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. http://www.salon.com/2012/02/20/now_what_life_after_cancer_treatment/
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,