Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[cancer] Weekend update, some more thoughts on coping and death

The good news is the Neulasta pain never materialized this past weekend. Given that it had been beyond outrageous during the equivalent point in the previous chemo cycle, I am deeply thankful. I have no idea if my prophylactic measures were effective (lots of Ibuprofen, heat and massage via a chair pad) or if the pain just found someplace else to toddle off to this go-round. Still, I will continue with the prophylaxis over the next four cycles, as Neulasta certainly is remaining on the menu. As a result, I was able to properly enjoy my daughter’s family birthday dinner last night at DeNicola’s, a favorite restaurant of ours.

As an incidental note, my continued emphasis on the BRAT(y) diet (with exceptions such as last night’s dinner), along with strategic deployment of digestive enzymes, Lactaid and Gas-X, has kept my lower GI fantastically calmer than has been my historical experience on chemo. It’s boring and a nutritional problem to boot, but the lack of extreme lower GI dysfunction is well worth the other challenges. I just feel starved for protein a lot of time, which is a bummer.

Coping wise, my inner negativity keeps bobbing to the surface. The current challenge is avoiding a sense of bitterness that threatens to flood me. This arises in turn from my sense of loss and limitation, which has been re-ignited by several recent life events. I honestly believe the negativity is being driven as much by my reduced cognitive and emotional faculties as I’m now in late-stage chemo as it is by my genuine emotions and worldview. In other words, it’s the drugs talking. That realization doesn’t keep the negative voices from feeling real in the moment.

Even my subconscious is getting into the act. Last night’s dream was about me losing my ballet career. (Ahem. There’s a childhood story behind that I’ll tell some other time.) A thinly disguised anxiety dream about my fears for Sunspin and my writing career in general, obviously. And about par for the current course of things inside my head.

Also, I note this article about Steve Jobs and the afterlife. I tell you right now that if I ever start talking about an afterlife, cancer will have swiss-cheesed my mind and robbed my intellectual integrity. I’ve spent my whole life, or at least the portion of it since I stopped being a churched Southern Protestant, recognizing that the very human wish to believe in an afterlife is blatant wishful thinking without a shred of objective evidence. (And no, the Bible does not count as objective evidence for anything except the existence of some ancient texts of dubious authorship.) Just because I am daily faced with the realities of the personal extinction of self is no cause to abandon reason. If considering the possibility of an afterlife was a comfort for Steve Jobs, I am glad for him, but that’s a road I’d only take after completely abrogating my intellectual principles.

Meanwhile, the week awaits. Chemo this Friday again, in the nonstop bumper cavalcade of fun that is my life with cancer.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

Tags: cancer, child, food, health, personal

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