Why, God?

It's 2:00 in the morning...

...and I can't find my glasses.

I fumble for them on my nightstand. Of course, I shouldn't NEED my glasses at 2:00 in the morning. But once again my eyes have sprung open, the events of the last few weeks playing over and over in my mind.

My first week of chemo hasn't been that bad, really - so far. I was pretty weak yesterday, and generally felt sort of "yucky" (for want of a better word!) - it seemed like everything I ate wasn't quite sure it wanted to be there for a moment or two. I used to LOVE drinking ice water - I'd have a glass next to me all day long as I worked (okay, HALF the time it was a Coke... okay 2/3 the time....), but now my lips feel all fuzzy and everything liquid feels kind of oily in my mouth. I am not pleased with that much at all!

My intestines feel like they are cinched up in a knot most of the time, my fingers are tingly, and this evening when I tried to write out a check at the grocery store, my handwriting wobbled like an 80 year old man's.

But mostly I have just been so weak and tired.

What are all these chemicals racing through my body REALLY DOING to me?

* * *

So now I am lying in the dark, wondering what is going happen next.

A month ago my life lay before me an endless highway. And now someone has come along and plopped down a giant, black and flourescent-orange barricade some short distance ahead,

"Road Ends Here."

All the things I had hoped yet to do around on the other side.

I agonize over what a terrible parent I have been to our five kids, so focused on myself and MY life instead of my kids.

But my stay in the hospital - BEFORE I found out why I was really there - had opened my eyes to that. I was going to spend more time with them. I was going to put them first. With a job that offered two weeks vacation for the first time in my life, we were finally going to take a real family vacation this summer. (I had always worked freelance, and there was no such thing as a paid vacation for me... well, the way I worked freelance, there wasn't much of a PAID anything... but that's another story!)

We were all dreaming of the new van we were going to buy this spring. The kids saw it equipped with a VCR and Playstation.... okay, I was hearing the really deluxe, multi-speakered stereo!

And then we were planning a week up at a cabin in Minnesota. Swimming in the hot sun. Fishing. Campfires at night out on the beach. I was going to teach the kids how to water ski.

That's not going to happen.

Half the time now I am so worn out from the chemo it is a struggle to do anything at all with the kids.

What's going to happen if I am not around in another two years?

What is Dani ever going to do with five kids??!! We were barely managing with the TWO of us!!!

But I can't be thinking about all of this! I need to be ASLEEP.

Originally written the summer of 1999

2011 Paul Dallgas-Frey