Initially, I didn’t believe I had cancer. Once I accepted that as fact, it seemed that my entire life started to revolve around the actual mechanics of cancer treatment. Each round of chemo starts in the infusion bay, 6 hours in the chair, receiving hydration and drugs intravenously. Back the next day for 3 hours, more hydration and then the Neulasta injection to goose my white blood cell count. Then home, nausea starts in the late afternoon, the bone pain starts that evening, and the next 3 or 4 days are spent trying to mitigate the various side-effects from chemo and the other anti-nausea and pain relief medications.
But there was a day when I asked the silence…
And got a response. Why not you?
It will show you that you are much stronger than you know.
It will make you stronger still.
It will help others become stronger too.
And that was really all I needed to know.
I’ve kind of lost track of this piece, mostly because it’s on hold until at least after I’m done with chemo. I had an MRI just after Christmas to look more closely at some anomalies that had showed up in the earlier abdominal ultra-sound tests. The MRI confirms a small spot on my liver, and an eleven-centimeter growth on my right kidney. My oncologist isn’t concerned with either. She says if the spot on my liver is cancer, the chemo will take care of it. And the growth on my kidney is most likely harmless, and something that would never have turned up except for the other test. She said I’d be surprised at how many odd things turn up that never cause a problem. At any rate, after the chemo, there will likely be another MRI to see if there any changes, and a visit to a urologist to rule out any problems.
If you don’t want the gory details, the short story is that I experienced the first week of chemo as having a bad case of the flu. The second week was better. I knew I’d been sick, and that I was getting better, but still wasn’t at 100%. My hair started falling out on Day 14. The third week of chemo is when I felt like my usual self, except bald. It was a time to catch up on some of what I couldn’t do in the first two weeks of this process, and also a time to prepare for Chemo Round Two, which starts on Day 22 (January 6.)
I'm learning more about my art, and from my art, every day. It's not so much a matter of skill or practice... mostly it's a shift in perspective, a way of shaping how I look at and exist in the world.
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