One of the very first things I do mornings is visit Facebook’s On This Day page to review what I thought worthy of posting a year or eight ago. This means lately I’ve been re-reading these logs from the beginning of treatment two years back. Today’s from 2015 – log #16 – is an account of my second chemo treatment, my first as an outpatient, and its immediate aftermath, and as with most of them my main reaction is surprise at how much I’ve forgotten and how quickly. In a few months spending a long day at the clinic with a needle in my chest would feel routine, but here although it wasn’t much fun it was nonetheless new and fairly interesting. Today I’m glad I wrote about it in a way that helps me remember.
#16 also describes the real onset of the fatigue that remains with me yet. Maybe it’s started to lessen a little with spring; that would be wonderful, though energy levels continue to fluctuate so much week to week it’s hard to draw any conclusion. I do sense that no matter how it levels out the fatigue is here to stay, abetted by depression.
It’s just over two weeks until I see the oncologist again, my first time since February when he pronounced me good to go for the short term. I suppose if I’m going to get the jitters about it they’ll wait until right before like they always do; none have shown yet anyway, and that’s good because there’s other things to be jittery about. Like, I need some work soon or I’m not going to have the May rent. My BP remains too high. I have new neighbors across the courtyard and yesterday their dog bit me. (Sometime soon I have to tell them I’m a cancer patient in remission, which I suspect is not something they bargained for when they signed the lease.) My cat’s dental care is now almost a year overdue, with my own more than that. My country has a government in power that seems to want anyone with health problems to suffer greatly or even die. And so on.
Usually when the jitters come I calm them by taking a few deep breaths, which in turn lets me remind myself that I have family and friends who aren’t going to let me go easily. Family and friends who do things like trust me with their pets and nice houses to look after while they’re away, which makes me feel useful and, better yet, loved. Or who buy me lunch at a Korean place I haven’t tried yet, or send me tips on filing for disability, or just flag me down across the coworking space to say Hi, how’re you doing. If I was facing this alone I would no longer be here to write this. I’m pretty sure of that.
I don’t know where my life is going; I may not for a long time, which is an effect of having one now measured in increments between oncologist visits. What I do know is that no one can have an idea where they’re going until they settle on where they are, which in turn is helped by remembering where they’ve been. That’s one of the reasons I turn to On This Day every morning. The reading there, and the remembering it prompts, though sometimes difficult is always necessary.
Photo: when the jitters get bad I go for a walk by the lake. That helps.
(Republished from my personal Facebook account)