If I start with these words I’ll feel driven to finish something. I’ve felt guilty about not blogging for a week. That’s not like me. I can write my way through all of this, regardless how depleted I feel. I know that’s not the point of the blog – to put pressure on myself, but it’s my driver. It’s my only job – well that and getting better, which frankly feels pretty passive.
I need purpose – otherwise I’m just hanging out in bed watching hours and hours of entertainment-on-demand - Downton Abbey, Sherlock,The Good Wife. At least it’s not the Young and the Restless (I gave that up many years ago.) This is part of the current zeitgeist. (Ok, it’s just super-clever, well-filmed Y&R). How do folks who are well, and working full time manage to consume all this popular culture? Even with my lie-in life people are way ahead of me. I’m scared of catching up and running out of distraction. Not really. Sadly anything will do. I spent 20 minutes the other night looking through the Sears catalogue.
The day after my post-chemo emerg visit, the Friday, when I’d had NO sleep for almost 24 hours, I wanted so badly to write about what happened. I told myself people want to know, they need to know. Believing they care, are empathetic and wowed by my capacity to take them, at least momentarily, into this cancer with me, gives me motivation. But I was too tired.
On Saturday I managed to write Emerg parts 1 and 2. Sometimes a story is so linear and plot-driven, it writes itself. Then I crashed.
It’s hard to describe the week I’ve had. Deep fatigue with a side of sore throat and sharp earache. Did lack of sleep or the high fever cause this? Would I have felt this way regardless? Is this the nature of chemo #2? In emerg they x-rayed, swabbed and drained me of liquids, in search of the infected shit disturber. All that turned up was an eager bunch of white blood cells who’d responded to the chemo call and organized a little uprising. This, I’m told, is a good thing, or a better thing than say pneumonia.
The fever passed, but left me in an obsessive co-dependent relationship with my thermometer. She lies on the bed beside me and gives me that didn’t we just do this 10 minutes ago? attitude every time I reach for her. Luckily, this week she has refused to get it up for me.
In the moments (the really really long moments) of feeling like crap, it’s hard to imagine feeling better, functional, normal. The effects of chemo are cumulative I’m told. That scares me. I’m 2 chemos in, and all I know is there doesn’t seem to be a pattern.
I’m normally a hyper-energetic person. Even with lymphoma, which I have likely had for years, I’ve always been full of beans. Losing them is like being stripped of my power source - my essential speedy gonzalez-ness. I’ve become the person for whom making lunches and getting my 10 yo to school (by car) uses almost my daily allotment of beans.
The first week will always be the hardest. And it’s germ warfare season. Not just for me. I’m trying not to freak out about the Alberta woman who died of avian flu last week and all that H1N1. I got cancer instead of the flu shot.
For whatever reason, today feels better, and I’m up to blogging. So here I am offering you another form of installment-based entertainment. Got my job back.