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[cancer] Off to the infusion center - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-05-13 06:02
Subject: [cancer] Off to the infusion center
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
In about two hours I'm off to the infusion center for my first chemotherapy session of this course. It will work a lot like last time.

I'll arrive a little early to have my chest port accessed and blood work done. Then I'll see the oncologist or oncology nurse-practitioner at 9 am. Then they'll pull together the drug suite — there's something like a dozen medications involved. I'll be in the chair by 10 or 10:30. The primary infusion process will take about four or five hours, I think. They'll hook me up to the pump, which I'll go home with and wear for 48 hours. Sometime Sunday afternoon the pump will run dry, I'll be unhooked, that will be about it.

Last time I did the chemo bottle ritual, but I simply have not been able to summon the motivation to develop a similar ritual this time. The social and emotional landscape of my life is very different on this trip through chemotherapy, and that practice seems like it belonged to another, happier person who isn't me any more.

I'm also a lot less frightened this time. Which is not to say I don't have moments of fear and panic, but the Fear has been almost entirely absent. Mostly I'm pissed off. That, and feeling trepidatious.

The human mind is an amazing thing. That something even this horrific can come to feel routine is... bizarre.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be doing over the next few days. I may be quite verbose or I may be absent. Y'all will know where I am.

How did my life come to this?

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markbourne
User: markbourne
Date: 2011-05-13 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking about you, pal.
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mlerules: Maypole
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-05-13 14:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Maypole
Gonna skip answering this rhetorical qx (for a change) as my energies're now focused on facilitating your life getting through and past this. *hugs* 'n' see ya' soon.



Okay, now I gotta ask: what was yr chemo bottle ritual? (If'n you don't wanna talk 'bout it, that's totally cool and I'll just go back and browse yr LJ from whenever that'd've been (Feb/Mar 2009?)
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User: brownkitty
Date: 2011-05-13 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd suggest writing out worries and concerns as you did with the bottle ritual, but this time burning them. But then, "kill it with fire" is something I think more people should do.

If an incomplete stranger offering a virtual hand to hold yours is of any comfort and help, here is my hand. You've got my well-wishes and hope regardless. I don't know if you have a preferred format for support. But you are someone I hope to learn from for a very long time yet, for selfish and unselfish reasons.
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Jay Lake: signs-flammable
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-05-13 14:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:signs-flammable
Thank you. And yes, I have thought a bit about 'kill it with fire'.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-05-13 14:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking of you.
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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2011-05-13 15:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In dealing with my own delightful oncological situation, and its effect on my emotions, I came up with the metaphor of being a python trying to swallow a bowling ball -- and then encountering legs, a head, and a trunk, and realizing it's trying to swallow a whole frickin' elephant. It takes a huge adjustment to unhinge your jaw enough to swallow a bowling ball, let alone an elephant.

But once you've made that adjustment, you're there. The next elephant -- if there is one -- might still not be a piece of cake, but won't require the same level of adaptation. Your jaws can already accommodate it. It's familiar territory.

I'm so sorry you're going through this again, Jay -- but I am so very glad that your Fear is less. The world happens to us as it happens; finding a way to navigate it without entirely losing your shit is a great thing.
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MEG: spoon
User: djelibeybi
Date: 2011-05-13 15:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:spoon
I hope it helps to know that friends, fans and even perfect strangers are reading your blogs and wishing you well.

Even though we don't always say it.
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shelly_rae: Jay & Me
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2011-05-13 16:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Jay & Me
I participated in the bottle ritual because it seemed to be what y'all wanted but really? It seemed to be a bit much--emotionally--for all involved. For me the unplugging, a shower and perhaps a walk was more than enough to mark the change. No fuss. But I'm a non-fuss kinda person.

Be well Jay. Hugs to you.
Anon
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shelly_rae: Solar Burn
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2011-05-13 16:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Solar Burn
I suggest a plan for a beach party. Take that recliner, the jar of smashed bottles and whatever else seems appropriate and have a bonfire of it all. Perhaps invite people to bring things the feel the need to immolate and send everything up in smoke.
Burn, baby, burn!
Anon
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barbarienne
User: barbarienne
Date: 2011-05-13 16:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That something even this horrific can come to feel routine is... bizarre.

-->I prefer to think of it as a finely evolved mechanism that makes conscious thought and intelligence possible. Sometimes our psychological defenses become crippling baggage, but situations such as yours (i.e. intense physical discomfort and damage) are exactly what this mechanism exists to deal with.

My thoughts are with you.

Fuck cancer!
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zellandyne
User: zellandyne
Date: 2011-05-13 18:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Love you. Thinking of you.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2011-05-13 22:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Being pissed off is good. That means you're settling in for a battle with the Cancer.

This time you're going to beat that sonofabitch.
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Perdix
User: perdix
Date: 2011-05-14 02:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Here's another virtual hand, from a complete stranger this time!

I'm a big fan of improvised rituals. Like writing things down on little slips of paper - prayers? intentions? observations? - and putting them in a locked box for later. There was also a period of about two months when I couldn't fall asleep at night without lighting a tea-light on a star-shaped ashtray on my bedroom windowsill. That was when my dad was battling metastatic salivary gland cancer.

I say develop a ritual, even if it's a simple one. It may be harder to muster the energy/motivation/positivity to put it together right now, but it may turn out to be a good source of energy/motivation/positivity for you later on in the cycle. An investment paying a very good dividend.
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User: ex_truepenn
Date: 2011-05-14 17:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking of you. Hating cancer.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2011-05-15 21:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That you're fighting is the best of signs.
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