Last week in Indianapolis was extremely difficult. I can’t even describe what it was wait while JJ was in surgery, to stand by his bedside while he was in pain, and to get very little sleep. But we had the strength to get through it.

A Finnish Word
A Finnish Word

We had “Sisu,” a Finnish word that is not easily translated. Sisu means, more or less:

  • endurance, resilience, tenacity, determination, perseverance
  • an inner reserve of diligence, capacity, the ability to face head-on and always overcome
  • craziness: the recklessness that inspires a person to take on something in the face of incredible odds
  • bravery, empowerment, inner strength
  • Gritting your teeth, continuing to fight against an overwhelming enemy, clearing a forest with your bare hands, continuing on to win a race even after falling.
  • Sisu means that you finish what you start, you don’t quit in the middle of a job, and you don’t whine.

We had Sisu all last week and although the week was difficult, we had strength to get through it. But this week, now that we are safe at home, I feel as if my batteries have died and my system has crashed. I am exhausted and what energy I have quickly drains away. I feel easily frustrated and irritated, but I am horrified by that and try not to let it spill out. I think I am mostly successful (at least, EJ says I’m doing ok). I think I simply need to recharge.

I sort of want to hibernate like a bear. (Just so you know, bears get grumpy when they can’t hibernate.)


JJ is doing mostly good. Sometimes he doesn’t feel very well and he says it’s almost like he’s on Chemo. Other times he seems to do quite well. He can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for about a month. The doctors said he probably won’t have much of an appetite for a while, and he should eat what he can and not worry about eating if he isn’t hungry. He has to move around a bit because lying around all day could lead to blood clots or pneumonia. I encourage him to go for a short walk with me every day. The doctors said to try to walk a little more each day than he did the other day. We set little goals: first to the stop sign, then to the telephone pole, and then down the street.

JJ will probably get the staples out on Tuesday. I learned today that we can walk into our family doctor’s office (without an appointment) and a nurse will pull them out. I called JJ’s oncologist’s office yesterday to ask if JJ has a follow-up appointment (if so, maybe he can pull the staples), when we are supposed to get JJ’s port flushed, and how we arrange for the CT Scans he’s supposed to have every other month. It always takes at least 24 hours for the oncologist’s office to call back. I didn’t hear from them today. I will have to call again if I don’t hear back tomorrow. I also have to call the surgeon’s office soon to see if we have to return to Indianapolis for a follow-up appointment. It’s possible we won’t have to return but can have a follow-up with a local doctor. I hope so. It’s a long trip to Indianapolis. There are still a lot of medical things to think about and schedule.

Spring is here, and the weather is warming a bit. I look out in the yard and see major things that need to be done–like a dead tree taken down, new fences to replace ones that got smashed by a tree over the winter, the garage needs to be painted. It’s frustrating because I don’t know when I will be able to get to these tasks. I was glad winter lasted a long time this year so I didn’t have to worry about working in the yard.

Our car is developing problems. It may need major repairs. Sigh.

Our TV didn’t act right tonight. The screen went blank, we heard audio, but then the TV turned itself off after a few seconds. It did this whenever we turned the TV on (audio only and then the TV turned off) so we unplugged it. I don’t know if the problem is the TV or the cable company. Right now I kind of don’t care. If something is wrong with the TV, repairs will have to wait for awhile.

We might need another supply of Sisu.

After EJ got home from work tonight, we went outside to look at Mars. The earth is between the sun and Mars, so Mars looks big and very red. It was very cool.


3 Comments on “HiBEARnate

  1. Dear Teri this is the hardest time of it all for you personally. And I know what you mean when you háve to be there for the rest you have SISU ( I keep that word with me) but now you don’t need it and you are just down and out. That is really normal and if you like to be grumpy well write me a very grumpy letter I do understand that so well. And please forget all the tasks in the garden They won’t walk away I’m sure but work on yourself. With rest rest rest, exercise a bit and home cooked meals. THAT”S IT Nothing more enough is enough…….All the usual things will come later in time. Hope that it is not very bad with the car and that the TV just do her job again. Love you and pray for you ❤


  2. Simone, you are so sweet to offer to let me write a grumpy bear letter to you. However, I can only write nice things to you because you are sweet. I think of you as my Dutch Sis and JJ’s Tante Simone! ❤


  3. That makes my heart happy and I love to be part of your family . And certainly your Sis and JJ’s tante Simone…….<3


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