Thursday, April 05, 2007


I am back among the living once again, for a week anyway, though still lacking in normal energy.

Taking chemo is like taking poison. At least that seems to be the way my body reacts to it. It completely wiped me out from Sunday to late Tuesday. So much so that some of the time I would lay in one position for an hour without moving because it just seemed moving was no longer an option. I even caught myself not breathing at times because breathing required too much effort. I barely made it through the Passion standing.

Coming back is like returning from the dead.

I guess it doesn't affect everyone this way. I keep reading about people who never miss a day of work while taking chemo. They must be made of sterner stuff than I.

It not only messes with the body, but also with the mind. There were hours of very fuzzy thinking late last week, and they repeated one day this week. Doing anything mental, like balancing a checkbook, during that period, would have been foolish in the extreme. I barely knew what I was saying, and stopped sometimes in mid-sentence unknowing what was to come next. My sense of balance was disrupted. I kept falling into the wall. My reaction time was badly diminished. It would have been suicidal to drive a car.

Nothing tasted normal. At one point I could clearly see that I was eating strawberries, but all I could taste was fish. I stopped eating because I couldn't reconcile what I was seeing with what I was chewing, and I wasn't hungry anyway. Food is supposed to taste like metal, but that hasn't happened yet.

I wasn't able to sleep for an entire night, only a couple of hours at a time. Then I would have to get up and sit in a chair and wait for the insomnia to pass. This was more or less a round-the-clock situation.

For one thing I am grateful. The nausea drugs keep it under control so far for me. I can only hope that this will continue. If this stuff doesn't cure me, it's going to kill me. Cells couldn't survive this onslaught for long!

It's funny how attitude changes when life is reduced to survival. I have never been more grateful than I was this week for my husband who cleaned up the house, washed the dishes, gave me something to eat, answered the phone, since I could not have done these things. Each of these things he did for me was a beautifully wrapped gift.

Cancer forces the mind to concentrate on the moment. If tomorrow is a question, right now can stretch to eternity. I keep concluding that little of what we spend our thoughts on really matters. One thing does matter. One thing only opposes death when it is staring at you in the mirror. Love. Love says to death "You have contested and you have lost." Love can make even cancer hopeful...maybe even joyful, because it brings love into sharper focus. I think B-16 would agree with that.

Now you probably think my body has returned but my mind is surely still in la-la land!

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