The New Normal: The Waiting Game

I suspect that you don’t have to be going through treatment for cancer in order to have to master the game of waiting. 

There is a systematic process to everything in the University of Michigan Cancer Center. For us, lately, and most certainly today, a large part of our process has been waiting. We are closing in on our tenth hour for the day. Day one of “lead in” treatment has been relatively uneventful, but we’ve struggled to keep ourselves entertained. I’ve buried myself in a book I’ve been reading and Justin has burned down his iPhone battery twice playing videos and obsessively figuring out jigsaw puzzles. Everyone around us seems to be moving at this higher speed. Other patients have come and gone with their families, staff have ended their shifts and packed up for the day and here we sit waiting out the rest of our time. There is one family that remains behind their privacy curtain that has some more time under their belt today. They came prepared as I have been listening to their epic Yahtzee game from across the room. 

We are all just cogs in the systematic process of April 12th in the University of Michigan Cancer Center. 

  I am grateful, after his severe allergic reaction three weeks ago, that Justin is sitting in that same chair mostly symptom free on his new treatment protocol. He has been goofy, happy, upbeat, and strong throughout this entire day. His strength has eased my anxiety. 

We have figured out how to push through the idle waiting time, we work together. We depend on each other, we laugh until we notice how loud we are, we roll our eyes, we chit chat with the staff, we eat snacks, and we take it one step at a time. 

My advice to anyone stuck in what seems as idle day of waiting: find low maintence ways to keep your mind engaged, without requiring solid focus. Years, and even weeks ago, I assumed I could use this time to work. I lugged laptops and books around with me during 12 hour hospital days to never even unzip the bag. It’s just not feasible to expect that kind of focus from your brain. My phone, a good book, a pillow, and some snacks are all we needed to make it through the waiting. 

The funny thing is, a boring day of waiting is what you shoot for. No one comes into this room expecting or wanting to have an exciting day. You aim for boring and hope that you can keep yourself distracted enough to make it to the end without becoming bitter and cranky. 

I think we were successful today. Knocking on wood the next 45 minutes remain just as boring as the last 600. 

2 thoughts on “The New Normal: The Waiting Game

  1. Hi…my name is Donna and I have been following you and Justin’s journey with Cancer for a couple of weeks. I really enjoy your writing and wish I had such talent. I would like you to know that Justin (and family) are in my daily prayers and you are not alone. Stay strong!!

    Liked by 1 person

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