September 6th, 2009:
On Friday evening, I had tickets for a play: August, Osage County. As the hour approached to call a cab to get to the theater, I realized, "I'm not going tonight. I can't do this. It's just too hard to navigate the crowds and..." The point was, I just didn't feel that I could walk my way through the event. Although my pain management was in pretty good shape, I simply couldn't walk very well.
The next morning I woke up and as I lay in bed, feeling myself in my body, I looked around my bedroom and suddenly knew: "I need to move into Maitri as quickly as possible. Living in this apartment is over. It's been a wonderful home, but I can't stay here any longer." This awareness had the same clarity that I'd felt last Spring when my body told me: "You are not going to survive this tumor. You are on track and you are going to die from this cancer." As with the realization that I wouldn't survive this illness, the knowing that I should move soon was simple, implacable and washed with tears. Throughout Saturday, I wept.
I have loved living in this apartment over the years, but I also feel a ruthless urgency to move. Reason: my mobility is declining rapidly, and I can't imagine being trapped in this lovely prison. At this point, there's a definite pattern to my walking throughout the day. Mornings are the worst. Dr. Capaldini has suggested waking up a bit early and taking a couple of meds for pain breakthrough. Go back to bed and get up a half hour or an hour later when the morphine is active. That seems to help, but I am still fragile and uncomfortable with mobility. Then, as the day continues, I become more adept and easy in my gait. Still, I feel like my mornings are a view into my future. As the days advance, I will find it harder to walk. That's been my experience over the past couple of weeks. I do not expect to get better on my own. True, there is the hope that radiation my give me some relief and more mobility. But I can't endure getting worse by the day, hoping that radiation may solve my problems. If the radiation works, so much the better. I am still facing a decline in walking soon or not so soon.
As I hobble around, I realize how much I am going to need assistance. Also, it will take a while to move into Maitri. Currently, there's a room available. Still, there's paper work to complete, doctor's records to send in, all manner of agreements to sign and verify. Also, there's my apartment that needs to be emptied. I am so glad that I started asking people three months ago about what they'd like to have from my home. That's a good start to distributing my worldly goods. It's also just a beginning. There are many, many things that will need good homes.
My plans are to start moving into Maitri while I have September and October to empty my apartment. But what about my feelings of leaving here and stepping into my final home? The first word that comes to mind is: gratitude. I am going to need help and that's what Maitri offers. Knowing that I will be taking care of myself by leaving this apartment makes it much easier to move. Will I have remorse later on? I doubt it. I will certainly have happy memories, but I don't feel remorse looming. I am not going to get better. As yesterday advanced, I realized that I didn't have a shred of ambiguity about moving. This is something that I am wanting to do from the very core of my being.
I asked myself whether I was just having a rough morning and was caving in to panic in my own organized way. So I called a couple of close friends and talked with them about my difficulty walking and my yearning to move. What I heard from them was support and understanding. As I listened to myself talking with them, I sounded centered, grounded. Still, it required a lot of emotional effort to make such a big decision. In fact, it was way too much for me to think about or stay wrapped in for the course of the day. Fortunately, I had a major escape valve: off an on during the morning and afternoon, I read a really well-plotted detective story that takes place in the Marais in Paris. Reading about other people's problems really helped. When I had too much of me, I reached for the adventures of Amiee Leduc as she worked her way through a complex pattern of murders that used the Musee Picasso, Cafe Bofinger, the Rue Rossier and many other places that I've visited, wandered along etc. in my own trips to Paris. It was like changing channels: I'd attend to my planning issues, then, switch to characters who were facing betrayal, homicide, false identity, etc.
Today, Sunday, is more serene. I've talked to more people about my difficulty walking. My body has continued to support the decision to move from my apartment. After I spell check this entry and post it, I'll reach for the intake packet and start filling out my application to Maitri.