Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm Not Sure

I had my first stint substitute teaching today since before my surgery last April, and I'm not sure I have the stamina for it.

If I were a better cat-herder-- I mean, a more proficient emergency teacher of 2nd graders-- I might think differently.  But by the end of the school day I was nearly weeping from exhaustion.  And now it's almost 7:00 PM and I'm sitting here still in my work clothes starving to death because I'm too shattered to get out of my desk chair.

Except for one child, who was so obstreperous early on that he started kicking the aide and had to have Security called on him, the kids weren't malicious or bad . . .  they just didn't know how to stay in their seats quietly doing their work.  They didn't understand that finishing a test early didn't give them the license to walk around the room bothering those who were still working.  They didn't realize that the end-of-the-day leaving chaos was not a good time for them to blindside me with fundraising forms, saying they had to take them to the office. And as my limited energy ran out, so did my creativity.  By 3:00 PM I was reduced to saying, "I know nothing about that.  Ask your teacher on Monday."

I'd just say No to substituting until the chemo treatments are over, except that a) I need the money; and b) I'm on a tiny bit of Unemployment Compensation, based on the subbing I did last fall and winter, and if I turn down work it's deducted from my benefit amount.  I don't know: the full possible benefit is equivalent only to two days of work and may not be worth demolishing my health over.  But again, anything coming in helps and it seems wrong to forfeit it.

My throat is sore, my sinuses are blocked, and I need to go eat. But I'm on to preach on Sunday with a sermon still to write so I won't exactly be resting this weekend.  We'll see what my blood counts look like when I go in for my chemo Monday morning.  The way my body feels now, I'm frankly glad I can't accept any teaching work that day, whether they can infuse me then or not.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Well, All Right

A friend who follows this blog mentioned on Facebook this evening that I'd been leaving all three of you dangling for several weeks.

All right, let's do a highlight reel.

1) Not sure what was wrong with the car, but it hasn't done it since.  The garage thinks maybe a piece of dirt stopped the fan and that's why it overheated.  They didn't charge me for checking it, which was nice.

2)  On the 19th of July I attended one of the American Cancer Society's "Look Good, Feel Better" makeup sessions.  It wasn't exactly what I expected.  I thought it'd deal specifically with how to mask the visible effects of chemotherapy, but it was more like basic this-is-how-you-put-on-makeup.  Good grief, I've known that since high school.  Well, I came home with some products I could use, so that's something.

3)  Twice now I've had to postpone my chemo treatment a week because my blood counts were too low.  I don't have much leeway to begin with, so it's not surprising that my white counts, especially, have taken a hit.  Thank God, they've come back up in time for me to get my infusions at a four week interval, with no supplementary blood-boosting drugs.  But the delays mean I won't  be finished until the 11th of October-- if I'm lucky.  It could stretch out to nearly Halloween.

4)  As far as effects go, tiredness is the main one.  It's hard to tell if I'm being lazy or if it's just chemo effect.  I know I don't get as much work done as I'd like to.  The hair, even after four treatments, isn't 100% gone, though alas, the eyebrows are flaking out a bit.  I admit I look in the mirror and see my little-old-man pate and think, "This is stupid!  I could have gone the rest of my life without this!"  But there it is.  And fortunately, I do okay with the wigs when I go out.  Otherwise, I let my head hang out around the house. And sometimes in the yard.  And the neighbors' yards.  Unless it's too hot or too chilly, that is. 

Everyone tells me how healthy I look.  This is good, I know, but sometimes I crave a little sympathy.

Or maybe I don't.  I don't like it when people patronize me over the chemo.

5)  I've been getting a shot at four different interim pastor positions the past three or four weeks.  "Three" I should say now, since one of the churches phoned me today and said they'd decided to hire someone else.  And that's the church that's given me the only real interview so far; the rest of them have been informal look-sees when I've come to supply preach.  I spent a week obsessing about that interview and getting really depressed about my prospects-- how to cover what happened in the past without making me or my former church or my presbytery look lame--, but I felt it went well on the day.  Not well enough, obviously.  But maybe it wasn't the right position for me anyway.  That church is in the middle of a worship war, with "contemporary" currently in the ascendency, and if there's anything I find to be a non-edifying, crashing bore, it's so-called contemporary worship.  I would not have been neutral, no matter how hard I tried!

I hope and pray something comes of one of these churches, since I can't support myself on substitute teaching.  (School year started here this past Tuesday, but I haven't been called in yet.)

That's good enough.  I'll try to be more diligent about posting in the future.  Besides, when you're in my position and you go silent, people might begin to worry.  I know I do.