Some days are harder than others

Published by pam on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 10:15pm


I swore to myself I would write even when I didn't want to and today, I really don't want to.  I'm not really sure why.  Maybe it's because I didn't sleep all that well.  Maybe it's because I'm still waiting for the path report on my kidney.  Maybe it's just the accumulation of a month's worth of unbelievable life adjustments.  But today, I just want to sleep. 


Sleeping the day away is against my nature.  We're finishing up the kitchen and for the past few days, I've been trying to put books back in bookshelves and rearrange drawers so they function well.  It's the kind of chore I enjoy.  We've waited a long time for this kitchen and it's a joy to watch it come together.  But the work wears me out fast.  Things in my belly start to ache in ways they shouldn't.  My chest gets tight.  Both signs that I am over doing things, even though it seems like I haven't don't much at all.  Today, I don't even try to unload boxes or rearrange anything.  I know my body needs rest, but giving in to the nothingness makes me wallow.  I hate wallowing.  Almost as much as I hate waiting for path reports.  


I am told there is a lot of boredom in chemotherapy.  Long periods of sitting.  Days of being too tired to do much.  Profound stretches without a creative thought.  How do people keep up the fight?  That fighting spirit seems crucial  to recovery, but the drugs make the the world spin out of focus.  The enemy becomes a blur.  


It's the lack of creativity that scares me the most.  I've always made stuff.  I draw,  I cook, I sew, I like projects.  I always have.  I can't imaging month after month passing by with nothing to show for it.  On my way home from that first biopsy, I swore to myself that I would write.  On good days and bad.  Even when I thought I didn't have anything to say.  Because writing, for me, isn't about expressing some preexisting thought.  I don't write because I think I have some unique perspective on the world.  It's more the opposite. My perspective often emerges as the words take shape on the page (maybe that's my fundamental problem as a novelist, my books unfold as I write them so the plot is never as tightly crafted as it should be).  Writing makes me think about what connects things.  I find meaning in unexpected places.  I find a story.  I recognize heroes and villains and damsels in distress.  I make sense of things that don't make sense.  Like cancer.


So, I promised myself I would write.  I would write even when I didn't want to.  And it works.  At least today.   As I take the time to clear my head and focus on the words in front of me,  I feel less lost.  The music which moments earlier sounded loud and grating, becomes a theme.  I find pleasure in the words and the driving beat.  Suddenly, the world isn't hammering me, rather it feels contained and inviting, like a snow globe and I want to see more.  I am, for the moment, not afraid if what I'll find. 



So, while today was hard, the axis of it all shifts as I type.  The not-so-good-day becomes a not-so-bad-day.  It ends with an excellent meal, prepared to the soundtrack from American Idiot, along side my husband (who does not think American Idiot qualifies as one of the 50 best albums of all times - I, however, disagree).  All four of us sit down together, eat salmon, argue about politics, and enjoy being a family.  


Oh yes, and today, an amazing family did a magical thing.  They sent us eight pints of ice cream.  Maybe it wasn't the writing that changed my mood at all.  Could very well have been the espresso mocha and the dolche de leche with chocolate chunks.  Ice cream is a wonderful thing. 


Almost as good as a clean path report.



As I read this post, it strikes me that you are, indeed, making something. Today, yesterday, tomorrow, and each day that you may need mostly to rest during chemotherapy, you are making yourself healthy. You're creating space within yourself to heal. You're making your future. Now, I realize this probably sounds extremely strange from a fellow "sistah who does" all day long, who shares your need to move and do and make and get done and do more, but when I picture you the day you wrote this, I see your rest as incredibly productive and exquisitely creative. You are making yourself well.  
In February, 2013, we will celebrate one of the most important projects of your life: healthy you.

It is a good reminder.  But it is still weird to be benched.  I know I have to heal.  Maybe the problem is that I see healing as passive.  If I turned the problem around and made healing an active process, then I wouldn't feel, well, so damn inactive.  Thank you though for the encouragement.  And as always, it's nice to hear from you.

We are back in Ellensburg and I am finally caught up at work. I like the way you write-I like the way you talk and we want to hear you talk soon.
We will be in Seattle the weekend of the 14th.  Saturday we will be remembering a friend of Rich's at a memorial lunch and Sunday we are free. We would like to float over to Bainbridge or wherever you are and take you all to lunch or bring lunch to your house.
I will call some evening this week.
I can't figure out from your blog exactly where you are with the chemo treatments. I will be paying close attention. Thanks for the updates.
Abby worries a lot about you and I think it would be nice for her to see you. Here you go again, lifting us up:)
Love Kim

I start chemo next Wednesday, barring any surprises.  I think we should plan on it and if, for some reason, the chemo takes a heavy toll on me, I'll let you know.  Also, as I enter this phase, I need to warn you that I need to be carefull about illness, so forgive me if I ask you to use the hand sanitizer by the door or if, on the chance that someone is sick, that we walk out doors or meet some place out in the open,  I'm new to all of this, so I'm not sure yet how paranoid I need to be.  It's kind of like having a newborn.  But we would LOVE to see you.  So let us know about your plans and we'll see what we can pull together.