Round three and Con #1
I met a dear friend for coffee this past Monday at one of our favourite cafe's. I haven't seen her for a while, since before the Big Shave. I knew it was a gamble to make plans for Monday; it's the day that, in my chemo pattern, is when I feel my most low. But I'm determined to not be a recluse through this cancer-thing and so found myself driving downtown (post-ski, of course), wondering if I should actually be driving. The best way I can describe the feeling is like that when you're really hungover; a bit jittery and shaky, belly slightly nauseous, terribly thirsty and everything feels a bit off. Foggy. Like you're brain is working in a lower gear than it should be. So that when my mate greeted me in the cafe with a loving hug and a gentle,
"How are you?" I couldn't even properly answer.
"Good, I'm good. I mean, I feel weird, but we're good. We're all good. My brain is a bit weird. It's Monday. I'm good.....(awkward pause).....can you tell me how you are?"
That last part was said rather plaintively.
It's such a strange feeling to not even be able to answer the question, how are you?
Ask me today, Thursday, and I'll be able to give you a coherent answer. I feel like I'm back to feeling myself again.
Chemo three was last Thursday and the pattern seems to have me feeling quite odd-but-sharp for Friday and Saturday. I have so many drugs during those days and in particular, one steroid that keeps me feeling sharp (and controls the nausea). On Sunday the drugs cease (so long as the nausea is controlled) and I dip into this funny, hangover fog. It's a disconcerting feeling of being, but not quite being yourself. Monday is when it feels the weirdest.
Those are the days when the magnitude of this process feels the most real. When my body feels like it's no longer in my control and I'm more aware of the way we're gradually increasing the toxicity of poisons in my system.
And that brings us to Con#1, pretty obvious one, really. It's the way that chemo makes my body feel. The way it affects my relationship with my body. I feel ginger with it. Like I've suddenly become a very old and frail lady and need to handle my body with extreme delicacy. I don't like that feeling.
But then, come Tuesday afternoon, the feeling starts subsiding and I begin feeling like me. Now that it's Thursday, I'm awake and able to compartmentalize the cancer-thing to it's place in my life and refocus on packing for our trip to Haines this weekend. I can bake. I can do the groceries. I can load up the photo's from last weekend's adventure in the Junction and write some blog words. I can reflect on how, the day after the last chemo, we were ski-doing to an ice cave and that makes me feel like I can kick butt!
Photo credit: Mike Evans
Not necessarily kicking butt in the next photo, but still, I'm out and about. Gotta give me credit for that. We're actually waiting here for Mike to return with his skidoo to shuttle us up to the ice cave. Mountain Dad had been SO excited for this day trip. Honestly, like a child before Christmas. We've owned the skidoo for five months now and he hasn't been able to take it on a long trip yet. The best we've done is pootle down frozen lakes for a picnic. In my version of our life story, those trips make for adventurous episodes. Mountain Dad's version is an exasperated,
"We barely went a kilometre!"
Our skidoo HAS been on a multi-day back country trip, but that was when we loaned it to a friend.
So on this day, our first real, longer-than-a-kilometre adventure, Mountain Dad was beside himself with excitement.
We made it about two kilometres down the track when Adelaide called out over the thrum of the engine,
"DAD! SOMETHING JUST FELL OFF!"
We'd lost a wheel. We found it in the snow. We're not mechanics but it looked somewhat important. We left the skidoo at kilometre two and gratefully accepted Mike's offer to shuttle us all up to the ice cave.
Mountain Dad was mightily disappointed but adapted. We're all kicking butt in our own way.