I am passionate, sometimes overly so. I get excited about things others don’t. According to my husband, this quality is something he loves about me. However, recently he has had to put me in my place more so than not. My husband is the opposite; he likes solidarity. I love people.
Since cancer has come into the picture my husband has become even more introverted and I in turn have become overly passionate; trying everything I can to keep him engaged in life. I am the type of person that believes the pitch of my voice is directly proportional to someone’s level of understanding. In other words, the louder I talk, the more you’re going to understand the point I’m trying to make. I am still trying to find a balance and yesterday it became very aware to me that that balance must be found soon.
For a while I have expected more out of my husband than he is capable of giving. Cancer and chemotherapy have stunted his intellect, energy level, and desire for communication. Ahh, the lovely side effects of Chemo Brain. His inability to connect has only caused me to yearn for it more. Yesterday, through a series of texts, I realized I lacked an understanding of the devastating effects of chemotherapy. As a result of his physical and emotional depletion, I assumed he didn’t love me or had no desire to build up our marriage. My frustration came out in a passionate rage. I raised my voice and felt as if I wanted to pound my desires into his head. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t understand. Why he stood silent. So I left.
He explained it like this, via text, after he had a chance to think things through:
“I just want to be and not think. I have heavy enough things on my mind constantly as it is…. I know that’s not fair to you and I’m sorry. I promise to work on it but I need you to understand that my brain isn’t really working at full capacity. Chemo brain is real. It sucks and I forget things and just want to do the easiest thing possible.”
Before this text I believed that if I forced him to be engaged in something: a family trip, a house project, or a bible study, that he wouldn’t have a chance to let go. Now I realize that allowing him some down time is exactly what he needs. This doesn’t mean he’s saying goodbye or giving up, it’s just what he needs to recoup what the drugs are draining out of him.
All this reveals the need for a delicate balance between the terrible effects of chemotherapy and maintaining life. How do I allow him the time to heal without feeling like we’re missing out? I would venture to say it all comes down to satisfaction. Being satisfied by the little things. Sitting on the couch together, watching the kids jump on the trampoline, or enjoying our favorite meals. Isn’t it the little things that count? Yeah, I think that’s right. So, here’s to finding joy in the little things!