How We Forget

My Status: Feeling Good
Mood: Content

Last night I was finishing up some work stuff and trying to figure out what my evening would look like, when I smelled a waxy, unscented, burning candle-like smell coming from downstairs. Denny was downstairs puttering around in the kitchen getting ready for work (he worked graveyard last night). Next thing I know, Elsa (my little blonde pup) is upstairs, plumping both paws on my left leg, giving me the full pick me up treatment and panting hard. I told her no and gently pushed her paws aside. She then ran around to my right leg and repeated her performance. I again told her I wasn’t picking her up and asked what was wrong. Usually, she takes my no and curls up at my feet. Not to be denied, she squeezed past my legs onto the small desk shelf and crawled up my legs into my lap.

She was distraught and shaking, so I cuddled her for a few moments and set her down… she crawled into my lap again after running out to the landing to peer down the stairs. I couldn’t figure out what had her so excited and unnerved that she needed to be held.

Until Denny came up the stairs, rack from the toaster over in hand and said, “You know how you always tell me to put a plate under my food …” and showed me how the plastic plate had melted onto the rack. *sigh* He’s right, I have told him once or twice to make sure he puts a plate under whatever he’s heating up … in the microwave.

Why am I telling this story (other than the fact that it is funny and the house didn’t burn down)? It certainly isn’t to make fun of Denny for making a mistake. Or to point out how on the ball Elsa was in trying to alert me to something be wrong down below. The reason I am sharing this story is it so aptly illustrates how Denny is handling the journey with me through cancer and chemotherapy. As I mentioned before this journey is not mine, and mine alone. My health and well-being affects my family and friends, just as theirs affects me. Truthfully, Denny has been having a tougher time of things than I have. Forgetting things (like my 1st chemo appt.), being more tired, making mistakes he would never otherwise make. Like this one.

It’s not like heating things up in the toaster oven is a foreign activity for him. We use the toaster oven on a daily basis … and I mean we and not me. And yes, I recently had to remind him to put something under the food in the microwave—which he also already knows. So why is he so forgetful? Do I think he’s starting to go into early Alzheimer’s territory?

No. I don’t think dementia is setting in. I truly believe he is suffering from worrying too much about how things are going to go with me, and pushing those feelings down instead of talking about the fears. When you suppress so many feelings, and force yourself to be strong, there are negative side effects. He’s suppressing so much right now, he’s close to suppressing everything, so things that you know and take for granted that you know? Gone. One moment you know you need to take your keys to leave in your car… the next, you’re walking out the door without them. Why are you so forgetful? Because your mind is so occupied with keeping those things from you that you’re afraid to deal with or reveal.

I picture his mind much like the picture above. He will have a clear, almost sunny stretch, where lucid thought is easy, and he has his usual firm grasp on the essentials, but then something will trigger a thought about me, and the clouds come rolling in trying to bury the fears by hiding them in the mist. What are his fears? I can only guess. Fear that I will need more care than he feels capable of. Fear of losing me. Fear of my being in pain. In some ways, it is much easier to be the patient. I’ll deal with the hell when it comes, and I won’t be dealing with it alone. But Denny feels like he is alone in what he has to deal with. How can he possibly burden me with his fears? In some respects, he’s right. At the moment, I’d be able to deal with his fears just fine, but depending on how my journey continues, things may reach a point where I wouldn’t be able to help him deal with his fears. (And I’m hoping that won’t happen, and expect that it won’t—so far anyway.) But he’s not alone. And I hope to help him see that. BEFORE the house burns down. 😀

So how am I? Pretty good. Trying to get the sleep disruption under control. Still. Better night last night, but the night before that was pitiful. I have been taking the time not writing to do a little reading. Something I love and need to make more time for. I almost started writing last night. The characters (Tim and Tom) were willing and I had opened up the WIP (Work In Progress), but then I closed it. After getting better pain-wise, my right hand was hurting quite a bit after the full day’s work. The past few days have been a lot of coding work and I have not been wearing my compression glove because it was causing too much pain after removal. Which means I have to take extra care in not wearing out my hands with typing.

