Lili Von Shtupp has nothin’ on us

I’m tired, Tired of playing the game Ain’t it a crying shame I’m so tired God dammit I’m exhausted! ~ Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles

The journey through cancer is an exhausting one; the fatigue that the patient experiences go way beyond any other tiredness. It’s not relieved by sleep. Often, it’s not due to any activity at all. It comes at you like a brick wall and when you hit, you’re done.

Tumors are thieves. There are so many ways that they sap your energy. The pain that they cause is exhausting. They steal the nutrients that your body needs and you find yourself severely anemic. The battle your body is waging as the chemo drugs attack the cancer cells takes from your limited supply of strength. The drugs you devour by the handful to counter the chemo slowly drain your stamina. Your vitality is limited.

The toughest part of that brick wall is the dynamic between knowing what you could do and learning to accept what currently you can’t; feeling powerless to do what came so easily just a short time ago. Learning to delegate, modify, prioritize and let go is one of the hardest lessons that cancer offers. But it’s something you have to learn. There is really no choice. But OH, how hard it is to stand by and watch instead of do! You find you have to dole out your energy in small bits and very carefully.

Rich has been going to work each day that he doesn’t have appointments and, in the three weeks since round one, he’s missed only one day of work because he wasn’t well. He just keeps on plowing through the muck and miasma that cancer has him plodding through. And laughing when he hits the quicksand.

Is the difference between this and ten years ago that we’re forewarned and prepared? Is it that our company and co-workers have stepped in and taken the physical part of his job off his shoulders? Is it that his commute is now by train where he can rest? Is it that a body in motion stays in motion? How is it that he can work so many hours this time around?

He’s hit that brick wall any number of times over the course of the last three weeks.

Sometimes at work and sometimes at home.

But always able to move beyond to get through the day.

We’ve prepped for round two which starts today; getting the picnic set up and packing up our bag of tricks. At this point, we kinda step back and reflect on our journey so far. While we’ve had a few tough days, hours, minutes, moments, overall our experience from ten years ago has served us well. We can’t help but compare our two voyages and see where they differ and where the comfort of sameness exists.


We did learn to balance the times to be active with times to rest. Could the acupuncture increase energy levels as well as alleviate pain? Is it because the Claritin relieves the deep bone pain and that releases more vigor? Is it that the sum of the parts, these parts, are really ultimately greater than the whole? Still a puzzlement!

One thing is a certainty in this very uncertain journey… the time that everyone gives us is the best medicine of all. Whether it’s going out to dinner, taking us to/from chemo, helping to run errands, stopping by for a visit, a call, an email, a comment, a message, a hug… it’s like a pit stop of energy that supports us and raises us up. The gift of time from friends and family… priceless. Thank you all for stopping by here and there and being a part of this journey with us.

And now it’s time to catch a thief!

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