If 2020 was anything it was a major wake up call. In so many ways. so many.
Since about 2015 (brendas surgery) Trey has been on me about my stress levels. Talking to me in his Sandler jargon - about my I and my R. Separating my work identity, from my real identity. That’s something I could never do...to me work stress was real stress. There was no separation. I carried it all around all the time.
Almost immediately after diagnosis I transitioned everything at work so that Trey was comfortable, but still involved as much as possible....with all new Thomas rules.
No more than one appointment a day.
If they even seemed high maintenance at all...that was a no.
I didn’t want Trey driving anywhere, especially alone.
He could drive to the office with a Beauregard and that was it.
I transformed the tool room into Treys relaxation room. Dimly lit, shag carpet, salt lamps, water noise...and his top of the line massage chair.
He had scheduled breaks. I programmed them into his phone. And would call the office to make sure he took them.
Every morning I had April come into the office and wipe EVERYTHING down. The office always smelled like Clorox and Lysol.
When I said it was time to go. It was time to go.
Trey always complained that it was overkill, but he knew I didn’t care what he had to say.
I took all of the stress, I didn’t mind. A anything I could do to make everything better. Now...don’t be thinking I thought I was a saint or anything. With all of that stress I had many a breakdown.
Usually not in front of Trey. Everyone in the office got to experience Thomas under stress. Many many times. (Always a pleasant experience)
When it got to be too much I would talk to Trey. He would immediately want to step up and take over. I would never let him. It was just good to talk. We eventually got into a groove with everything. I would print checks, bring them home, and we would talk about everything. Anytime it came to money I refused to handle that. April made all the deposits, and we did all banking from Treys phone.
Payroll. That’s an evil word. When I first started working at Strock we got paid once a month. I TOTALLY understand why. I will NEVER do payroll again. EVER EVER EVER. Wanna talk about stress? Even if the moneys there for payroll, it’s some next level BULLSHITAKE mushrooms.
Hi money, Bye Money, Hi Money, Bye Money=STRESS
Anytime April asked about payroll I would fire daggers at her, and unleash hell(in my mind...or maybe real life) but that was not something you asked about.
We had everything working along alright. Stressful, but alright.
I had been working out regularly, really making changes. But, with everything going on, everything got put on hold. I changed all focus onto Trey. Everything.
Everynow and then he would scream for a break in attention (Trey always was a very independent person) I’d step back, but not much.
A funny-ish side story...
Trey did not like taking his meds(the nausea & pain meds). He was always afraid of getting addicted. All the research was done everything looked at and it all came down to marijuana. Now, just FYI Trey was never a pot head BY ANY MEANS. it helped ease the pain/nausea, and also made him hungry...so double benefits. Smoking was out. So I learned to bake cookies-we kept them in the freezer and Trey would take about a dime size at a time. It worked. Trey LOVED brownies. One weekend when I was baking I had just enough butter left over to make a batch of brownies so he had something different.
Mixed them up, and accidentally licked my fingers too many times(now during all of this I NEVER had a cookie, part is a cookie, NOTHING) So licking that batter was a MAJOR mistake. I could barely function. When Trey and Benton got home I was basically laying on the countertop-drool pooling on the floor. All I could say is I want to go to bed. I just remember Trey laughing and taking pictures. Never again.
At some point in the therapy everything changed. No more worrying, no more looking for the next miracle cure, no more chasing rainbows. We started to plan travel, take little mini trips-went to some really odd places, and had the best time(Trey riding the roller coasters at Caroline’s, is something I’ll never forget). Disney in March was always a thing, his Sandler training was at the same time in Florida. I wouldn’t allow Trey to walk(he was mortified at first...5 minutes later...look out) we had the best time on that trip-and I think that’s the first time that I realized, this may be the last trip to disney.
We never stopped. Trey had said he wanted to spend one last Christmas in New Mexico. So we planned that trip and took it (stress - party of 1)
Needless to say. I was stressed out. If I hadn’t had viral pneumonia, some mystery virus, and a majorly severe sinus infection I don’t think ANYONE would have questioned my stroke. I was stressed out to the 17th level. So add on top of that Covid, and hello...You got a problem.
I hate that everything that I did to make everything as easy and comfortable for Trey was totally destroyed within the course of three months. All in the blink of an eye.
I am so thankful for all of those really great memories we made especially over the last two years. I’m grateful for all of the care, love, and support Trey, and I got...in a weird way-very weird I’m happy that we didn’t spend life running from place to place hoping to hear something different. That’s hard to accept, but it’s a choice Trey made very early when we were told that it was stage 4 from the beginning-and anything we did was not for a cure, it was simply to prolong life.
Trey was never sure about any of it. Some chemo he couldn’t go in the sun, some turned his face very red, some made him lose his hair. Trey did not want to look like a cancer patient...so that’s all we really fought about. When Dr Orcutt would list the side effects Trey would say ‘Woah, not losing my hair; or WHOA-not turning Red...I used to have a bad BAD habit of rolling my eyes. Trey would always say I can feel you rolling those eyes. And I would. Every single treatment I had to tell him suck it up. And eventually the Dr would not even listen to him. He would just look at me and I’d say let’s go...hook him up right now-get the show on the road.
I never looked at Chemo as a bad thing. In our case it wasn’t. It was there to keep the cancer at bay. I could not have cared less about being red, or bald. We were there to fight. Almost every-time dr orcutt would tell Trey to stay off the internet. It’s the worst thing ever. But, he didn’t tell me to. So almost every drs appointment is go in with a list of possible treatments. Some he would look into and some he would shoot down right away because of the ‘grouches’ DNA(the grouch is what Trey called his cancer).
I don’t think there was ever a time where we said oh no. Can’t do that...Trey has cancer. We found a way, always. Extra naps, the travel bag...we made it work.
It taught me a lot. A lot more than I ever realized. Especially now, when I feel like life couldn’t get much worse. I’ve lost everything. Literally.
Ability to walk
Ability to use my hands
The ability to hold myself up
I’ve totally lost all independence
My best friend
My life that was
My sense of purpose
I could go on and on and on...forever. With Trey gone I had lost everything. I remember saying over and over that I didn’t want to be alone. I was scared of being alone. Everybody would tell me-you’re not going to be alone, you have all these people that care.
They didn’t understand. For 23 years (that’s a long time) Trey was my everything. My best friend, my worst friend, my partner, absolutely everything. I’m not the most outgoing (surprise) life of the party person. So we spent a lot of time alone together. Without him it was like I was literally lost and alone. It’s a scary feeling.
Meanwhile I have not been alone once. Benton has literally not left my side at all since therapy. He has pushed me harder than anyone. He’s been there every night for my nightmares. He has helped me out when I wake up screaming and frozen snd can’t move. He talked to me non stop about Trey, and never gets tired of it, he watches the same TV shows over and over.
Treys parents have become the most random and best friends. I sit here everyday with the fireplace on and the door open enjoying the screen door water fountain they gave me. The other day I had a dream, woke up sent benton to the store and I made biscuits...they were so close to right I made benton jump in the car and we sat in traffic for an hour to take them a fresh biscuit...(they weren’t quite right)...but I was so excited to share a damn biscuit.
Anyhow, I’ve never been alone, just had to change my perspective a little and make adjustments.
Next time in life when something gets thrown at you...an email, a different opinion than yours, a minor or major obstacle in life...Stop. And before you pop off and react...look at it, think about it, process it and make a plan. Go into everything you do with a plan, with a purpose. Don’t grab on tight and wait for the ride uh
Do it with perspective, do it with purpose.
Live your life with Perspective, and with purpose. Leave stress in the waiting room.