Life

I’m getting ready to board a flight to Dallas. Our projects there have been delayed due to weather and I need to make a few “executive decisions” about how to deal with damages to our office. 

Life is life. They found another mass in Julie’s latest scan. On the left side. 

We are coping with it. 

I feel like I should write something but don’t feel that I’m at a point where I want to share everything that’s in my head right now. 

Forgive me. 

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And the there was C 

Yes. She is back. 

I have managed to avoid C for a while now. In fact, after Julie was diagnosed with her cancer in July, I pretty much cut off all communications with C. 

I didn’t want to be a complete ass, so rather than unfriend her on Facebook, I simply unfollowed and moved her to my acquaintance list so none of her posts show up in my news feed. 

I have been working in her sleepy little town in New Mexico, though and with her now being a Deputy, I do see her from time to time. We don’t speak and truthfully, I’ve been grateful for that 

Last time we did speak, she was on this kick where she felt the need to tell me all about her sexual exploits. Apparently, she now has an actual girlfriend and felt compelled to tell me about a recent fight they had. 

My response was less than polite. 

  
 
That last part where it says, “and for the record” was where I was explaining that I’m not sleeping with anyone besides Julie. I was so flustered and frustrated I just started to spew. 

I haven’t heard back from her and if I’m lucky I won’t. 

Sad how I’ve gone from thinking of her as a dear friend to being repulsed to even associate with her. 

Back and forth 

Julie has cancer. Had cancer. Has cancer. 

Where exactly does she fall at this stage? 

She had her right breast, for all intents and purposes, removed in order to extract a malignant tumor that was still incapaulated inside the tissue. 

She is enduring chemo. The nasuea, the hours of sitting while toxins flood her system, the after effects of joint pain and the moodiness that all come as a free bonus when you get the news; “you have cancer!”

It’s getting colder and work is ramping up. I’m busy with hiring more inspectors, negotiating contracts and sporadically building bridges. This means leaving my beautiful and moody wife alone more than I’m comfortable with. 

Right now I’m on my way to El Paso, TX. For those who don’t know where that’s at, El Paso is so close to the Mexico boarder that I have to trek through border patrol stations anytime I leave town. Luckily, I learned early on to take off my ball cap and sunglasses and I’m simply waived through with a smile. Apparently, blonde haired, blue eyed butches don’t exist in Mexico so the question of my nationality is never brought up. 

Julie is struggling. She is feeling insecure. Wondering if she is still attractive, wondering if she is still going to be active, wondering if she is still loved. 

I hate that. I feel like all these insecurities are my fault. I should be doing more. Telling her more often that she is beautiful, sending more flowers, leaving more notes, holding her closer. 

The reality is that the cancer and its subsequent treatment is throwing her into an early menopause. This means that the “typical” mood swings that we expected from her diagnosis are amped up. 

She shuts me out. She gets angry at nothing. She pushes me away and then pulls me back in. 

She is too self conscious to allow me to see her topless, which makes sex awkward and clumsy. My job is now to make sure that I don’t make a big deal out of the fact that she is lying there with a tank top on and I’m not touching her breasts. 

I tell her I don’t care. I wrap my arms around her and kiss her neck. I love her. 

It feels like the cancer was the easy part….

NOLA 

  
Breakfast at Cafe du monde 

As you may remember, we decided to take an extended weekend trip to New Orleans to spend time with Huey and my grandson, James. 

It was a terrific time and one that lasted just long enough. Here are a few highlights!

   
   
Day one was rainy so we stopped into a little restaurant in the French Quarter. James had soda, I had wine and we all had a few laughs. Especially when James was trying to figure out how to take a selfie. 

   
 
Dinner was a light affair. We were all tired from our trip and James was getting cranky. Nonni remedied that! 

   
 
James insisted on sleeping with Julie and I. While I was fine with this arrangement, I was hoping to utilize the leather handles on the headboard. Next time! 

   
   
Day two was shopping and checking out the town. We even stopped at Harrah’s casino to try our luck. We won 30 bucks so I’d say it was a success.

   
    
   
The third and final day was the zoo! It was a bit overcast so the 5 hours we spent walking around wasn’t so bad.

All in all a good time was had by all! 

My spirit animal 

Tonight Julie is feeling better so I ventured out to get a quick run in.

As I walked in the house, she asked, “how did it go?”

Me: “It was good. I saw the damnest thing. I saw a raccoon with an empty beer can run into the sewer by the Mathisin house.”

