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[cancer] The dread and fear of things - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2009-12-23 04:55
Subject: [cancer] The dread and fear of things
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, health, personal
Slept pretty well last night, something close to normal in terms of both quality of sleep and duration. Woke up pain free, though that didn't last long.

Every now and then the reality of my current situation hits me from a fresh angle. As I've observed before, when your life is such that metastatic colon cancer is good news, you're pretty deep into the Twilight Zone. (And I'm thinking Golden Earring here as much as Rod Serling.) I mean, I used to think the word "metastasis" meant "the grenade's gone off, kiss your kids good-bye". And maybe it does for me, too, though I continue to retain my fundamental optimism about all this.

Likewise chemotherapy. When I think, really think about what's going to happen to me in slightly over two weeks, it scares me spitless. I mean, this is raw, nasty stuff. Heavy metal poisoning. Impotence. Cognitive impairment. Immune system failures. Chronic, persistent nausea. Carcinogenic chemicals flooding my bloodstream. Forty eight hours on an infusion pump. I'm going from an asymptomatic disease to weapons-grade pharmaceuticals. Still, the only way forward is to walk into the fire. So walk into it I shall.

Really, chemotherapy is kind of like eating mushrooms. When I really think about the biology of fungii, I can't touch them. When I just think, oh, a mushroom, they're delicious. Chemo's the same way for me, it seems. Don't think, just act.

The marvel and miracle of it all is that I still go to bed, i still sleep, I still wake up, I still exercise, I still hang out with the_child, I still live, love, laugh, eat, crack wise, write stories, get confused by literary contracts, go to work, do laundry. Spoons or no spoons, I get things done. I live.

So the dread and fear is there. The sheer enormity of it all could overwhelm if I let it. I am well loved, well cared for, and have good insurance. That and a bit of non-neurotic compartmentalization is what it takes. Because the stark, raving truth of this is hell.




Also, I wanted to note that the responses in comments to yesterday's post about why I talk about cancwr so much [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] are varied and moving. Well worth the read, if you're interested in such. Most of the action is on the LiveJournal side, so start there.

Post A Comment | 13 Comments | | Link






User: joycemocha
Date: 2009-12-23 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hugs. The good news is that you will get your brain back. I work with two cancer survivors, and it's hell when you go through it, but there is the other side, and you'll make it to there. You have to march through the valley of bomb-cracked desolation first, but you'll get there. We'll help you.
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2009-12-23 15:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, so, we only have to start worrying when you order a pizza with extra little fishies and chemo. Stay strong.
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shelly_rae: S is Steamy
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2009-12-23 16:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:S is Steamy
Love you.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-12-23 16:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love you, too, dear.
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Norilana
User: norilana
Date: 2009-12-23 16:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When my mother's chemo was happening two years ago, the one thing that we made sure is to have her eat a good solid meal after she got home after each session.

When the medical transport van picked her up in the morning, almost immediately I would start cooking! :-) I would cook whole skillets for her, of all kinds of yummy things, and the moment she walked in the front door later that day from the treatment, I would sit her down and start feeding her. She really enjoyed it!

When you do chemo, just focus on the moment you walk through your front door, after the fact, back after each session, and the kind of great meal you will enjoy! The nausea is often not necessarily there, there are better days, and in most case I know my mom was more concerned with the selection of Russian TV shows her oncologist's office played, the line at the bathroom, the snacks, and then looking forward to getting back home each time. Small little things like that help, mom tells me.

Hugs!
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User: hkneale
Date: 2009-12-23 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:wraise babies
I like hearing your cancer story.
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They Didn't Ask Me: xmas-plot-bunny
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2009-12-23 17:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:xmas-plot-bunny
"weapons-grade pharmaceuticals" wins the Internet for today, good sir.

Dr. Phil
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Judith Agrathea
User: agrathea
Date: 2009-12-23 19:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was talking to a friend yesterday who had chemo on a weekly basis for months. She says that going for a quality acupuncture treatment in the morning before her chemo treatments helped to manage the symptoms significantly and improved her quality of life tremendously. She knew others going through the treatment and they were miserable, and if she didn't get her acupuncture, she was the same.

If it's something you want to consider, I know an excellent acupuncturist who would be worth seeing. She is around the 283rd exit on I-5, so a bit far out, but completely worth it.
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anghara
User: anghara
Date: 2009-12-23 19:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're one of the bravest people I know. And I know that because of these posts of yours.

I'll be sending all the good vibes I can. Hang in there.
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2009-12-23 19:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
it beats the alternative.. you will do well, and you will see humor in strange places.. oh wait, you do that already!
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2009-12-23 22:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of the doctors where I work told me that colon mets are the most treatable kind, FWIW. And considering your great attitude, those mets should just roll over and surrender right now.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-12-23 22:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We are in fact quite optimistic. Still a hell of a ride...
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melissajm
User: melissajm
Date: 2009-12-23 22:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Of course. I hope your road is as smooth as possible.
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