Though I know that in crisis times, life more resembles a roller coaster, I think I convinced myself that after the first chemo treatment I’d have a steady uphill climb toward feeling better – until the next treatment. Nope. Though Friday was a pretty good day when I could eat some and actually enjoy it, yesterday was another story. I didn’t want to eat, plus eating made the nausea worse. But I did manage to eat a little and to keep drinking fluids. I napped off and on from about noon until I went to bed at 9. A friend drove my sister and me to the airport yesterday morning because I had taken the nausea medication that ruled out driving. My sister and I had a tearful goodbye (for now). She’ll come back down, but we don’t know just when yet. It depends on how things go and when I need her. It was so comforting to have her here, and I know she’ll be back when I need her again. This is one of those roller coasters from which I can’t see the whole ride – just a bit in front of me, and honestly sometimes, not even that, so it’s hard to plan for the future.
What I know now is that I’ll have blood work done on Thursday to see how the white blood cells are doing, and if all is okay, I’ll have my next chemo treatment on October 6th. That will be one month after I got the breast cancer diagnosis. I remember how often in the past I’d be amazed that a month had passed. It seemed to go so quickly. Now time has taken on a new property for me. It’s not very linear at all. I’m seeing life more in cycles, and appropriately enough, my first chemo treatment was just before the autumnal equinox. The time of year that marks when our nights are about to become longer than our days. Yes, this healing process does fit with the lengthening nights and paring down and purging into the starkness of winter. And then at the winter solstice, the days begin to lengthen toward spring and healthy growth.
As I’m typing right now, my upper thigh bones are starting to ache. Ah, it’s the shot I got Friday getting the bone marrow going, producing white blood cells. A nurse warned me that my upper legs might get achy. One new physical pain after the other. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite this focused on my body before. It’s fascinating how physical pain can make me remember that I’m in a body. Sometimes I think I’ve almost forgotten that. But not now! The process now will be to try to balance the body and emotions and spirit/soul in the healthiest way I can, realizing that who I am is a combination of all of them. Maybe a little like a what appeals to me about roller coasters. A combination of the ride itself, plus all of the elements that scare and excite me as well.
I think my current roller coaster is like the Runaway Mine Train at Six Flags in Atlanta. It’s a ride that goes back to when I was a little kid. It’s jerky, and because it’s diving in and out of curvy mine shafts, you can’t really see where you’re going. Yes, that fits my life today. I’ve gotten on the ride, and I’m taking that first part of the course. Somehow it comes out where I started, but the ride is pretty much unknown until the end. Just as is this breast cancer ride. I expect that I’ll end where I began, healthy and cancer-free – but this time much more appreciative of just what that means.
2 thoughts on “So the roller coaster begins”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Ah, Will, when I read the first line, I knew it was from you. Yes yes yes, TS Eliot got it. Thank you for sharing this.