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[cancer] More new symptoms, and a very strange dream - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-12 05:45
Subject: [cancer] More new symptoms, and a very strange dream
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, family, funny, health, personal, shellyrae, weird
I made a mistake yesterday. Having taken Imodium the night before to get myself to sleep on shedding day, I failed to take Visicol yesterday morning to restart my lower GI. I experienced some minimal activity during the day, so it didn't occur to me that I was effectively still shut down. (This despite the fact that Imodium pretty much always does that to me, which is a big reason I hate taking it.) By dinner time yesterday, I was retching at the thought of food. That's how I experience constipation — not as a sense of lower GI backup, but as upper GI distress. Again, I don't always recognize that right away.

So calendula_witch got me some Chinese takeout in hopes the savory smell would trump the reluctant digestive system and get a bit of something into me. That worked. I took a Visicol after dinner. That worked. I went to bed about 8, expecting to be up again about 10 or 11 as often happens, at which point I figured I might have to take another Imodium to turn the Visicol back off. And of course, start the whole merry-go-round over again, which is why I hate the stuff in the first place.

Instead, I woke about 10:30 with an intense cramping, as if an iron bar had been jammed into my lower GI. I've experienced that occasionally in my life, but not in years, and not as part of chemo. I spent a lot of time trying to get that to pass, to no avail. Eventually I took another Visicol and stretched out in the recliner. Nothing ever did pass out of me, amazingly enough considering the second Visicol, but the cramp finally faded enough for me to go back to bed quite a bit later, around 12:30. Meanwhile, another night's sleep disrupted due to lower GI issues. And I have no idea what to do about that kind of cramping if it returns.

Through all this, starting from before I woke up at 10:30, I had some kind of serial or continuous dream that continued into my morning waking. I suppose I was in a hypnagogic state the whole time. I don't normally bother to recount my dreams here, and much of it is lost now anyway, but it was weird and symbolic enough for me to want to give this a shot.

First of all, the dream was organized in vignettes which presented themselves in giant chiclet frames, like iPads or something. So as I moved from vignette to vignette, I had a continuing meta-awareness of the transitions, and the framing (at several metaphorical levels) around the progress of my dream.

When I first woke with the cramp, I was dreaming that my colon, which is now 2/3 the normal length thanks to the 2008 surgery, had become indefinitely long and was a loop, and that the matter in my colon was circling like electrons in a particle accelerator.

I managed to extract myself from that to other, related dreams of my gross anatomy, before I would up on the run due to my GI issues. I knew I'd be branded for life if they caught up with me. My Dad was sitting as a judge (he's a retired US ambassador, so this isn't quite as random as it sounds), calendula_witch was the prosecutor, while shelly_rae and various of my friends were officers of the court from which I was going on the lam.

I wound up at some sort of bush league baseball game in an Appalachian company town. The town boss was a middle aged man in a wheelchair who'd somehow enlisted me, as an outsider to the community, to be an agent-provocateur on his behalf. I apparently was going to accomplish this by serving as scorekeeper for the baseball game, except then they started running bulls. I was now responsible for Minoan-style bull dancing in small town Appalachia. Oh, and I still had to go crap, real bad.

From there I transitioned to hiding in the rather elaborate sewers beneath Alizar, the city in Our Lady of the Islands. This somehow referenced a prior dream (though I can't now say if it was a real prior dream, or a dream impression of a prior dream) involving engineering malfeasance, industrial sabotage, and a power plant turbine designed to be operated by the ceaseless flows of liquid shit down in the bowels of this city sprung from the imagination of me and calendula_witch. I was lurking in the ruins of the power plant when a soldier on patrol found me.

I bargained with the soldier not to kill me for my iPhone. Instead he took me back to the court, where Sarah Palin had become an investigating officer. My dad was filling in for the clerk of the court, and he bailed me out to shelly_rae, who took me off to get something to eat at a nearby pub. I realized I hadn't eaten in the years I'd been on the run, as my gut had never cleared the blockage, and was dying for some food. I was desperately afraid this was a set-up, that I'd be in prison soon for my digestive misdeeds, but the allure of food was stronger than my desire to run away again.

About there I woke up for the morning, not really wondering what the heck my subconscious was on about as the symbolism of all that was stupidly obvious. Or maybe not. Perhaps it will unpack as the day goes by. I'm rather more interested in the experience of the dream's framing and structure than in the obvious details of cancer anxiety and digestive issues. Still, strange even by my usual loose standards.

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calendula_witch: Lizard
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2010-02-12 14:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

And I just dreamed about zombie cats. And wine for breakfast. :/
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User: markbourne
Date: 2010-02-12 15:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The dreams I remember experiencing -- not just "having," but experiencing in full-sensory James Cameron 3-D -- while under were so vivid, so real, that when I eventually emerged to consciousness only their strangeness convinced me that they could not have occurred. However, on the plus side comparatively, I at least got a nice half-middle-eastern/half-chrome-robot woman, whereas you got Sarah Palin. Yeesh. (Then again, you also got calendula_witch and shelly_rae, so there's a more than adequate counterbalance.)

Wishing you a speedy return from the GI blues.
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cathschaffstump: KirkCath1
User: cathschaffstump
Date: 2010-02-12 18:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
TMI: I too get gummed up, and the problems are more topside. That's the trouble with acid reducers.

I know why you're taking the Immodium, but something else that might help is fiber, like metamucil. Of course, I don't know what your doctor is recommending vis-a-vis your treatment.

Something that ungums me pretty well is caffeine, so perhaps that could be a way to help?

No fun. Sorry you're going through this.

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User: deckard7
Date: 2010-02-12 23:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"digestive misdeeds" - ha!

If you're still using the Lorazepam, bizarre dreams can be a side effect.
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shelly_rae: Raspberry Almond Tart
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-06-29 17:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Raspberry Almond Tart
That's me, feeding you again. Even in your dreams.
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