Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big C Update

In less than a year, I seem to have forgotten about the cumulative effects of chemo. On Saturday night, the hoodies held one of their lovely supper soirées, hosted by Molly's godparents, KB and MA. I felt like dog doo all day, but managed to cook something, spray my hair blond, and get out the door on time. The blond was a big hit (now I have to decide whether to commit; the color was great, but spray paint in your hair doesn't feel very good), the food was wonderful per usual, but I just couldn't rouse myself. I left quite early; I was afraid of bringing down the whole group.

Sunday was picture-postcard gorgeous with temps in the low 70s. I got the sheets changed and the back yard mowed before I turned horizontal for the rest of the day. Yesterday was chemo day #15. The waiting room was chatty. One young woman was describing how cancer had claimed most of her digestive tract, and the doctors had fashioned a new little stomach out of part of her intestines. "It was like bariatric surgery." This from a girl in her 20s, not a half pound overweight. Next to me, a much older gentleman with his granddaughter, also probably in her early 20s. Yes, she was the cancer patient and he was there for support.

My treatment was uneventful but I ended up sleeping 2+ hours in the late afternoon, which led to a scant 3 hours' sleep last night. Back pain, leg cramps, blood sugar issues, all seem unrelenting. I'm in a time warp: the closer I get to chemo day #16, still expected to be my final treatment, the further it seems to slip away, like a mirage in the desert. Three more days. Feels like three hundred.

I know that I've had plenty of challenges and I've been through a lot in the last year and a half. I don't want to minimize that. None of it has been easy, or pleasant, and my list of physical problems seems to be growing instead of diminishing. But every step of the way, this rough road has been buffered with amazing blessings. And I am fortunate to still have insurance, and to be getting such good care. In my fish-eye lens of personal misery, I'm a hot mess, but when I step back with the wide-angle lens that comes with a cancer diagnosis, I see that I'm still one of the lucky ones. For every pain, treatment, challenge, there have been a hundred acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion. If I ever lose that perspective, I'm going back to the infusatorium, and just hang out for a couple hours in the waiting room.

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