Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Week Highs & Lows

First the highlights. We had such a good time in Las Vegas. It was definitely much more low key than previous trips, but we knew it would be like that beforehand. Michael has been very low energy this cycle, and I knew he wasn't going to be up for a lot of activity. He took lots of naps. Nevertheless, we managed to have a good time.

Our accommodations at the Encore were swanky and super comfortable. I really love having a spa bathroom when we stay in a place like that. I think it was ten or twelve times larger than our bathroom here. Actually, it was probably larger than our bedroom. LOL! We had some delicious meals, I did a little shopping, and we really enjoyed the two Cirque du Soleil shows we saw - LOVE and O. LOVE was so whimsical, and I felt like singing along (but I didn't!) with all the Beatles songs. O was more like a beautiful, nonsensical dream. It is really amazing what those performers are able to do. I was simply awestruck during both shows. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing the hotels decked out for Christmas. In the Palazzo were two gigantic polar bears, and their coats were made of white poinsettias. They were gorgeous.

And now for the lows...

I had an ongoing conversation with Michael about the commitment he had made to play a Christmas Eve service. It was obvious to me that he was not in the physical shape to keep that commitment, but it took several days to help him see that. We are now having the same discussion about a commitment he made for New Year's Eve, but I think he is going to let a friend cover that for him, too. I know he wants to play music with his friends, but now is not a good time for spending energy he doesn't have.

As I said, this cycle has been really difficult. The cough is horrendous, and it steals a lot of sleep from us both. It's only by the grace of God that I have enough energy to get through my days. We've also come to the realization that the sore on his finger that we first thought was a side effect from the Sutent last cycle is more likely RCC. The pain in that finger and the RCC site on his scalp are debilitating. Michael says the pain is about an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. We are returning to UCLA on Monday to discuss pain management, however Dr. K is out of the country and so we won't be able to see him. But I will ask for an appointment with him as soon as he returns. Michael's weight loss has got me thinking that it may be time to adjust the treatment now. He cannot afford to lose ten pounds a month from now until March, which would be the next time Dr. K has a CT scan to assess.

Because Michael has been feeling so poorly, we stayed home on Christmas Eve. I fixed a big pot of chicken noodle soup, some French bread, and we had some panacotta for dessert, but I couldn't get him to eat much. I'll admit that I had a little pity party for myself because there was no church, and no time with friends or family. It was what Michael needed, but I felt sad and lonely. Thankfully, Christmas Day was better. Michael was still very low energy, but we made it to my sister's for the first half of the day, and his parents' for dinner. It was so good to be with our loved ones.

Today Michael says he's feeling much better than he has the last few days, and that makes me feel good, too.

I am really struggling with our space right now. Our home is so small and we have too much stuff. Michael is an admitted pack rat, and he isn't up to better organizing his stuff and keeping things neat. Two rooms in particular are really bugging me - the back bedroom, and our patio room. The back bedroom used to by my office, but once Michael moved in, I pretty much gave it up so he could have a studio space. Of course, I was thinking that wouldn't last too long, and that it would soon be a nursery. But it's been two years and he has just continued to fill it with stuff. I have heart palpitations just thinking about it.

The patio room is another room cluttered with junk. In the past I have used it for another living space, but it has morphed into an extension of our garage because the garage is packed with boxes and boxes of Michael's treasures. Part of the mess in the patio room is my fault. I have been trying to sell used books on Amazon for the last year-and-a-half, and I have my inventory out there. I'm getting out of that business because sales have been terrible since the economy tanked earlier this year. I plan to de-list my inventory in the next few days and donate most of what I have to a local thrift shop. That will free up some space. Anyway, if I don't do something about all this stuff, I'm going to get in the car and drive away and never return. I can't stand being in my own home anymore. I feel like it's been taken over and that I have no control of my own space.

It's a terrible feeling.

So, I'm going to get off the computer and start doing something about it.


Michelle with a K said...

I'll make you a deal. I will come out there and help you declutter if you will then follow me back to AZ to do the same at my place. I am in the same boat and know exactly what you mean, right down to the palpitations!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Sounds like you had a great time in Vegas... sorry to hear that Michael is a little down.. hopefully they can help him feel better..
Have a great week.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Decluttering is cathartic. You tackle those projects and youre gonna feel like a new woman!
Do you have the week off? I hope you find it relaxing. Merry late Christmas and Happy New Year,

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

Just a quick idea on your books. When I was on PTA at my kids school I started a used book sale. It is now a standing tradition. The first year the PTA collected books and managed the sale, the proceeds went to the PTA.

Now the PTA collects the books and offers them to different organizations within the school that would like to manage the sale. Last year our Reading Core did this. I am not sure who will this year.

At any rate it is a fairly easy way for a school to earn money. You might talk to your school and see if anyone is interested. I would be glad to answer any questions they may have on how we do our book sale.

When I was involved I insisted that books be .25 because it was important to me to get books in the hands of our kids. If you wanted this to be a big fund raising event you could charge more for the books.

Penny Malley said...

If you do decide to get in your car and drive, don't come here because you'd be walking into a house much like your own. I walk from room to room, and all I see is stuff to clean and/ or get rid of. It's debilitating.But hey, that's what New Year's resolutions are for, right? (Ha.)
So glad you enjoyed a nice time in Vegas. I'd love to see it decorated for Christmas.

K said...

Too bad we live so far apart. I'd love to help you organize if you can help me. Sometimes a fresh eye and a friend is all it takes. My sewing room is beyond being The Final Frontier. I think it's now The Land of the Lost. My bedroom is impossible. I still have boxes in the corner and the clothes seem to explode all over the place since, in this climate and with my job, I seem to need to layer up and layer down and do a complete change several times a day.

I'm glad your Vegas trip turned out well and your Christmas Day.

I hope that UCLA can start M on a better course. Cancer is sure a sucky disease!!! I'm sorry you both have to go through this.

Ang said...

yes,... when i am cluttered i CANNOT see the forest for the trees. getting rid of stuff is so freeing and it will help, atleast for me!
I love after christmas to get rid of STUFF>>>

i am sorry michael is not feeling well at all. i can imagine it is just as hard or more being the caretaker... i am sorry for this for you.

i am reading here lots but cannot always comment due to low speed internet. but know you are being prayed for!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Joannah!!! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time in Vegas...but so sorry that Michael has been so ill...I've kept you both in my thoughts and prayers...but this disease, no matter what, is simply TERRIBLE!!!! And I definitely think that decluttering will lift your spirits...nothing like being able to make a difference that you can see when life itself seems out of control because of the disease!!!! I will pray all the more for you both!!!! Love you, Janine XO

Alex and Jill said...

Sounds like a fun trip to Vegas!

I'm sorry your Christmas Eve wasn't great, but so glad you were able to spend time with family on Christmas.

My Grandfather has currently stopped treatment...this is likely the last Christmas we will have him. I hate this disease. You guys are always in my prayers, sweet friend.


Sara said...

Hi there,

I haven't commented in a bit, but I am always reading and checking in. I'm sorry about the lows and happy for the highs. You're treasuring the good moments, which is what is most important.

As for the stuff...urgh, I know how you feel! My advice is to enlist a friend or two and just get militant about it. Donate donate donate -- you'll feel good about getting rid of stuff and getting it to others who can use it, and be sure to keep an inventory so that you can take tax deductions. Now if only I could follow my own advice ;)


Calico Sky said...

Trying to think practically, is there any way any of your friends or family would let you store things in their basements? Somtimes you realize you can do without things when you haven't had them for a few months ;)