Monday, March 8, 2010

Tired and Feeling Sorry for Myself

As soon as I leave Ambulatory Infusion today, I felt really tired. I came home and ate lunch and then perked up a bit but by the time I walked to my office, I felt tired again. I got to thinking that the day after my next treatment, I would have to teach two classes - one an overload class and then another class that's been scheduled for awhile.

I was to co-teach the overload class, but when I talked to my colleague, we decided that it would be best to wait until next spring. Whew. That made my spring load much easier!

With the other class, we are close to having to cancel it because we have these new mandatory minimum enrollments. We need 15 and there are only 10 signed up. I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if the class were canceled, I could take the time I would need to teach that class as sick leave (and not replace it by another class) and that way, I'd have less stress and could devote more of my time and energy to the UW immunotherapy trial. I tried broaching the topic by the powers that be . . . and I don't feel that I got enough support for the idea.

That made me sad. It made me feel like my colleagues don't appreciate enough of what I'm going through emotionally and physically. Then, the sadness turned into a little bit of angriness.

It's not like I've been sitting on my laurels. This is what I worked on these past two months: I have been attending meetings on the new longhouse, am on the longhouse advisory board, the department's personnel committee, the assess/refresh committee, the cultural concentration committee, and the department's NAGPRA committee. I served on an external review committee in Victoria,BC. I reviewed an article for publication in the Ecology of Food and Nutrition in December; I am writing a review for Museum Anthropology; I have to review a proposal for NSF Arctic Social Science. I am collaborating with indigenous colleague on the indigenous GIS workshop proposal to NSF; I am writing a proposal to NSF to bring students to the indigenous place names conference in Norway; I wrote a Center for the Humanities proposal and an Honors College proposal; I've written recommendation letters for several current and former students. I have interviewed one and contacted six or seven other people for the Alaska Native view of statehood project (for which I was bought out of two classes) - I have a total of 7 interviews now out of 10, many are not responding to my requests because they don't know me, I don't have travel funds to get to Alaska to do this project and I don't speak the language; I have been supervising two students on two of my projects (the interactive King Island map and the Alaska Native Corporation stuff). I have been collaborating with colleagues on environmental humanities initiatives. I have been collaborating and communicating with my colleage from PSU who is now at Oxford on the Alaska Native corporation stuff. I have been working with the seabird specialist, to finalize some aspects of the interactive map. I have asked my mom to write biographies and find pictures of community participants. I've been dealing with my budgets on my two active grants. I have been reading an analyzing breast cancer blogs for the CLA research grant that I have.

I have also had 13 appointments in 59 days, which averages about 1 appointment every 4.5 days; if you count recovering from treatments, that goes up to 19 days, meaning that 1 out of 3 days, I'm either going to an appointment or dealing with side effects.

I am asking for some special treatment, but I think that it's warranted, don't you? I mean, metastatic breast cancer is a lot to handle, right?

Anyway, sorry to write such a pissy post. But I think I can be honest in my own blog, eh?

Regadless of how I feel, I hope you all were able to enjoy the dry, if cool, breezy weather! Thanks for reading.


flynnster said...

Stick in there! I know from personal experience that you are an awesome professor, but it sounds like you need a break. And deserve it, too.

Alaska Laura said...

WOW! What a load you have! When I was going through treatments I continued to work but I scaled back on a lot of activities because I just couldn't do it and I got to the point where taking care of myself became a priority, despite what others may have thought.

Have you heard of digital storytelling? If so, have you ever thought of doing one? What you are going through I feel is important for other Native People to hear. I know as an Alaska Native who is also a cancer survivor and cancer educator, that our people do not hear enough of the stories of people who are going through cancer and still holding it together.

I am sending you healing thoughts and wish you strength and wellness!


Joanna said...

I hope you are feeling better today. I know it is hard to keep all the balls in the air when all you really want to do is go home and pull the covers over your head. I have my Herceptin tomorrow but I don't have to go to work afterward. I may or may not feel alright but if I don't feel well, I can lay low. And if I feel good, I can go and do something fun. You need to be provided with an opportunity for flexibility.

Dee said...

Hi flynnster - as usual, I'm not sure I deserve your compliments as you were an exceptional student, meaning that you made it easy to be your professor! But perhaps I do need a break.

@Laura, it is nice getting to know you via the internet - and I do hope to meet you in person sometime when I'm up in Seattle for the UW trial. I am trying to take care of myself which is why I broached the topic with my chair yesterday - and a few weeks ago. It feels like it's falling on deaf ears. Unfortunately, I said yes to some of those activities before I started Hereptin and even a year or so ago when I had great tumor markers and had energy. I'm trying to wrap them up, but for some reason or another, many of the projects just keep dragging on. Ah, well, I can only do what I can do, right?

@Joanna, I do have some flexibility - it's the requirement to teach that lessens that flexibility. I guess I should move my treatments to Friday so that I have the week-end to recover from the fatigue.