Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)

Yes I would be included in the grief filter. Black humor is good for the soul when things seem bleak.
Also ranting (privately) can be a relief from the up beat attitude that is needed for the healing process and good for your process in this intense time.

Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)

Y'all will be in my thoughts. Feel free to add me to the greif filter.

Tue, Mar. 23rd, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)

I'll be on the grief filter, if ya want. I don't want to trivialize what you and Reesa are going through by comparing it to my breakup and sobriety shit, but well... I think there is SOME sense in which grief is grief, and loss is loss, even though it certainly comes in different qualities and quantities, if that makes any sense. And I've got a helluva lot of both right now. Maybe we can be of some assistance and support to each other.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)

Well I have been very out of touch with you, and everything else Austin since I left. I didn't even know you were married! Congratulations to that, and I will send good healing energy your way. And I can send a force of that from wherever I am, I wish you both health and happiness.