Another kind of healing

The sun is setting and there’s a three hour train ride to Pecs, Zsolt’s home town, on the horizon. But a sunset train ride is certainly the way to go, if you’ve got to go anywhere, and I’ve got that last burst of dusk to enjoy before twilight settles (and the vampires come out . . . we are close to Transylvania after all, and Bela Lugosi was the vampire of vampires, and a Hungarian to boot.)

Today Zsolt and I were alone – just the two of us. That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. I love (LOVE) the company of friends and family, but this morning Zsolt suggested we stay in bed and just hang out, something that hasn’t been done in months, and without any obligations to meet or people to host, it sounded like a fine idea to me.

For some reason (menopause, worries, allergies, etc) my ‘nerves’ have been on edge lately. Any little thing is enough to get me cranky, and poor Zsolt is the receiver of my outbursts. Just yesterday I kicked up a fuss (i.e. got angry) because Zsolt thought it was a stupid idea to raise my bike seat . . . okay, the seat is already very high, I guess that’s reasonable, but I simply didn’t like my idea being rejected so outright, particularly since it’s my seat. Anyhow – cue my hissy fit, followed by day-long discomfort between the two of us. All over a stupid bike seat.

Never – ever, ever, ever – would I get so bent out of shape with friends, or co-workers, or even (probably) family over a bike seat . . . but Zsolt is my Zsolt, meaning for better and worse, we get the honest raw truth of one another.  

There are some things I don’t often talk about in my blog, for instance: sex, grudges, and arguments. Doesn’t mean they aren’t vitally important, doesn’t mean they don’t play key roles in my life, doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in the subjects – actually, I’m  a fan of chatting about one’s sex life with the right group of friends, but my grandmother reads this blog, so this has got to be the wrong arena for a frank conversation about s-e-x).

But occasionally, I do allude to the tension. For all the amazing things Zsolt and I have become with each challenge, each move, each triumph and each hurdle,  I’d be a blatant liar to pretend that the past year hasn’t caused a strain in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I in no way doubt my love for Zsolt, nor his love for me, and I in no way doubt that he’s my moon and stars and turquoise Mediterranean sea (or my wide, blue Balaton with the grass beaches and twenty year old bicycles, or my Canadian maple under which I read ) – he’s all those things and more. But it’s just damn hard to go through a year of cancer battling and not have things change, not have that tension.

I think we need to heal in a way that doesn’t get mentioned in the online forums or how-to cancer booklets. And this morning was an excellent step toward recovery. We were alone. We were together. We talked about our feelings. It was restorative, and ought to be done more often.

So today has been lovely. Today I’ve tried to worry less and relax more. 

And tomorrow is Zsolt’s birthday. He’s turning 30. Thirty years, and going strong – that’s my man. I love him to bits – bits and pieces and scoops and dollops. Meeting him was the best thing I’ve ever done. Marrying him was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being with him is the best medicine I could ever take. And all the while, he’s just trucking along – being Zsolt. Turning thirty isn’t a bad thing, not in the least. It’s a gift of time, and hopefully, hopefully hopefully hopefully, we’ve got plenty of time ahead. Plenty of time, and a few good slices of birthday cake too.

Why do we fight?

Now here is something a little personal. And no, this post isn’t about sex – although I could go on about that as well. But today is about fighting.

One and a half years ago, Zsolt and I promised to be loyal to one another. We promised for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, and to love one another till death do us part.

But we never promised not to fight.

Generally speaking Zsolt and I are an easygoing and happy couple. Things happen, we adapt, we have a talk, we share a laugh, we watch a movie and move on. Plates have never been thrown, and voices are hardly ever raised. Generally speaking, we don’t fight.

But then put us in a small apartment, add a splash of chemotherapy, a dose of cancer-scare, a shake of lower income, and a large scoop of thesis pressure . . . mix it all together, let it bubble over a few months, and then see what happens.

What happens?

Irritation, micro fighting, nit-picking, wit’s ends, and some poorly chosen words.

There is a new sort of pressure on our relationship that we need to push through. Life isn’t always easy; we’ve always been on student incomes, we’ve always had PhD pressure, we’ve always come from different cultures. And yet, we’ve always been happy. With Zsolt my choices are clear, my opinion is set. I’ve never doubted us as a couple, not even for a second.

Not even now.

Today, I just want to write about pressure. Pressure and fighting. It was such a relief yesterday when he and I finally spoke about this and realized we were both feeling that same tension. It was a relief to admit that we were becoming frustrated. Of course that doesn’t solve all problems, but it make me feel more united with him.

Maybe other people can relate to this? It must be normal, right? The pressure and stress and frustration has got be normal, yeah? Right?

Well at least I’m not alone.

Zsolt agreed things have been hard; it was a good moment for us both, and today was easier, lighter. We both recognized and stopped a fight before it happened. It certainly could have gone bad today, for no good reason but an open door. (I won’t go into details, but it involved ‘heating the outdoors’ as my dad would say).

Zsolt and I have been in situations of pressure before, but not often at the same time. So this is new in our relationship. We can’t always be each other’s rock.

And yet, at the same time – just knowing that he and I are in the similar boats makes a big difference. I don’t feel as alone, and hopefully neither does he. We’ll probably still fight – because hey, this is still stressful. But if at the end of the day I can slide into his arms, and he can kiss me on the head, and we can talk about our feelings . . . then I’ll guess things will be okay.

Fighting and pressure are worth mentioning, if also a little personal. But if you’re reading this blog to know what can expected during some cancer killing – I would expect some tension, and probably towards the people you love the very most. But it doesn’t have to conquer us, does it? Nope.

Because they are the people we love the very, very most.

I went half way around the world for Zsolt, and I’d go a lot further still. We might fight a little, but we love a lot more. No cancer is going to stop that.