This new life journey began quickly. He was going to begin treatment as soon as possible since the cancer was aggressive. One of my new roles was being a “secretary”. I was responsible for scheduling all doctors appointments, recording medicines, temperatures and and complaints. I had to organize the kids as to who was taking care of them when and where and make the drop offs as smooth as possible. Sometimes the kids were shuffled between two or three different places in a day. They didn’t really seem to mind, since they were being spoiled rotten. Everyone was taking them to fun places and letting them have a good time
I wasn’t so nervous about this role because I felt I had some control over it. I could keep my focus on being organized and detailed in my note taking. I became OCD about documenting everything he ate, drank and medicines he took. I took his temperature a lot and would watch him sleep…not sure he knows this. While he slept, I would read up on his illness and the treatments he was going to be having. Taking in this knowledge helped me feel like I was a part of the solution. I wanted to help and fix this for Pat, but I couldn’t. That pissed me off. I wanted to take away his pain. Since I obviously couldn’t do this, I just tried to take care of everything so he didn’t have to worry about anything else. As time went on, my role as secretary changed from being a crazy note taker, to being the one to call the doctors and keep track of all the paperwork.
On top of all of this, the new school year was beginning and I was heading back to work. I had to organize my classroom, redecorate, write lesson plans and attend all the back to school meetings. I didn’t know how I was going to do two full time jobs, but I didn’t really have a choice. I would leave the hospital for a few hours and work in my room, then head back to sit with him until bedtime. While at the hospital, I would write lesson plans and map out the first few weeks of school. I felt like my brain could never shut down. I was either focused on him or on work…not to mention the three boys of my own. They were heading back to school as well. I had back to school shopping to do for them and I wanted to spend some time with them. This wasn’t really going to be in the cards for a little longer.
When I had a chance I would take each one out for a quick shopping trip and then back to the hospital. Everything was about quickness and not being away too long. I didn’t want to be away from Pat because in my head I was the only one who could take care of him. The love I felt for him powered me to continue pushing forward. If I felt like I couldn’t do everything all I had to do was thinking about letting him down, and I would be right back to it. I want to take care of everyone, I want to help. That’s who I am…That’s what I do. I don’t think I fully comprehended the challenge that was in front of me.