Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[cancer] What's still missing

As of last week, I'm six months out of the second chemo series. I'm in good health. I'm happy, energetic, and about as good as I'm likely to get. I've been reflecting on what's missing, though. A few things will never be right.

My feet are still slightly numb. I have to look down more when I walk.

My lower GI continues erratic, even on my best days. (I have drugs for this when really needed.)

My erectile function continues erratic, even on my best days. (I have drugs for this when really needed.)

All of that I can live with. Annoying, sometimes greatly so, but small prices to pay. The one that troubles me more is subtle, almost elusive, but just as real as the other, more physiological signifiers.

My memory isn't what it used to be. I have weird holes, especially for things that have happened over the last three years. Not vast, gaping ones that make me obviously strange. But, for example, on seeing Ty Franck at the Locus Awards, I honestly couldn't remember ever meeting him before. He tells me we've had dinner. Last January when I saw Brent Weeks at Epic Confusion, I asked him if we'd ever met. In fact we had, several times, including some good conversations, and my daughter is a fan of his.

These are deeply embarrassing moments for me. Not remembering someone is one of the rudest things you can do. Most of my memory holes I can ignore or cover up, even from myself. But when I don't remember a person, well, that's hard to hide, especially if it catches me by surprise.

This is just something I have to live with. It doesn't trouble me deeply, or cause me to think ill of myself. It does make me sad. Because if I don't remember, how do I know what I'm missing?

Tags: cancer, friends, personal

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