I tried to get a hair appointment for tomorrow to get my hair cut off (yes, I’m going short), but my stylist is getting over a cold, so the shearing will happen on Wednesday. Today is better pain wise, but I will also not work tonight for the same reason. By the end of the work day, my nerves in my hand, wrist, and forearm are tingling. Not only that… the tingles are migrating to the left. With the bloating and water retention and the little white cells running around and giving all the other blood cells the pep talk, it would sincerely be nice if my body would allow me a chance to write a little. I think my characters have settled down, and they are starting to talk to me again. But tonight, I will be good, and read.

Tomorrow—I write.

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13 Comments on “How We Forget”

  1. I can attest to the forgetfulness that can be sparked by excessive stress and worry. I remember once we were shopping and I was seriously stressed/worried about family issues. As we were going down the bread aisle I said “we need bread” and tossed a loaf into the cart. Apparently I repeated this same action at least 7 times – one right after the other- until the hubs finally said “how many loaves do we need?” I literally had no conscious memory of having put ANY bread in the cart let alone SEVEN loaves. I was simply so overwhelmed that my brain just short circuited.

    I can only imagine how stressed your hubs must be given the circumstances. It’s no wonder he’s stumbling through daily life from time to time.

    I’m glad you are taking some time to rest and read – you need to pamper yourself a bit and, let’s face it, no matter how much we enjoy it writing IS work after all. So relax and take in some good reads then dive back into the WIP. If the hands won’t cooperate maybe try some speech recognition software? Then you can just lay back and chatter away while your hands rest.


    1. I LOVE it Your sparkly heart

      You GET those loaves of bread. And I totally get it. I have been known to wander around the house looking for something… keys, glasses, whatever — that I am actually carrying in my hand. The mind plays with us just for kicks, I’m sure of it… or maybe it’s just MY mind.

      Anyway, I’m not sure I could adapt my process to speech recognition and have it make any sense. If I’m truly in the writing zone, I usually have headphones on and I am known to sing along with whatever is playing… I’d inadvertently leave a song lyric in the text (that I had sung out while thinking) and wind up in court being sued for copyright infringement. And somehow the words “But your honor, it was the speech recognition software, I swear I was just singing along.” wouldn’t cut any ice in court. 😀

    2. Awww thanks. 🙂 It was funny, I’ll admit. Apparently I just stood there saying “oh, we need bread” *put loaf into cart*. Two second later “Oh, we need bread” *put loaf into cart*.

      Eventually he just started taking loaves out as I was putting them in. LOL. Thankfully he understands my brand of crazy. 😉

  2. Just finished reading your latest installment. I’m so glad you are blogging and sharing many aspects of this journey with us. I really understand exactly how relevant the story about Denny and the plastic plate is.

    You’re in my thoughts all the time and am continuing to pray for your full recovery.


    1. Thanks, Lisette. I think it is important to share all aspects. Because as I keep saying, this isn’t all about me. 😀 And your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.

  3. Poor Denny. He’s not equipped for this kind of stress. By the time all is said and done, you’ll need a new set of dishes and a new toaster oven, and he’ll need a new set of nerves. Glad you can find the humor in all of this.



    1. You’re right. He’s not equipped for this kind of stress. I just think it’s funny that he used a plastic plate (throwaway variety) when we had ceramic plates in the cupboard … that wouldn’t have melted. Poor guy. We’ll get through this somehow. (He may be a little worse for wear then, though.)

  4. You are a very empathetic woman to give so much thought and concern to your hubby. Your love for him shines through in this post and he’s a lucky man. You should encourage him to reach out to a spousal support group–I’m sure there is one available. He might poo poo the idea, but it would be good for him and help alleviate your worry for him.

    I agree with Rhonda on the speech software. It might still the voices in your head…

    Hugs and prayers.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Christy. You nailed it when you said he would poo poo the idea. I have encouraged therapy, support group, and talking with someone one on one who has been through it with his wife. And I will keep doing so. He’s not ruling one of the multitude of options out, but still hasn’t acted on any of them. And this is something I can’t do for him.

      The rest I have given my hands seems to have paid off, much less tingly this morning. 😀

  5. So happy your characters are starting to whisper to you. I hope they start screaming and you can no longer resist!

    Love your blog. Love your kick-ass bravery. Love you.

    Now, start writing you slacker! <3

    1. ROFL!!! Your last comment gave me a belly-laugh. I FEEL like a slacker on the writing front at the moment, but I will be busting out the words soon. 🙂

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