This week has been a terrible, awful, no good week.
For as long as I can remember, we have suffered difficulty after difficulty after difficulty. When one difficult ends another begins. I don’t mean this to be a “poor me” lament. Everyone has problems and many are much worse than mine. Also, I have many blessings: I have a husband who loves me, a terrific son, a computer, a house full of books, cuddling cats, and I have enough for my needs and many of my wants. However, JJ’s cancer battle especially wearied us, and we find ourselves weary, dispirited, and unmotivated.
So we decided to pursue our dream of relocating to an area where we have always wanted to live. It’s an area that has a lot of natural beauty and fewer cities. We want EJ to get out of the stressful smoky factory that is affecting his health. We want to get away from my family. We want JJ to have more opportunities. We want to live out in the country with more space, in a house that doesn’t need lots of work. We have lots of reasons for wanting to relocate.
I told my friend that we NEED this move. It’s essential for our emotional well-being. It’s not something frivolous like a bag of chocolate. She said, “Uhm, TJ, chocolate is not frivolous. Chocolate is essential.” I said, “Ok, well, maybe you are right. So this move is not frivolous like Netflix is frivolous…wait, Netflix is not frivolous, it helped us when JJ was battling cancer.” She agreed, “Netflix is NOT frivolous. And don’t you dare say that coffee is frivolous.” I told her that I would NEVER say that coffee is frivolous. So maybe this move is not frivolous like buying a new dress. “Who on earth would want a new dress?” she asked. “Exactly,” I said. “This move is not frivolous like a new dress. It is ESSENTIAL and VITAL to us. We need something GOOD in our lives, a new beginning and a fresh start. We feel our spirits will absolutely wither without it.”
In January JJ and I urged EJ to put his resume on the Internet and after a few days a company in our dream area contacted EJ. (JJ and I were not expecting any results quite so quickly.) EJ had phone interviews with two people at the company and then they asked him to come for an interview. I was originally going to go with EJ while JJ stayed to care for the pets, but then I encouraged JJ to go instead so that he could do something fun and see the area we wanted to live. He loved it there. He kept exclaiming over the beauty and saying “We have GOT to move here!” His spirit was more joyous than we have seen in a long time.
After a couple of days, the company offered EJ a job, although there are still a few hoops he has to jump through before he officially gets the job. And there are also things that we have to work through: Like where EJ is going to live until we can find a house, and how we are going to afford to pay for lodging until JJ and I and the pets can move there, and many other things. We were getting excited about moving, although we were also cautious because we have had dreams not work out before.
As soon as we began pursuing this dream, EJ’s overtime suddenly dried up. EJ has had to work overtime for years, and suddenly the company said “No more” at the very time that we really, really need extra money.
EJ’s current company tends to fire people when it’s even rumored that they are looking for a new job. Therefore, we have been very careful and have told very few people about the job opportunity. We also discussed at what point EJ should tell his company he has a new job. Timing is absolutely vital for us. However, when EJ returned to work after taking a few days off for the interview, many people asked “What are you doing here?” EJ said, “Uhhh, I work here!” EJ’s boss told him that a co-worker had found out about our plans and had laughingly told everyone one that “EJ won’t be back. He has a new job.” Since this man has worked in the company for years, this “telling” was not mere “thoughtlessness.” He knew EJ could be fired. EJ losing his job before he has a new one or before we were ready for the news to be told could cause us severe financial damage as well as affect our medical coverage, which could have serious effects on our ability to pay for JJ’s continuing medical procedures.
The potential damage is not just baseless fear, but a genuine threat. Every couple of months, JJ has to have CT scans and blood tests to make sure his body remains free of cancer. He also has to have his port flushed so it doesn’t get blocked. The port remains in his body for at least a year after his treatment ends until there is reasonable certainty the cancer won’t return. JJ had his CT scan on Tuesday in preparation of an appointment with his oncologist in March. A few hours after the scan, the oncologist called JJ to tell him that the scan revealed a shadow on his abdomen, which means that the cancer could have returned. The oncologist arranged for a Pet Scan to double-check. I can’t even begin to describe the distress we feel at the possibility that JJ could have cancer again. We wonder how we could endure going through another cancer battle.
When EJ got home from work tonight, he said that his boss is pressing him to give his two week’s notice. But we can’t do that because we don’t even know if EJ has a new job yet. And we can’t risk having no insurance if JJ needs more treatment. We wouldn’t have to worry about any of these things if it weren’t for the actions of EJ’s co-worker. He has done great harm to my family. What cuts deeply is that we know this co-worker and his family personally and had counted them our friends. Never would we do such terrible things to anyone, not even to our worst enemy.
Right now our lives fill like a tangled mess of uncertainty and stress.
In addition to all these difficult things this week, today I slipped when I was carrying an armload of firewood into the house. The wood flew up and hit me in the mouth. My mouth, both inside and outside, is ripped and bruised. It is painful and I look terrible.
It’s been a very difficult week.
We need some miracles.