Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Repost: The 60th day

To celebrate IBC awareness week, I decided to repost some of my favorite writings from during cancer treatment.  This piece is from near the end of my hard chemo treatments.  Although I wasn't feeling my best physically, I was emotionally delighted.  I think that comes through here.   

Business first by way of an updated poke tally.  I had a bonus port poke and right arm stick with the sinus infection a few weeks ago, and yesterday I had twin left-right arm sticks for the PET scan.  There will be another poke today for the MRI scans and another poke tomorrow to check my platelets (they were dangerously low as of yesterday, but still above the transfusion threshold), but where will the pokes be?  No one knows.

"port"  18
tummy  6
left arm  5
right arm 6
left breast  1
superior vena cava 1

I am slowly climbing out of the chemo fog.  The crumminess lurks, but I can participate in family life in moderation.  I unloaded the dishwasher this morning, and now I am recovering from that exertion.  After a grand sit I will start making lunch, followed by another grand sit.  I need to conserve some energy for my scans this afternoon.  

"Scans" is plural because what was supposed to be just a breast MRI scan is now also a chest scan.  This is because the PET scan did not sufficiently visualize my thoracic spine (fancy words for my back, I think) and so Dr. Oncologist wants more pictures.  I've been told there's nothing to worry about, she just wants a better view.  She is a thorough oncologist, and for that we are grateful.  So let's not worry.

Instead let's ruminate on the fact that today is approximately my 60th day of being sick <insert imaginary balloons and confetti here>.  This is worth celebrating because it means that the worst of the chemotherapy is behind me.  For the record, I can't believe that I have spent 60 days being sick.  It was fast, and also slow.  It was extremely hard, and also painfully simple.  It was a heck of a way to more or less skip winter.

You KNOW I have songs to express my feelings.  There are two.  Click here for the first song, by Norah Jones.  This is the song for the weary yet peaceful me, sitting in a deck chair on a Caribbean beach at dusk.  I close my eyes and breath deeply of the warm salty air.  I feel my children sleeping in a house behind me.  I feel the earth turning beneath me.  I am enveloped in this peace.  

Good try, Norah, but that doesn't quite capture everything I'm feeling right now.  Click here to listen to Carlos Santana's rendition of a different song, a song for the hbomb.  This is the song for the relieved and exuberant me, casting the fatigue and the deck chair into the sea.  The moon is high and I raise my face to it as I passionately dance in the sand.  My untethered hair flies about my face.  Skirt and sand cling to the sweat on my thighs.  I turn the earth with my being. 

That's better.  Thank you, Carlos.        

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