Confessions of a “shut in”


In 23 days, I’ll have my last chemo treatment. Huzzah! That means that in 23 days I’ll have been undergoing chemo treatments for FIVE WHOLE MONTHS. That’s right, folks. Can you believe it? When I talk to people I haven’t seen for a bit, they remark, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re almost done. It seems like the time has just flown by!” To which I always say, “For you, maybe…” and leave it at that. Because there’s no way to not sound crazy when you say, “I’VE BEEN COOPED UP IN MY HOUSE THIS ENTIRE TIME!” Which, is slightly exaggerated, but not by much.

As I’ve explained many times, I’m usually in a constant state of being neutropenic for the entire time I’ve undergone chemotherapy because I undergo these treatments more frequently than most. Neutropenic is when you have no immune system and the littlest thing can make you sick…so it’s best not to go anywhere public, or eat anything you haven’t cooked yourself. So…no trips to Target, the grocery store, the local deli I love. No going to restaurants or giving into fast food cravings (although I did snag one of my hubby’s cheese curds from Culvers, the other day. SHHH!!!). No coffee shops, no shopping, no…anything, really. So I’ve had to become pretty creative to pass the time over the last five months. But that’s besides the point. Today’s point is to reveal some confessions of living the “shut in” life. So here we go. About to get some stuff off my chest. Prepare yourselves.

There is a Jamie-shaped indent in one of our couches.

From about 7:30 am to 5pm (and sometimes later that night), I find myself gravitating towards the family room couch. I pretty much do everything from that couch. Coloring books, netflix binging, blogging, playing games on my ipad, reading, writing, eating, organizing, knitting and most importantly…napping. The view looks out onto our backyard and sometimes I catch deer scampering across our lawn. Mostly I see squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits doing their thing out there. This room is by far my favorite room in the house, and this couch is by far my favorite piece of furniture in the house. And yeah, there’s probably a me-shaped dent in it now.

I play a lot of Angry Bird Pop.

How embarrassing, right? Well, it’s true. The minute boredom sets in, I usually look for my iPad so I can play this silly little bubble popping game that I’m addicted to. It usually only lasts about a half hour before I lose all my lives and have to wait to gain them back, but on average I’d say I do that a couple hours a day. Pathetic? Yep.

I watch makeup tutorials for products I don’t even own.

I’ve never been a makeup person. Don’t get me wrong, I do wear makeup. I just have never put in a lot of time or effort figuring out how to make it accentuate my features. Usually, I gravitate more towards doing my hair. I usually wear the minimum amount of makeup to make me look human and hope people won’t focus on the fact that my skin always looks cakey because I probably don’t wear the right foundation or that you can’t actually see what’s on my eyelids because I wear glasses. But as of lately, I’ve had a change of heart. I mean, if I can’t do my hair for a while, maybe I’ll start to figure out how to make myself look better with makeup. So I’ve been watching tutorials for makeup products I don’t even own. Well, not yet at least. I’ve got quite the wish list of products to try when I start getting a paycheck, once again. But I also am trying out a monthly subscription to birchbox – a $10 monthly makeup subscription where you get samples of products based on your profile and what areas you want to focus on. So I’ve got a couple things to try out in the meantime.

I wear shirts that double as pajamas.

No point in not being comfy, right? Usually what I’ll do is shower…sometime after lunch…then put on a super comfy cotton t shirt (v neck so it doesn’t bother my port), and then I’ll wear that to bed at night…and then keep it on until I shower the next day. No, you’re gross! 😉

Anything I’m asked to accomplish during the day is usually done at 4:45pm.

“Hey, can you call the blah blah to do the blah blah thing we need done?” That’s the typical request I get from my hubby. And he comes home around 5:15 with the kid, so most likely that thing he wanted me to do will be done around 4:45pm, because as you can see…I have a LOT more important things going on that day. But hey, at least I get it done, right?

I spend a couple hours a week doing paperwork or calling people

So, the not so great thing about having cancer (ha! Get it! there’s nothing good about it!), is that you have to deal with a lot of paperwork and lot of…umm…proving that you have cancer. I know. It’s weird, right? Yeah, it is. In the beginning, there was paperwork to go on short term disability. That was a piece of CAKE compared to what I deal with now. The process of getting approved for long term disability and/or social security benefits (because the long term disability people NEED you to apply for social security benefits so they can pay out as little as possible if you’re eligible) is a lot. And I’m STILL waiting for someone to approve me of something. I mean, we’re fine…financially speaking. But only because we have a good amount in savings and we can live like this until I go back to work in January. But those…sons of you know what…take their sweet old time trying to figure out if they want to approve me of something that my doctor has CLEARLY told them I’m eligible for long, long ago. But no, each week I get something else in the mail saying silly things like, “We need to see your paystubs from December 2015”  (Ummm…okay?)  or “What were you doing between these two dates?” So then I have to pull records and document hospital stays and make sure all my ducks are in a row every single time they come a calling. And after that, I STILL have to call and follow up because “Oh, we need to send you another authorization form” to which I respond, “Okay, have you sent it yet?” and then they reply, “No…but I think I can get that out today.” GAHHHHH. Come on people! I do my part. Do yours, already! Anywho, I guess that was more of a rant. But I’m just saying, I’m not completely lazy all of the time.

I pad my to-do list with easy things to make myself feel more accomplished.

Not every day, but most days I have a running to do list for what I’ll accomplish that day. Usually they involve things like, “Edit chapter 11” or “Walk four miles” or “Pay bills from that stupid ER visit we shouldn’t have done for Jackson” but a lot of times, I pad my to do list with things that I will likely do anyway. These ones regularly show up on my list.

  • Eat frozen mango chunks
  • Shower
  • Eat lunch
  • Nap
  • Watch Kelly Live
  • Figure out dinner

Mmmm. Mango chunks. Putting that on the list ASAP.

I went to the China Lights display…and it was probably not my wisest decision.

Two weekends ago, I decided to get out. That’s right. Not to the hospital, and not just for a walk. My family and I decided to go to this thing called the “China Lights display” happening at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. It was basically these amazing light displays all over the grounds of the BBG. It sounded like a fun, low key thing where we could walk around the grounds and I had (wrongly) assumed it would be about as crowded as maybe going to the zoo during a week day. Which is to say…not terribly crowded. Oh, was I wrong. We had to LITERALLY park over a mile away from the exhibit. And when we got in, it was swarming with thousands of people. We made it through the on-stage show that some performers did and then left because it was so crowded we actually lost our friends a couple times (scary!). So yeah, not the best decision for someone who shouldn’t be near ANYONE who could potentially be sick, let alone thousands of people stuffed into one area. Ugh. I guess that’s why it’s a confession. Lesson learned (and no harm done, at least).

So for now, that’s it. Soon this whole “staying home all the time” will be a blip on the radar and I’ll be back to normal life going 100 miles per hour. And I am oh so ready for it!


4 thoughts on “Confessions of a “shut in”

  1. Marie says:

    You left out snap chatting with your sister. That has been pretty fun! I look forward to the crazy snaps you send me. Yes, I am 39 years old and I just figured out snap chat…I am so 2013…or whenever it came out. 🙂

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