Liz's colonic journey

Quick Update: All Good

I’m strong. I had a half an hour swim yesterday after our 3 and a half hour meeting at work (and a brief nap when I got home). My legs loved being in the water and paddling up and down – I did have to consciously remind them how to flex at the ankles and move to propel me forward. There were a couple of moments where they’d forgotten and I just stayed in one place. It made me laugh. the water was warmer (29C) than the boardroom had been, so there were no zings in hands and feet (or other sensitive body parts). Just pure freedom and weightlessness – it was fabulous. I floated for a good 15 minutes under the Leopard tree watching the mannikins at the feeder, disappearing clouds (cf Richard Bach – Illusions) and watching the giant rose beetles amongst the tree’s flowers. Pure joy.

So while it’s true that I feel the need for a nap on getting home from work, this week between 2.30 and 3.30, my legs have not felt seriously wobbly weak since Monday. They threaten occasionally, as they did yesterday when I forgot that I’ve been conserving energy by using the lift up and down from the office. I went down the steps and the pins objected on the second flight of stairs. I love railings!

Crouching down in the shower to scrub my toes is sometimes an interesting challenge. It’s necessary because the chemo makes them take on a blackened tinge. We had a bar installed in our shower, when Pat’s mum was with us, so you can grab it and haul yourself up in these instances. And one just outside the shower door for steadying yourself up and down the little step. It might not be pretty but it’s seriously practical. I’m glad for that facility, even though I’ve only had to use it on Monday.

I’ve two big things on my mind at the moment. One is Robyn Scott of the Highway Mail’s editorial about her experiences with chemo brain and not being able to find her parking ticket and being harrassed by an impatient bullying man because she was taking too long to find it. The worst was her frustration at not being able to think of a quick comment – as a woman of words and wit – a hard thing to deal with.

The other is this blog post  by a friend of my friend, Karen in LA.
I loved it for a) the hope of recovery from stage 4 cancer and b) for her sheer authenticity in describing how ‘cure’ might be experienced. She captures so well how normal changes to new normal all the way through this process. It has become normal for me to get bloods done every second Tuesday and to show up for chemo the day after.

I guess what is stopping me from settling into this routine and its identity is the unpredictability of when the post chemo side-effects will hit. This week it was Sunday/Monday, last time it was Thursday/Friday.

In the meantime my food obsession continues. As a person who could go days not eating breakfast and lunch, I now eat something roughly every two hours. Today’s work lunch was a masterpiece which I wasn’t able to show off because everybody was working so hard, but I will describe it – whole wheat bread, cottage cheese, Norwegian Salmon, a touch of sweet chilli with some coriander from the garden and lettuce. This from the person who knew how to heat baked beans! New identities indeed.

Still it appears to be working and maybe the notion of anything as fixed as one identity and the predictability associated with it, is silly – maybe as ‘beings’ we are meant to be moving continually in all dimensions.
So I’ve decided to ‘flow’.
Thanks for your thoughts and concern. I don’t mean to scare you when I don’t blog, it’s just that another reality needs to merge with the post-diagnosis one.
Also I hope this makes sense – if not it’s not chemo brain it’s just the nature of mine to dive and blow bubbles,


Comments on: "Quick Update: All Good" (6)

  1. Hey lizzie – as always as I read your blog my heart lightens a great deal. So the first couple of paragraphs did me good and made me smile sitting here in the office. The shower thing I so relate to – we put in rails all round the shower – it is such a sensible thing amazing how often you need to steady yourself on slippery floors – I hate wet – soapy feet balancing on one foot and pretending to be nonchlant and not falling over – even then I never feel the feet get a fair deal in the shower (only very wrinkled!!). Then I hit the lunch bit – it sounded so moreish! Norwegian salmon nog al mmm (and this from a serious fishophobe (howzat for a new word). – thanks again. R

    • Fishophobe is not liked by predictive text but I think it should be. Maybe changing it to pescaphobia might be more acceptable? I’m glad my description made you grin. I was almost helpless laughing at myself which didn’t help me getting upright again! We clever human monkeys do so many weird things that are hysterically funny.

  2. Joan Conolly said:

    i just love it when you SHOW OFF!!!! When you are a SMARTY PANTS!!! I enjoyed the swim with you! You can bend down in the shower, and stand up again??? That capacity disappeared from my list years ago!!! That lunch was pure poetry!!! Who says you can’t write poetry??????????? love

    • I didn’t realise that so many people battled with showers! And how lucky I’ve been to be so fit for so long. Hey I didn’t sat bend, my operation is more like a crouch. My mum sent me her solution: place flannel/facecloth on floor (viz. drop) and the rub feet over it with enthusiastic vigour!

  3. Lovely post – floating in the pool sounds bliss. Here’s a Wendy Cope poem for you that your post made me think of for some reason…

    At lunchtime I bought a huge orange —
    The size of it made us all laugh.
    I peeled and shared it with Robert and Dave —
    They got quarters and I had a half.

    And that orange, it made me so happy,
    As ordinary things often do
    Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
    This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

    The rest of the day was quite easy.
    I did all the jobs on my list
    And enjoyed them and had some time over.
    I love you. I’m glad I exist.

    • Wendy Cope has completely got it. And that’s why you thought of it, with your usual amazing empathy, Sioux. Thank you for sharing. Wish I could write poetry!

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