Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have been hiding lately. Not returning many of the phone calls I have received, not wanting to email or blog, just hiding. Maybe it was from having company for an entire week. I love my Dad and we had a great visit. I got back to eating better and all around it was a good choice to have him with me. But I am not used to having someone around 24/7 and maybe my with drawl into myself is partly in response to the visit. I don’t know. I am an entomologist, not a psychologist. And I am not a normal entomologist. I guess that is no surprise. I spent my time at college working in an USDA-ARS lab rearing insects not killing them. I did not take any classes on how to control insects. I took agriculture entomology classes where we did discuss pest suppression, etc. But I never took any classes focused on residential pest control. And I am still not particularly interested in controlling residential pests. I am always getting questions on how to do it, and I always refer them to my friend Kim who is extremely knowledgeable about that type of pest, along with mosquitoes. I have to admit that the amount of knowledge I gained about any of that, is loss in the recesses of my brain.

No I love to watch insects interact with their environment. I grow plants specifically to draw in certain types of insects to have them in my gardens. I am always bad about spraying my gardens with pesticides so I usually have to share more then half of my crop with the insects, and really I am ok with that.

But back to my hiding. I have talked to so many different people with cancer. Some never discussed their cancer with others outside of their very close team, which usually consisted of a relative or partner. I have not met as many who chose like me to put it out there and take a group of people with me on this journey. And everyone who I have invited on this journey has been there for me and has been so kind and gracious. Maybe because this time last treatment I was throwing temper tantrums and being so very nasty, well for me. I was so self involved and righteous and such an ass. And I swore this time I would not be such an ass. It is bad enough how much help I have to ask for, I don’t need to then punish these people who have so graciously and kindly volunteered to join me on this journey.

Maybe that is another reason why I am withdrawing into myself. Although I have talked to many cancer survivor and many of them had times of self exile. I don’t want to go anywhere; I just want to be home in my red chair. My comfortable faded, beach house vomited umbrella chair with the big ottoman that I rest my poor left foot on and hold ice on it. I want to be in my house with my dogs and cats and maybe a short visit from friends, but short. I don’t really want to talk. And folks this is only 2 chemo treatments. What happens to people who have years of this treatment? Do they have times of desired self exile? How can all of this happen in such a short time? Why did I go so public in the beginning and now want to just hide from it all? And I don’t want to do anything. Not crochet or knit, not cook or garden, maybe read and take myself to another world, another place, other characters. Even my visits to Ms Moon I am anxious and nervous and want to leave as soon as possible. And Ms Moon’s porch visits have been my salvation so many times. And the dear intelligent conversation of Ms Moon is more then I can keep up with.

Am I just tired of the cancer? I have a very low thresh hold to being sick for long times. I usually grow quiet weary of being sick, and even though I do not think of this cancer journey as being sick, it still falls into that category. I am tired of dealing with the cancer. I want to be normal again. To have energy to have intelligence to be able to think things through. To not feel like everyone is looking at me and thinking, “poor old scrawny bald woman.” And I know they must think that by the sorrow in their eyes. And I do look old and even though my belly is bloated from the chemicals affecting how well the entire body functions work, the rest of me is scrawny looking. From lack of physical exercise my muscles are hanging and my skin is loose and wrinkled. And because I still have gotten back to being able to drink 64 ounces of water a day like I did before the radiation, my skin also looks dry and parched. I realize that I am way more focused on this then other people are. And I know I see things in a bad light these days when it comes to my body, and I think that is another piece to the puzzle of my hiding.

I rarely think that something is the product of one action. Usually all events are caused by a series of other events, therefore when we look for one answer to a problem we are going to miss the rest of the reasons and the outcome will never be what we expect because we have not taken everything into consideration.

So I see the many causes of my self exile to the inside of my house. And today is Geeta’s birthday and I want to see her for her special day. So tomorrow I will have lunch with her, and I can do that. I would rather go home and hide under the bed, but she is such a beloved one that I will act normal, for me, and she will never know how uncomfortable I am being out in public having lunch. I will focus on her and her sweet hubby and enjoy our time together. And then I will scurry home to my sanctuary and return to my solitude.

