Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hold your breath for nothing

OMG I felt great today. My feet are still a bit numb, but who cares. It's because I  have decided to stop waiting. There is nothing to wait for. And no one to wait for it. Yeah! I have broken the cycle of the end-of-treatment blues. On October 23, a Tuesday, at 11:30am, I'll find out the results of my scan. It will be one milestone in the series of cancer-related milestones that structure the current configuration of my life. But one cannot hold one's breath for milestones. There is too much missed, even when nothing is happening.

Cancer gives me lessons, all of which apply to regular life, too. It's just that they have been forced on me, because uncertainty, impermanence, and death, dropped out of theory into reality. Like the folks learning to meditate to reduce stress vs. the folks learning to meditate because they are in jail, or a doctor has told them their life is pretty much over. And there are also smaller deaths...Like one's identity as a healthy person. Like the sense of oneself as productive. Like whoever you are when you have hair, you're someone else, kind of, without it. Like the unconscious assumption that things as they are right now - health, or sickness - last forever.

I had a chat today with Carol Gerstein, who is a social worker in palliative care. Basically for dying people, part of an advanced illness coordinated care program, which I qualify for, because of my staging (Stage 4.) I felt so happy, I was sorry not to feel worse when I spoke to her, give her something to do. But it was cool. She helps people with a lot of different things. She had an interesting take on 'the bucket list': What is important to me? She helps with planning around what is important. And ways to make difficult decisions, and communicate about them. Awesome.

I think a lot of the trouble I have had came from not being able to sleep. I took two wonderul naps over the weekend, something I haven't been able to do in what feels like a very long time. I'm convinced that taking anything in order to sleep wrecks my day, but I don't know if it wrecks my day more than not sleeping does. And this is mostly about non-prescription sleep aids. Anyway I've cut way down on the pills in general. Sadly this meant I stopped using the estrogen patch, so now the world is boiling hot again, bummer. I started using it again over a week ago but the temperature remains tropical.

Arbitrary points

Robin made me a yummy quiche packed with veg. Helen brought me some excellent risotto. Bless their cotton socks.

It's funny how often I hear people say antidote when they mean anecdote. Probably not that often...but more than once.

A postscript to my post about what to buy your friend the cancer patient, entitled Navigating a shitty mood: If you buy a Sleek Turban for your pal with cancer, start with buying one in a plain color that will match the colors she tends to wear, and see if it works for her. The problem with wigs and hats is they all seem to be created with room for hair in them, so if you don't have hair there's extra space, or they're droopy. Point being that the Sleek Turban might not work for someone with a head smaller than mine. Or you could get 'em something to fill in the empty space with. I have no idea how people do that, but no doubt there's some kind of gadget.

I'm reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. (Young Adult fiction, it's very good.) I just picked up The Hunger Fix, by Pam Peeke MD. I think I found these books on the NY Times bestseller list.


  1. Yay, so glad to hear you stopped holding your breath!
    lots and lots of love, Varada

  2. This came to mind after I read your post: "Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless; unmindfulness is the way to Death."