Moss on the northside

There have really only been a handful of days in this last year I did not write. Some were because I felt so horrible, some because my allotted time seemed to slip away because of other unforeseen issues (usually not good), once or twice I didn’t have access and a few times because I just got to tired. A few times the day has been so middle of the road I just had nothing to muse about but only occasionally do I feel a bit lost at what to say. Yesterday was a mixture of it all.  I partly lost track of time and it ended up far later than expected. I was tired, I needed to talk with Brooke more than arrange my own thoughts of the day which I don’t think I could have coherently (although that isn’t a new problem). We have spent the last 36 hours hanging out with Nico, Liam’s best friend from Halibut Cove. We had dinner with Nancy, Katherine, and Nico last night before a whirlwind trip to the museum for First Friday. The boys insisted and arranged a sleep over which kept them all awake a little later than they needed. The late night led to a later wake up which was fine by me.

Today we went for a nordic ski where the boys had fun with Grandpa Jim and a “wild chicken” which was likely a spruce hen per Brooke. After some play time and lunch we readied some bikes for a early spring bike ride to a different park to sled. This was an odd mixture of spring and winter activities which resulted in very wet kids and one glove full of dog poop. You have to love spring in Alaska! After a rousing pillow fight and some Lego building Finn had a little break down likely from a bite of the “over tired” bug. Nico left for dinner and will be going home to California tomorrow. Liam was a bit bummed to have his best buddy heading away again. The fact that they get along so great after long periods apart is wonderful and makes me think of my friendships with the Weber boys from childhood. I could see them today after years and we would still get along fabulously despite vastly different paths in life.

The one blemish on the last could days has been the fact that my support, Brooke, has been struggling with back issues and the mental weight of the world. As anyone knows she would never let on that she has a problem. Yet, over the last few weeks she hasn’t been able to lay down comfortably and is getting  some neuropathic numbness in her leg. Obviously, she is frustrated. This issue has been going on for awhile and occasionally feels better with the therapy she has been doing. Yet, yesterday was extra frustrating as she is tired of feeling like she can’t really work, mainly due to a work protocol concern. Normally this wouldn’t be such and issue but with my inability to participate in work she has felt extra pressure to be providing. I think anyone in her situation would be a bit freaked out. Despite her personal worries though she continues to carry heavy the burden of others around her while not mentioning her pain. She has been extremely concerned about our friends Thea and little Phin who are coping with cancer, and my liver is giving her more trouble sleeping than me probably.

The hardest thing is that I can’t seem to find the right mixture of care, compassion, sad shoulder as a husband, and my doctor demeanor, which drive me to provide some direction towards solution. This problem is not a new situation for many physicians. Treating and dealing with our own family is so tricky and difficult. I do not feel like I am very good at it. At times I feel a bit like I am lost in the woods. I often think to myself to get out of these woods I could follow the old adage that moss grows on the north side and use that as a guide. The problem is I feel more like I am wandering in one of those overly rainy forests of southeast Alaska where the trees are completely covered in moss. I am simply lost. I wish I could provide her with the stability she has provided me but I don’t think I am doing very well. I could blame my cancer or my selfishness but I think I just never expected she would need that support. Just like the unexpected closed door as I stumble to the bathroom at night. Wham!

I realize Brooke doesn’t want anymore sympathy. In fact I may make her mad by writing this tonight but these thoughts have been mosh pitting around in my head the last few days. I know she is a smart and very capable woman. I know that she will figure her way through this mine field of worry and personal discomfort. In fact, she went to work today and didn’t even complain or mention her back when she got home. I did ask her but she just said it was okay and moved on. I think often we see or hear of people who are mentally superior to the rest of us but we never really know what we are dealing with because they are so smooth about their ability and quiet with their thoughts. I am pretty sure my wife is one of them.

I write everyday now because it helps me clear my mind. It is not the reason I started writing. I didn’t write last night for a whole bunch of reasons. I think one was I was lost at what to say about Brookie. I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for talking about her pain or her suffering. I know that is a personal right and I often tread on others peoples property in the pursuit to illuminate my own. I needed to talk about it though because it does make me feel better. I think if I feel better about it I can help Brooke more. That being said, she is amazing and I am sure if she were lost in the mossy forest she would find a way out even when the moss was not just growing on the northside.

Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.







One thought on “Moss on the northside

  1. Hi Matt and Brooke: Well Matt, I don’t know Brooke, but I do understand her side of the story. I think the fact that you told her story is sweet, but I also understand that all the accolades aren’t necessary, but are a bit embarrasing.

    We do what we do best as women, we take care of it. It that for better or worse, we meant it.

    Based on my own experience the best thing you can do for her is listen and support. Do not offer the unsolicited dr advice. Just be supportive and keep quiet. Listen, dont offer advice unless its asked for. Hug her, love her and listen.

    We love you as our husbands and will do anything for you, even as we suffer our own ills.

    Love you both, so hang in there, you are both such an inspiration too all.

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