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[cancer] The lighter side of darkness, or, why I don't live in the shadows - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-06 09:28
Subject: [cancer] The lighter side of darkness, or, why I don't live in the shadows
Security: Public
Tags:books, calendula, cancer, endurance, family, health, personal, shellyrae, work, writing
Walking this morning with the pump on, I pulled a banana out of my pocket. The first bite hit my mouth and pain shot through my molars and the back of my jaw. I began shouting and sort of leaping about. shelly_rae was concerned at my inarticulate yowling. I was having rocking episode of cold sensitivity plus peripheral neuropathy (though how peripheral is my jaw, really?) from a freaking banana.

A bit of logic applied to the situation made us realize that we'd been outside in <45 degree weather for almost 45 minutes, and that my cheeks and jaw were cold from the outside air. The banana was also somewhat chilled from riding in my pocket. Still, such a strange thing.

That being said, I've been talking a lot about side effects, about the pain and distress and discomfort and emotional trainwrecks. Both shelly_rae and calendula_witch have suggested it might be good for me to talk about the fundamentally positive view I've been taking. I'm confident in my strong chances for a full recovery. I know the chemo is a close-ended process, not a lifetime affliction. I love and am loved beyond reasonable measure. My lovers, family and friends keep very close tabs on me, and care for me, whether they're in the room with me or are sadly far away. Even when I sleep alone in a quiet house, I am surrounded by love and caring.

So I talk about the low points often. That's how I cope, by externalizing the pain and difficulty. I think it also helpful to some of my audience to read this, because most people in my position don't discuss these things in detail. Others of you are perhaps learning things for character studies, or for future need with your own loved ones. In truth, I talk about it here most of all because it helps me. These things should not be shameful or hidden. Even the lower GI nastiness and the sexual dysfunction.

But neither should I fail to talk about the jokes (some of which I can't repeat here), the laughter, the good food, the caregiving, the smiling, the attention, the calm times of mine. I am on schedule with Endurance. I am on schedule with the Sekrit Editing Projekt. I am keeping up my responsibilities as a parent, at the Day Jobbe. I am healing, taking care of myself, allowing myself to be taken care of. I am exercising every day. I am doing what I can, what I must, and I am allowing myself to be loved and care for.

Life is as good as it can be right now. I don't mean to touch the dark side overmuch, for there is much light in my life, too.

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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-02-06 17:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Might I suggest that the banana needed to come with a Carmen Miranda Warning?

That has to have been pretty awful.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-06 17:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh my god. That pun wins the Internets for the day.

And not so much awful as *deeply* surprising...
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-02-06 18:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd say that each issue sounds like one that can be overcome. And you're overcoming them with the only true weapons we humans have, wit, humour, and love.
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Magenta
User: magentamn
Date: 2010-02-06 18:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've been trying to eat more fruit, but I have dental sensitivities that act up when I bite into anything cold. I've been keep fruit in a nice bowl on the dining room table, taking a few pieces out of the fridge in the morning, and putting back anything I didn't eat. Citrus seems to taste much better at room temperature. Keep a fruit bowl handy. Maybe even put vegetables for snacking out the same way.
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ebonypearl
User: ebonypearl
Date: 2010-02-06 19:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That chemo is a finite treatment by its very nature is one of only two things that kept me going, that and my 11 month old daughter. She was the cause of the cancer (her twin developed into a malignant tumor while she became an awesome human being; we tease her about her evil twin now that she's an adult and understands these things) and the reason to beat it.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-02-06 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>>the jokes (some of which I can't repeat here)<<

Just what, exactly, is the sort of thing that "can't be repeated here," after full disclosures of various and sundry physical and sexual ailments? You've freely discussed religion, politics, sex, drugs, and rock and roll (although scant amounts of the latter recently). Perhaps we need a "jaylake After Dark" journal?
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Jay Lake: graffiti-cheetohs
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-06 21:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:graffiti-cheetohs
Mostly sex jokes which are a little too specific. :)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-06 21:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sex is funny enough as it is. Why else would two (or more) grown people crawl around naked with their butts in the air. Sex on chemo is funnier, when it's not also amazingly frustrating.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-02-07 00:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jaw pain is not peripheral neuropathy. Make sure to put that on your list to mention to the doctor. Chemo does strange things to your mouth, alas.

I wish chemo were not so difficult for you, but I'm glad you're keeping your sense of humor. I'm sure no one reading here thinks you have been overly negative--just honest.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-07 00:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jaw pain is not peripheral neuropathy. Make sure to put that on your list to mention to the doctor. Chemo does strange things to your mouth, alas.

I actually did mention it as last session I had jaw issues. They seem to think it's part of cold sensitivity.

I'm not trying to be negative, but this is tough stuff, and I believe down to my core it's important to talk about. I'd much rather be talking about writing process and political snark, but this is where I am.
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Twilight: Bright Outlook
User: twilight2000
Date: 2010-02-07 17:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bright Outlook
It's nice to see the lighter side of you if only to know it's still in tact :>, but if venting helps, vent away!
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alumiere
User: alumiere
Date: 2010-02-07 23:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you for posting this; it's been added to the small pile of links that are slowly becoming post fodder on illness, venting, negativity, and the need to remember the good things and continue to fight even when I don't know how.

Hopefully it will be written this week; I'm having a hard time finding the words to express myself.
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