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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-10 13:38
Subject: [cancer] Chemotherapy, the overnight and day 3 experience
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, family, health, personal, shellyrae
Well, the pump is coming off soon. We're down to the last hour of infusion time. The pump starts with 111 ml, infuses 2.3 ml per hour, and is down to 2.0 ml right now.

Spent another night propped up in the easy chair. Not the world's greatest sleeping position, but Lorazepam seems to ease it some. I continue to go very lightly on the side effects, other than the extreme lassitude and fatigue. The early headache has not returned, my bowel function has restarted (albeit even more suboptimally than usual), even the libido has checked in a bit more. I continue to be a bit mentally slow on the written side, but my conversational focus seems sharp. And still no nausea!

I'm not pinning too many future hopes on this level of side effects. The whole point of twelve chemo sessions is cumulative effects. But it is very encouraging to not just drop down the shithole on the first pass through this stuff.

We'll document the removal of the pump with camera and commentary, as we do everything. Why not? I'm learning a lot here, and I know some of you are as well. Then we'll do the ritual of smashing the first chemo bottle [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. Then a nice long walk, or maybe even a walk before if we find ourselves ready prior to the pump finishing up.

Anent last night's post of the chemo photos [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] (reminder, NSFW), I find that cancer has significantly altered my relationship with my body and myself. The colonic resectioning of May, 2008 also permanently extracted both my body modesty and a significant portion of my dignity. This past year's surgeries only pushed that further. Two years ago, I would no more have dreamed of posting essentially nude pictures of myself on the Internet than I would have dreamed of flying to the moon barehanded. Now I realize that cancer is so much a disease of body, mind, spirit and society, and it threatens so much of my agency, my self-image, my sexuality, and my centeredness. There was a statement to be made there about the relationship between me and cancer, and the love that fills my life. The love of calendula_witch and shelly_rae, the love of my family, the love of my friends and sweethearts, the love of many of you.

It's a strange way to give back, exposing my hopes and fears and body so literally, but this is how I steal the power back from cancer, like Prometheus with his burning brand bringing light to the darkest shadows at the expense of the wrath of the unutterable. Cancer is a silent, deadly god, a death-prayer locked in my genes. I will never go down quietly, for I love the light too much.

And I love you all.

Post A Comment | 13 Comments | | Flag | Link

calendula_witch: Tattoo
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2010-01-10 21:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And we love you.
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shelly_rae: Sassy
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-01-10 21:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes we do.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-01-10 22:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know this is serious stuff and I am deeply touched by the comments here...
DANG IT now I have
"We love you Jay-ay-Lake,
and we'll be true,
we love you Jay-ay Lake,
oh yes we do"
going through my head.
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User: daveraines
Date: 2010-01-11 02:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Except Conrad Birdie had a gold lame' suit. Instead of a birthday suit.

How about:
"No matter what they take from me,
they can't take away my dig-ni-ty..."

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User: zhaneel69
Date: 2010-01-10 22:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ditto the two lovely ladies.
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User: nancymcc
Date: 2010-01-10 22:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"...this is how I steal the power back from cancer, like Prometheus with his burning brand bringing light to the darkest shadows at the expense of the wrath of the unutterable. Cancer is a silent, deadly god, a death-prayer locked in my genes. I will never go down quietly, for I love the light too much."

Wow. Now I finally understand what you are doing. It's obviously not a tool for everyone, yet somehow this made even more sense than the notion that as a writer you use writing to deal with Stuff.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-01-11 00:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And the death-god of cancer affects those around it.

Moment from my oldest brother's surprise birthday party last night (his 70's): He hugged me, near tears, and whispered into my ear, "Joyce, I've outlived Mom. I was really nervous in November, but I've outlived Mom."

(Our mother died of cancer three months before her 70th birthday).

We both cried a little.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-11 01:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, me. Luck and love to you all.
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User: deire
Date: 2010-01-11 02:03 (UTC)
Subject: Raising a glass...
...To the light.
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The NewroticGirl
User: newroticgirl
Date: 2010-01-11 02:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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Leah Cutter: Love
User: lrcutter
Date: 2010-01-11 03:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And I love you too Jay. I understand your process a bit better now. Thank you for sharing, for explaining yourself, for granting us glimpses into this journey you're taking. It's hard-won knowledge, and I respect you greatly.
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They Didn't Ask Me: kate-red-glamour
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-01-11 03:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It goes both ways, good sir. Usually one hears about cancer after the fact. Or you hear and then there's the great silence. Exposing the inner workings and your thoughts and even the fears, why it's my father-in-law who treated the whole thing as a giant science project.

Or in SF terms -- it is very Bene Gesserit. For values of BG where they play the good guys. (grin)

Dr. Phil
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User: klwilliams
Date: 2010-01-11 06:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In "Faces of Fantasy", a collection of photographs of fantasy writers, Peter David posed essentially nude (with a comic book over the obvious parts). He told me he did it because he was constantly being made fun of about being fat, and this was his way of saying "So what?"

Which is a long way of saying, good for you, too.
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