Thursday, 24 November 2011
BOOGIE WOOGIE COUNT-DOWN
I’m hugging the in-between days, attending to every single minute because treatment is next week. Chemo plus radiation – and the cursed steroids, which transform me into a raving psychotic.
Three days or so after the 2nd round of treatment, sanity and energy start to return. For the first time since September, I have the impulse to make something. I’m cheerful and busy, racing the clock, counting the days I have left. It’s frantic - I am trying to embrace everything in my universe at once. I find myself loving the first snowfall of the year, delighting in the spring in my step. As of today, I have six days of relative normalcy left. I’m setting up dates to see friends, returning phone calls and answering mail because if round 3 is anything like round two, I won’t be fit for human company a week from today.
After the first round of chemo, Decadron caused an “exaggerated sense of well-being.” At that point, the chemo drugs hadn’t begun to accumulate. Having sailed through the first treatment in steroid-induced mania, I assumed I would sail through all the treatments nearly symptom-free, so when I began to feel poisoned, when I wept for an entire day and started asking myself if I had a reason to go on living, it was a surprise. A regular turd & turnip sandwich of a surprise.
Knowing what’s coming helps. No matter how bleak it feels, I can cling to the reality that it isn’t forever, that I’m not insane, that it’s all about chemicals. The radiation, I’m told, causes additional exhaustion. Some part of me is hoping that I’ll sleep through the next month or so. Wake me up when it’s over.
It cheers me enormously that my friend, Peter, has just finished treatment and has been declared cancer-free. I hope that I’ll get my turn, make it through the miserable parts and this will all become a memory. Like Peter, I will feel as "healthy as the butcher's dog."
Meanwhile, I'll try to follow Rumi's advice (“The Guest House) by welcoming what comes through my door, even if it is “a crowd of sorrows.” Now, I’m no Sufi mystic, so I may fall short of “welcoming”…but If I aim that high, perhaps I can manage grudging acceptance and have the good grace to not answer phone calls until I’m fit for polite society again.
Meanwhile, at the top of the page is a visual representation of how wonderful it’s been to feel well. It’s entitled: Boogie Woogie Bottle with Balls.