Thursday, July 7, 2011


The beginning of summer should be a time when I galvanize and get activities rolling.  Usually, when my mum comes to visit, we set about on all kinds of adventures with the boys; trips to parks, beaches, zoos, and other places the kids love.  Well, it is now most of the way through the first week of her stay and we have not been anywhere except for a quick bite at a local restaurant.

Exhaustion has been plaguing me for several months.  It has crept into every fiber of my body and refuses to leave.  I force myself to do the things that HAVE to be done...mostly, and then sit with a feeling of guilt when the other stuff piles up and gets ignored.  I don't want to be like this.  I want to be happy, energetic, motivated - back to me!

But I know I am not alone in the cancer parent exhaustion mode.  CPEM is part of the reaction to months/years of adrenaline pumping fear and anxiety: life or death of child, managing to pay bills, keeping the house, staying at work or quitting to be with sick child, making sure siblings are not left in the lurch, wondering why hair falls out when it no longer should, tests, tests, tests, results which stink, anger, frustration, hurt, fear, uselessness, sadness....the understanding that 'cure' does not really mean Sammy will be cured!

I have reached a point where I go through the motions...or not!  I crave other worlds...fantasy worlds which have nothing to do with cancer or pain or heartache.  I found the energy to take myself off to two Eddie Vedder shows in one week, actually staying up all night after one and working the next day.  I have danced for two hours straight, several nights a week, rehearsing for a stage performance...both felt great...they were my escape. But back in my reality, I have no energy, I get fevers constantly, I cannot find the motivation to do any more than I really have to.

My goodness, I have put the last load of laundry through the wash about five times now... I just keep forgetting it is there and have to redo it.  When one of the boys is naked, I will be forced to make a move and get onto it.

I have just looked back at photos of Nana's visit last year.  Sammy was very sick, but we still did a lot.  Will I get the energy to push myself to do that this year?  I don't really know.  I know I SHOULD....for the boy's sake....but I am scared that I don't have it in me.

Sammy is at the clinic now.  We were all up at the usual 5:30am and I decided not to go back to bed or I would never get up again.  My latest fever is abating and I actually hope I can move myself to take the dog for an early morning stroll.  The laundry is still calling but I can't face that yet.

CPEM  - the cancer parent's response to stress!  The result of having no respite from the reality of a child with cancer.  I hope I get to blog all the things we get up to this summer....I won't be as 'there' mentally as I would like to be....but if I can fake it and be there physically, it will be an accomplishment.

As usual, I want to try to do something about the situation.  Dance is over, Eddie Vedder is across the other side of the country, fantasy land is not as easy to get into right now.  I do know that for me to be there for my children, my wonderful boys, I need to take some time for me.  Ten percent of the week needs to go to me time.  Then I hope I will be more able to be there for the boys the other ninety percent.  (Brian is included in 'the boys'.)  So....I'm off to try some Kickboxing!


  1. Hello! We met through CafeMom (I think, maybe Blogging Buddies?) Anyhow, I love your family's beautiful story, I'm subscribed to you and I look forward to your posts! :)

    You've already seen my family at <3

  2. Katy, I just cried when I read your post. I could feeeeeeel the exhaustion. Chronic stress like the stress you live with is debilitating beyond imagination. In an odd way, kickboxing sounds like a great thing to do. Physical exhaustion can perhaps alleviate even just a little the emotional/mental/spiritual exhaustion that is plaguing you. And those fevers?? That sounds troubling. You can't take care of your family if you don't take care of yourself. Remember to put your oxygen mask on first.

    I hope you gain some comfort from sharing your story and that you can feel all the support that comes your way through cyberspace from all your readers.

  3. Hi Lizi,
    Glad you subscribed and I look forward to us sharing our blogs together. I will certainly be back to rad more about your family :)

    My lovely friend who keeps on reminding me of things that help! I will put my oxygen mask on first...I know I have to. I also know this will pass eventually. (can't wait) Right now I am trying to accept how I others to understand that I am just too tired for some things, and move forward. I have also found a place for the kickboxing so i will try to sign up next week :)

    Katy xxx

  4. Yes, I know how hard it is for you, my darling Katy, and how exhausted you are most of the time. I'm here with you now, and feel utterly useless - knowing that I'm generally more of a hindrance than a help, though I wish it were otherwise, honestly I do. It won't be of much consolation, but you're a Mom in a million, and a far better mother than I ever was. I'm so very proud of you, and love you with all my heart. Your very caring but often scatty Mummy. <3 <3 <3


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