Wow, your support is tangibly cosy. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
I feel that I did some of my very best work on Tuesday, and it sounds like some of you agree. The best is all I can strive to do, you know? No point stressing about it now; instead I'll spend energy being proud of what I've accomplished to this point. And my accomplishments and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ian for all of his love and support, and especially for pausing his career to raise our kids. Sometimes that seems to be the non-military equivalent of the ultimate sacrifice. I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished, both with our kids and in his own life. (I love being juxtaposed with you, babe--for nearly 10 years now, boo-ya!)
The ultimate juxtaposition, I think, was interviewing for a permanent Microbiologist position yesterday flanked by 3 hours of hard chemotherapy today. Talk about a phase change; sublimation to be exact. Sublimation is the phase change from a solid to a gas, like when steam rises off of the now-frozen Lake Mendota in Madison. I think that sublimation is the appropriate analogy because I felt solid yesterday in my knowledge, abilities, and sense of self. Diamond solid. I made good conversation with people. I articulated scientific points about microbial ecology, antibiotic resistance, and phage diversity. I ate two nice meals with colleagues. And now today, as all of those drugs begin coursing through my system, this solid feeling is lifting. All of these things that I could do so well yesterday are floating up into the atmosphere. Tonight I couldn't even set the table without forgetting something with every trip. Must have taken me five trips. Anyway, it was tempting to posit that "melting" was a better analogy than "sublimation", because I could imagine the chemo drugs washing and eroding my solid self, but I definitely feel like my solid self breaks away into floating pieces. And sublimation is a much less ordinary process than melting, and what happens to me is far from ordinary. The good news is that when the floating particles cool off, they return to me for a fleeting moment until the next round of chemo.
As long as we are juxtaposing, let's go for "chemotherapy" and "IV drug use" with a little help from the band U2. The other day I listened to one of my favorite classic albums, The Joshua Tree by U2. My favorite song on that album has always been "Running to Stand Still" because it is musically very interesting and beautiful. The lyrics are poignant, a unique perspective on heroin addition, and evoke empathy despite my inability to relate. However, this was my first time listening to it from the perspective of a person undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Oh my, it is now my lovely lullaby to help me make peace with what I am going through. There might seem to be a few incongruencies, but I do think that there has been at least one day during which I could relate to any given line, some more frequently than others.
Want to hear the song? Click here. I'll leave you with the lyrics below.