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week 52

The real week 52.
One year ago, Penny went into the hospital. She had acute anemia. Her blood pressure was 70/35. She was surviving because she was extremely dehydrated, so her blood was acting like blood instead of like water with a few blood cells in it.

The anemia was caused by the inwards rupture of a tumor on the juncture of her esophagus and stomach, caused by erosion from acid refluxing because of fluid building up in her abdomen. Blood, noxious masses of thoroughly dead cancer cells, and fluids were being dumped into her stomach regularly; she felt too nauseated to eat.
When she did eat, the effort of digesting the food was almost too much for her liver, one third of which had been invaded and replaced by cancer, which left a protective shell of liver around itself.

The cancer was, incidentally, mostly dead. If it could have been removed somehow, along with the cellular breakdown materials, her liver might have been able to recover. Livers are tremendously effective at repairing themselves.

That's assuming the mass that was forming around her heart, around the pericardial membrane, could have been convinced to stop growing, and go away.

A week later, we still thought there was hope. Tuesday, a few days short of a year ago, she came home, again with the help of the ambulance. We got her onto the bed, and she was able to rest, and almost get comfortable, and then Wednesday was a day of rest. And Thursday, the 12th, she died while I was away.

This weekly thing has been more about how I'm coping than about Penny and what she was like. I find that depressing and stupid but typical. I'm both better and worse than I was at her birthday, and at Christmas.
I think perhaps similar to Feb 14th, our anniversary.

Friday of next week is the 12th. Friends offer dinner at their place, with other friends, and games or something afterwards. Something feels wrong about that.

I'm going to pray about it some more, and probably will have whatever guidance I'm going to get by then, and thus will make arrangements on Sunday. I don't feel right inviting other people to the Roth's place, and I don't feel right doing anything like this without Brad and Linda, at least, so I suppose I'll need to ask Janet if there's a better venue.

I guess I've survived most of a year without her, but survived is about as good as I can call it.

From stress, I haven't been cleaning or organizing stuff nearly enough, and I haven't got a permanent job yet, though I do have a few leads. I've had my formal year of full-on grieving, and I know better than to say that it's over with, but, I think it's time to start making some choices to live.

If possible, that'll include some of the things I wanted to do but couldn't. And of course, I need to begin taking care of myself properly again.

If this seems terse ... There's SO much that I'm not putting down here.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
I'm very proud of you, man. I'll say a prayer for Penny.
Jan. 5th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
It sounds as if others, in their attempt to ease things for you for the one-year marking, are making their own plans - but you're not comfortable with that.

What would YOU choose to do to remember Penny?
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Well... I intend to take flowers to the memorial garden, and probably read something out of the prayerbook, but that's going to be personal.

I think it's that I'm vaguely put off by the idea being put so implacably, "You shouldn't be alone".
Well, yeah, but I have been for a year.

And yes, part of it will be that I WILL break down at least once, and while I love and trust these guys, I still hate feeling helpless.
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
There's something I dislike about the "you shouldn't be alone" stuff. You will still have to go home and sleep alone, and get up the next morning and be alone, and all the days, as you said, that you HAVE been alone.

It's like when some store clerk offers to help me out to my car with something especially heavy and I say, "Unless you're going to come home with me and get it OUT of my car and take it into the house for me, I'll get it myself, thanks."
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
Your year of weekly reflection has been an inspiration to me and has moved me, on more than one occasion, to value what I have even more than I already did.

You know there's no such thing as a time limit on grieving. I do hope that you're now in a place now where you can start taking care of yourself properly again, as you know you must. And if you're ever in the Bay Area, lunch/dinner is on me.
Jan. 8th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
:::Hugs::: I've been watching time ramp up for this post...glad you're surviving. You may feel like it's just been about coping, but just from my rather outside POV, I can always tell what she meant to you.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )