On Thursday I was feeling good and I wanted to have daddy daughter time, that would allow Faith to go run errands easily. "Go, go, go! I'll call if we need you" I said to Faith knowing Myrtle and I would be fine. "Besides, Myrtle is ready for a nap." Faith went and before I knew it I was too exhausted to pick up Myrtle. I mustered all I had to put in her crib for a nap and sat down on the recliner wanting to nap too. Myrtle cried and her cry was that of a need not being met (later learned she just needed a diaper change). We needed momma. I called Faith, left a voicemail then texted her.
I then called my parents to come, by that time I was in near tears - exhausted, frustrated, confused and betrayed by my body. In the meantime I brought Myrtle to her to toy box and laid there while she climbed over me until my folks came and minutes later Faith.
How very frustrating not being able to give Faith some time to run the home, or to bond with Myrtle and needing to call my parents for help. This is not how I pictured the life of a man in his 30's. My body seemed to have ditched me. I couldn't "people please" or get my own way. NEVER have I felt more useless.
There have been other times where things have gone south or just not as expected, but not being able to be the father I think Myrtle needs was the worst experience of my life. Lying at her toy box I just surrendered myself - it brought me to a compelled humility - I don't regret it.
I thought of the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Pretty wise words of wisdom to adopt, however I just ended up thinking of the "Serenity Now" Seinfeld episode; which is good as laughter is the best medicine.
Not being able to work has lead to an interesting "hardship" that has bothered me a bit and that is people helping. I love helping people, love it. Receiving help? Uh, ...I don't hate it per se, but it implies I need help and being the provider that's big horse pill to swallow. It's a good uncomfortable feeling that people have reached out, even WONDERFUL. Ladies from church have dropped off meals (even once a husband came along too) and that provided Faith much needed relief as she has now two babies to take care of. There have been kind words given via comments on this blog, Facebook, email, snail mail, phone calls, etc. People have contributed other ways and almost without exception I'm pleasantly surprised who has shown their support. Who I can now call a friend and who is welcome in my home has been expanded.
I do accept the things I cannot change, whether its just my diagnosis or that chemo might make me lose my hair.
My prayers include asking for courage to change the things I can and that is the golden ticket, focusing on what can be done, rather than what can't. I can be more honest with myself with what really matters to me. I now am pursuing hobbies and interests for whatever reason where not chased before.
Another change I can do is my diet. There's probably a long boring blog I could do on that topic alone. Contrary from me dropping from exhaustion, the changes in my diet have made me feel fantastic. My mood has improved, my mental clarity has changed from a mental fog to sunshine. Plus I've dropped a few pounds. I would attack tough times before armed with chips and ice cream (good-bye old friends). My father-in-law asked what I would eat once I "could have real food again" and I replied "I may never go back... But, if I would it'd be jalapeno chips."
The best change though for me is an increased optimistic attitude. I've only embarrassed myself anytime I've been negative - what a sad way to live. Not long ago someone I know was mocking the idea that one can do anything if they just put their mind to it. In my head I replied "Said the person who watches TV, has a laptop, drives a car..." We all use things everyday that are modern miracles dreamed of and built by people who were mocked for trying, but embraced the idea that one can indeed do anything if they just put their mind to it.
Armed now with prayer, modern medicine, a healthier diet and optimism not only will I live longer than otherwise, I will also live a life worth living.
My all time favorite movie is Cast Away and it's best line is "...I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow, the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"