I am still working. But I have quit wearing a scarf on my head and have gone back to being bald in the office. It cuts back on people coming into chat. So I can sit behind my computer screen and work and not have to be around people. Then I can sneak out the back door. And the people I want to hide from more then any are the ones that are being the most kind and worrying about me. I am a little afraid of being a bitch, a self involved jerk. I will go to Ms Moon’s today and sit on her porch and enjoy her sweet self while we talk and laugh. I will hold my fear of being away from my home deep in the dark place in my heart, and I will try and not monitor every word I say watching for meanness. I will try and relax and enjoy the company of a very beloved one. And I will call Vicki. I have barely called her. And she knows me so well, so she has been patient and left it up to me to call when I am able to talk. She is so dear, but even talking to her is difficult. I am not doing anything but watching my plants shrivel up in the heat and lack of moisture. I do not see or go or do anything worth discussing. So conversations are hard, and now with the loss of chickens and my plants dying I feel so much loss to this little “c”. By my lack of desire to do anything related to the world, to just hide and pretend I am not needed and that the world will just go along with out me.

I have lost so many chickens because of this fear to be away from the cloistered world of my house. But this morning it was finding Rose, my sweet Rose, with a broken neck. That was the last straw. And instead of making me want to get up and be a tigress and protect my beloved chickens, it makes me feel weak and vulnerable and like again I just want to crawl under the bed. But I will not. I will start to force myself to stand up. To get out of this place. To be nice and interact and allow me time with my beloved ones…..and to appreciate that time. After all I am so fortunate that I do not have to deal with as much as normal cancer patients have to deal with. I have always been gifted to be the golden child, the one that always has a happy outlook and a happy life filled with more blessings then any one person should have. And I appreciate all of the gifts and blessings I have been given.

Time to pull myself up and add medication to the list of reasons why I am hiding. And to look at all of the reasons and say, “so what?!?!!!!” and get back to living. I have cancer, not a death sentence. I have a life and opportunities and so many gifts. Get back up and appreciate them. Quit feeling sorry for yourself, and afraid of people. I think I can hurt them even more by hiding then by a few unpleasant words. I can apologize for a misspoken statement. As much as I don’t want to do that, but how do you apologize to your beloveds because you are afraid to be around them?

Back to life, back to work, back to myself. Enough already get up and get on with life. It is too precious to hide from.

And if you have not already gone over to Bless Our Hearts and watched disconnect, you really should. You will be so happy you have!!! And Ms Moon? She is amazing in this movie. She is such a talented actor, and you start to get that when you watch the movie. Oh! And I have my moment in the film. Yes, I do, I am the one towards the end when Mikey is going through the barn, and this can of paint hits the ground and rolls. That is me. Really, I dropped the can and made it roll. I am so proud. And honestly after watching Ms Moon act, I think I am quite happy to be in the back ground or the can roller. Just to be near her while she works and to be amazed at all the talent she has and how Freddie manages to show that off with such ease. Yep, get your popcorn out and watch Disconnect.

Oh, thank you for finally admitting that you are hiding, and to get up and back to life. And to all the people who love me and care for me. I owe you better, and I will be better. Really, I will.


  1. You know what I think, Kathleen? I think you have every right to be rude or to crave solitude or to feel whatever you want or need to feel. There is no right or wrong when it comes to that. NONE! I hate it when people tell me I shouldn't feel this way or that.
    What you said about being anxious when you are out? Do you remember that day we made soap? I wanted to be there so badly and it was such a good day. Such a fun day. No stress at all, just sweet smells and oils and fats and lye and your delicious chicken salad and yet, all day I was so anxious and nervous. Because that's what I was going through then.
    I understand that so completely. Remember when I made you leave Colin's party early?
    Yeah. I get it.
    I love you so much and I don't want you to try and force anything that feels wrong right now. If you need to sit in that chair, then sit in that chair!
    You are resting. It takes so much energy to deal with what your body is going through. You have to accept that and know what you will get your energy back. You will be back in the world. And we will be ready to play with you again.
    I love you.

  2. Dear Kathleen,
    How I wish I could say to you, face to face, holding your hands, (and I have never met you!) to say your world is full right now. Your body is trying to fight that bad ole' cancer and it gets weary. Your body, all of it from the tips of your toes to the top of your head are needing full use of itself. Sitting, elevating your leg/foot is enough in itself and what may need to be done now. When you are ready to get out and go you will. In the meantime a short visit is a visit. A chance to smile, laugh, cry...knowing that you will do this with those who mean the most is a gift to who you are. Good friends love you through thick and thin.

    I am so sorry about your hens...what is going on?

  3. I'm sneaking in to give you a quiet hug and a quick kiss on the forehead.


  4. I have had times when I need solitude and times when I wanted to isolate. I know that my isolation is a fear based thing. That isn't good for me. I need to inventory my feelings and get to the bottom of my discomfort. Hoping you will enjoy your time to be with others.