Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, 2009

I met with the Dr. on Wednesday. I have one more chemo to go and then a rest of about a month and then 7 weeks of radiation apparently. Then some tests and no more chemo if the coast is clear. John said I have to give myself permission to take it easy and rest up for the next chemo and then STAY inactive until I'm over the hard part. Except some activity actually improves the way one feels; fine line - fine line between many things being either good or bad for one. Well, I get another opportunity. The tiredness I feel is experienced by everyone going through it. It isn't tired like sleepy. It is called the 'lead for blood' feeling. Dragging isn't even a good adjective for what one experiences. My hands and nails are looking weird; weird coloration, the nails are discolored from the chemo... basically they poison the body till the body is just about to revolt big time and then they stop for a while and try to poison it some more. Then comes the rebuilding part and returning to 'normal'. I understand it differs greatly per person. One never knows if doing more is the right thing or doing less. It used to be the thing to have people rest for a week or so after childbirth or operations but now they get you up as soon as possible and start one walking about. So, my point exactly...
So another thing that is a conundrum; in Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan- Schreiber he mentions becoming a different person through this process. How one lady learned to embrace her martial attitude by taking Karate. That helped her overcome her cancer. The lesson here is the importance of "terrain", the effects of awareness and the synergy of natural forces. That might sound like just so many words but those three things were summarized in the last chapter. There are various ways people have of learning these things. For each it might be a bit different. But in each case, I would guess it is getting to know oneself better, knowing and respecting one's boundaries and yet at the same time (or is it other times) one flows with life and is more accepting. OK...see what I mean? did you see an interesting paradox there? To me, it seems that Life's lessons seem to come in the form of paradox and here is a case in point: flow with life (let go of the judgements) but know your terrain and respect that. I think I get it. I've always been a slow learner... the last in the room to catch on. Well, I have a little more time in the process. I pray I get it!!
Today I liked wearing my wig. And yesterday I made a few new ties for my 'hair' that I like and learned to tie a neat head scar differently. I'll get it mastered just about when my hair grows back in. But then I'll have alternatives to those bad hair days. See, there's always the bright side if one looks for it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chem #5

Two days ago, I was surprised by a fabulous rose bouquet that Bonnie ordered on behalf of herself, Anyra and Matt. There was a snafu over shipping and me being home to receive them. Somehow, I got a double order - shipped from Ecuador which apparently is a major rose growing center. So here is a photo of the 2 big bunches together, each delivered on consecutive days. They are so fabulous to look at and the delicate variety in color is a joy to see.
The day of Chemo, I was feeling a little blue to begin with which didn't help. I went in at 11 AM and didn't get hooked up till 2:30. I was there for 6 hours for what should have been a 3 hour apt. All the chairs were filled and only one nurse. I wanted to leave and say "No problem, I can skip this one.", but I realized that wasn't really an option. My mood was definitely better upon leaving. They are just understaffed for the number of people under treatment. Now 2 days later, I recognize that predictable cycle. I took it easy yesterday and now it is early morning so I need to get out for a walk before the heat hits. The birds sound so happy this time of day.
Later... great walk and then did my weights. After, I fixed a fabulous omelet with onions, chard, tomato, a little ham and cheese. Maybe a nap next?
It's hard looking at a possible 6 more rounds of chemo after the 6 weeks? of radiation. I hear of others from other areas that get away with less. I wonder, how would one know what the best course of action is?
In the meantime, the roses are lovely, the birds make such beautiful sounds in the morning. I think we've almost decided on the flooring for the bathrooms. Today was around 105' in the shade and we are making our adjustments to this inevitable season. We wait till it cools off before venturing outdoors.

May 11, 2009

I have chemo #5 day after tomorrow. I’m trying not to think about it. A day at a time as they say. I feel like I ought to be using this time for something amazingly wonderful. What would that be? Yesterday was great because after returning from Keeler, I had numerous little projects, most of which involved sewing. The outcome on all fronts was satisfying. I’d love to tackle some other projects but I’m not capable of doing them without help. My hands, as I found out yesterday, have a limit before they start getting sensitive to everything I touch.
I’m amazed that I’m still conflicted about my lack of hair, so deep is the programming about how we women look. I can get dressed for the day but I feel I look ridiculous until I put the wig on. The outfit seems unbalanced and my sex is yet, to my eyes, undefined. I doubt I’d have the same reaction were I in a community of Buddhist renunciates. It seems to me that when all persons are bald, it would remove something of the roles that we need to play. That in itself is an appealing idea for 2 reasons. I’d of course like to feel I fit in and it is also a compelling idea to be a part of something that involves others, with a schedule of expected activities even though, ironically, I love my mostly unscheduled life. So life is a series of contradictions and sometimes, I feel at odds with that.
The tiredness is something that has stayed with me throughout these last 3 weeks. Even though I’ve stayed up on exercise, this laconic mood has overtaken me. I think it might be due to the heat…which unfortunately, is just getting started.