Julie: “So you were able to do cardio AND you discovered your spirit animal. Sounds like a good workout to me.”

And the chemo hasn’t thwarted her sense of sarcasm…

To write or not to write 

Today wasn’t such a great day. 

Julie had her first round of chemo. Yes, I said chemo and not radiation. After much back and forth, her and the oncologist decided that the chemo would be the better route. 

Radiation is 4 times a week and the drive north to get it would be too much trouble. (It’s about a 3 hour drive from where we live)

Chemo, on the other hand is once a week and that seemed more manageable. 

At first Julie wasn’t wanting any of either. She insisted that they had removed the tumor and so it wasn’t necessary. The doctor was a smart ass and told her, “you are a Ph.D. I’m the real doctor.”

I laughed, then quickly turned my head when Julie shot me a look that my mother used to give me when I’d giggle in church. 

There is always the remote possibility that there is still a few cancerous cells lurking in there so they want to make certain. 

I drove up with Julie. Having been through it with my mother, I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Julie had read about it online so she was prepared for the time drain but not the aftershock. 

I asked her to eat a good sized breakfast and take in lots of fluids. 

“I’ll be peeing the entire five hours!”

I was insistent so she did. 

About three hours after the chemo, she was grateful. 

The food had pretty much been digested but at least she wasn’t dry heaving. And she hasn’t eaten anything since breakfast except a few sips of vegetable soup I picked up for her. 

I feel helpless. My wife is sitting in our bedroom in bed watching old episodes of The Tomorrow People on Netflix trying to get enough water and Gatorade in her so when she makes the next mad dash to the bathroom she doesn’t have an empty stomach. 

My mom never had this bad a reaction so I have to admit I am a little surprised. However, as Julie has reminded me, my mother was so damn tough that she walked around on a broken hip for two months before she decided it “bothered” her enough to do something. Therefore, chemo wasn’t about to take her down! 

I’m glad this is only once a week and it’s only for 6 weeks because I don’t know if either of us could take much more of this. 

You can look at the menu, just eat at home 

Amyone who knows me knows that I am faithful. Almost to a fault (if that can apply in this situation) 

So, cheating on Julie is one thing that has never been a concern. At least for me. However…if you recall, the original reason we broke up 20+ years ago was because back then, I didn’t feel the same sense of loyalty that I do today, and I strayed. 

Like most, I can appreciate a beautiful woman. I enjoy talking to someone who is intelligent and witty and I have to admit that when someone flirts with me its strokes my ego. 

One such thing happened tonight. Actually, it was more than just casual flirting on the other persons part. 

Let me back up a little. 

I have a lot of straight female friends that I flirt with on Facebook. We joke about moving to Utah so I can legally marry all of them, with Julie being my “first wife” (which apparently is a huge deal in the world of polygamy.)

We talk about how I’ll have to purchase an entire block so all my wives can have their own home for me to come visit them in. 

Julie laughs and thinks it’s all in good fun because it is. These women are mostly straight, mostly married and women I’ve known since childhood. 

Every once in a while I’ll get a message on Facebook from someone telling me that they have had a crush on me for years and never had the nerve to speak up. My typical response is simply, “that’s sweet and I’m flattered.” Even these comments don’t bother Julie. I joke about it and tell her each time one pops up on my messenger. 

Tonight, however, one rubbed her the wrong way. 

An old mutual friend of ours (I went to school with her and played basketball and volleyball with her, and Julie played softball and soccer with her) sent me a message on Facebook that threw both of us for a loop. 

“This is your drunk text for the night. I’d never have the nerve to tell you this in person but I think you are amazing. I love you more than you could ever know.”

I didn’t hide it from Julie or deny that the two of us do chat from time to time on messenger. It is always harmless and she is married so I never imagined that this would be a message I’d get from her. 

I could see the look on Julie’s face and it wasn’t a good one. 

“I don’t think I’m ok with this. I’m used to women flirting with you but this somehow feels a little wrong.”

Julie isn’t the jealous type. She knows I’m madly in love with her but this did strike a nerve. 

I didn’t respond to the message because I don’t know how. 

L has been a friend to both of us for over 30 years so I really don’t know how to feel or react to this. 

I’m not sure if Julie’s reaction is because this is a “real” person that she knows and not just one of my random, anonymous Facebook friends that she’s never met, or maybe it was the use of the word “love”. 

Either way, I have found myself in a sticky situation and I’m not sure how to proceed.