Sunday, August 8, 2010

Frustrated

My doctor told me last week that my total maintenance chemo plan will last for two years. That means I'll be getting treatment until May 2012.

So I'm stuck here for another two years. I love my doctor and nurse, the hospital and all the staff here and have no desire to get treatment anywhere else. I feel that the team here is the best fit for me and I'm in the best place possible.

But.... then there's wanderlust I can't seem to get out of my system. Being tied to a specific place because of treatment frustrates me. It makes me feel like my life is not my own, that I have no self-determination, like someone - or something - else is in charge instead of me. I should be in charge. It's my life. It isn't only the idea that I want the power to determine where I go, but I love going different places and experiencing new things. I'm stuck in a rut here, living in the house I grew up in, in the same room, in the same bed I've had since I was six (yeah, I know, time to get a new one).

Part of the way I've been dealing with being stuck in treatment again is by imagining what I will do when I'm done. I like to think about going back to France, or different degree programs in different cities I can do. Above all I think about going back to France. It has almost a mythic quality for me. It's a place where I wasn't sick, where I was completely independent, totally in charge of my own destiny, working and traveling and doing all the things normal 20somethings do. I've never had that experience in the US. I spent most of college in treatment or recovering from my first transplant and then I ran off to France. In the US I feel perpetually stuck in adolescence. I can't even enroll in classes and do something productive with my time while I'm stuck here because I have to go to the hospital for so many different appointments. It would be too difficult to schedule. Maybe next semester or next year? And I know I could take online classes, but that isn't that same. I want to go OUT and do things, not be stuck in the house all the time.

I'm just disappointed. I need some change. I am going out and doing things, meeting people, but that's also a frustrating experience because one of the first questions anyone asks is "what do you do?" And I have nothing to say to that. I usually say that I recently got back from teaching English in France, but that was a year ago now. It just reminds me that the majority of the world is living and doing productive things and I am not. It's embarrassing, and yet another reminder that my life has taken a totally different path from anything I ever thought it would.

Everyone join in loud and clear: THAT SUCKS.

Guess it's time for a new two year plan. I like to mope about my problems for a couple of days and then get on with things, make some positive changes. Right now I'm moping, and tomorrow I'll regroup. France will still be there in two years, right?

17 comments:

Amanda said...

Ooooooh. I hearya about the "almost mythic quality" of France. How long of breaks/travels/trips/whatev away from home are you allowed to take during this period? Know that you always have a place in Paris-- my very tiny apartment actually appears to supposedly have 2 beds (I don't know for sure until I arrive this coming weekend). If they let you, definitely make a trip...even if it is in 2012. Heavens. I know nothing I say will stand up to this understandable frustration, but hang in there.

Animesh said...

THAT SUCKS!

Yeah. Sad to hear about the update. Hang in there M!

-A

Mary Harvest Kitchen said...

WHAT A DRAG.

In other news, *I'm* happy to have you here in town! Clearly we need to come up with a fun project with flexible schedule that gets you out and about doing exciting things/meeting people/having something to tell folks when they ask. Let's get together sometime and brainstorm...

getyourselfconnected said...

Well, if it helps the wife and I bought her Mom's house, the same house that my wife grew up in and we took her old bedroom for our room! She is never getting out, LOL!

I am pretty sure France will still be there in 2 years, but I will have to check :)

Sorry you are having a tough time. All my best.

Zhu said...

I'm with you, that suck. I would go crazy if I were told I was 'stuck' somewhere for the next two years. Actually, it happened before for reasons I won't detail here: in 2006-07 were were stuck in Ottawa and I thought I'd go nuts.

But guess why: I didn't. I actually did quite a lot during these two years. It doesn't sound so bad now, a few years later.

Plus, see the positive side: 2012 is national elections years in France - there is a chance Sarko will be out!

au soleil levant said...

Amanda - I didn't know you were leaving for Paris so soon! I'm so excited for you! Thanks for the offer to let me stay with you. I am hoping to go to France sometime after the new year, but of course that will depend on how long the hospital can spare me. Last month I had the first week without something to do at the hospital since October, so maybe by then I'll have a little more leeway?

Animesh - thanks

Mary - thanks! I do hope we can find some time in our super busy schedules to see each other soon!

GYSC - OK, I concede the award for longest in the same house to your wife. Must be a pretty great house! I hope you guys aren't using the same bed she's had since she was a kid though :) Thanks.

Zhu - You are definitely making up for not traveling now, aren't you! And I guess I have to wait for Sarko to be out of office anyway. He's so anti-foreigner he'd probably kick me out personally!

L said...

I don't know what's available around you, but you might look into volunteering (library, school, soup kitchen, etc). It's not as fulfilling as traveling the world, but at least you have something to do where people need you and you can meet new people. And then you can have something you "do", even if it's not paid.

Monique said...

That's such a bummer :( But, I mean look at this this way, you get lots of extra time to spend with family and the people who matter to you, right??

We're still young! You have time after the two years are over to explore the world :) Whenever I move away (like now) I really appreciate the time I was able to have with my family. Just a point of view, that's all.

au soleil levant said...

L - thanks for the suggestion, yes, I have been looking into volunteer opportunities. Some of it depends on how germy the environment is though. I love working with kids, but maybe not the best idea now that flu season is about to start again, for example.

Monique - yes, I enjoy seeing my family and people here who I care about, that is a good thing. Missed seeing them when I was away!

Amanda said...

Definitely keep me posted! That would be a very nice New Year's present, right?! :-)

getyourselfconnected said...

Could a Friday Night song selection cheer you up?

au soleil levant said...

Amanda - yes, a very nice present! I'll let you know.

GYSC - I haven't been sitting around moping all week, just so you know! I'll take a music pick anyway :) How about Borderline by Madonna? You can never go wrong with Madonna! If that one is objectionable I'll take any other Madonna song.

getyourselfconnected said...

Madonna's "Borderline" may be a tough one, but I am 100% sure I will find something. My favorite is "Live to tell" but I just played a it a little while ago.

I did not think you were moping all week, nothing can keep you down!

Amber said...

On the note of volunteering, look up Teachers Without Borders -- most of that stuff you could do from home and they need both experienced teachers and people who speak French and English to help them develop training courses for people in remote places in Francophone Africa. You could definitely add some value to that program!

And as for being stuck for two years, France will still be here when you are 100% healthy and done with this mess for good. I'll have a lovely guest room in Lille and a smiling little baby who would be more than happy to have you any time! I have to admit i'd be going stir crazy stuck in the same place for a fixed amount of time, but just think of all the possibilities you'll have once your life is finally back in your hands. That is definitely something to look forward to.

au soleil levant said...

GYSC - thanks again for playing my Madonna, and your faith in my optimism!

Amber - thanks for telling me about Teachers Without Borders, looks like a very interesting organization. I will definitely be taking you up on the offer of a guest room at some point!

Leesa said...

THAT SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS beans Mir!! Sorry to hear that piece of news but I am wondering if you can get away for a few weeks to come to Costa Rica in Feb or March... That is if you can or if you want to ... I'll be there til 8 March... or possible later ... til the end of March...

au soleil levant said...

Costa Rica???!!! Sign me up! Although, I'd probably have to consult about the relative germiness of the country first... but that would be amazing!