Last Friday, I walked out of the Healing Center in a rather anticlimactic way. It was 5 pm, and that was that. No more drips, no more drugs with the word toxic in them, or with hazardous materials stickers on their bag. There were no balloon drops or pizza parties – only a few nurses preparing for their weekend and a couple of patients completing their late afternoon treatments. Fortunately for me, one of these patients was Carol, a friend I bonded with several months ago over our common love for stuffed animals (mine is a little lion named Kiki and hers is a pink rabbit named Phillip).
Carol’s husband treated us to lunch from a local Italian restaurant and we caught up on our trials and tribulations over the past months. While my process has been difficult, Carol had the additional test of a major surgery amid her chemo treatments. I am recalling 5 months ago when I was convinced that major thoracic surgery was in store for me and how overwhelming that was. I am beyond amazed at how well her spirit and heart and body were handling everything.
She has invited me to host a joint party with her in September, once she is clear of chemo and hopefully pandemic restrictions will allow for us to get out families and friends together in some sort of life celebration! We discussed how critical it has been for both of us to make future plans for mental sanity, even with the knowledge that pandemic or health or unknowns may force the need to cancel those plans.
As for me, this has not been my best cycle ever as I wrestle with some serious pain. Interestingly, I seem to choose to write whenever I am in the midst of this. Writing is a good outlet from the body.
My pain level has been 9/10 since Saturday night as the Neulasta shot continued to bring an increased pain threshold with each cycle. I will get through this knowing that this will only last a few days and that this is my final experience with this sadistic drug! I have serious sympathy for folks with chronic pain. My heart goes out to those who deal with pain where there is no clear end in sight – I can imagine how this can potentially take someone down the direction of a depression.
Emotionally, I have been flat, tired, sad. I have been crying a decent amount and in general feeling bad about myself. On one side there is a feeling as if I should be celebrating. Like I said above, chemo is over! And yet, and yet, and yet… this week marks the lowest and most vulnerable point in my journey back to health. The accumulation of 18 weeks of treatment amid this global pandemic of fear and panic has taken its toll. On me and those in my life. It has been a long road, and unfortunately for this journey, I’m still in the middle of that journey, not as close to the end as much as I want to believe.
I frequently notice a strong desire to return to normal ASAP – as if next week I can begin to put all of my plans from January back into play. I watch my mind in its better moments take off into creativity and excitement and aliveness.
I notice this feeling of being left behind. Even though everyone had to slow down for lockdown, my fears and insecurities have relegated me to a time-out corner, where I watch as all my friends have fun without me. I know, that this is not true, and within the time-out is an incredible opportunity. The phrase ‘reinvent myself’ comes to mind but that is too clique – it’s more like an opportunity for a deep examination of my energies, attention, and intentions. My thoughts wander off in many directions here, not excluding a remote cabin in the woods…
A tear in my fabric continues to remerge with a focus around meaning its relevance to life, to my life. I’ve written about this in the past and will come back here again soon.
I think its time for vegan ice cream and a movie.