The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to work

Perhaps the hiking on Saturday was the issue, or maybe it was just the dreary grey weather, but I was hard put yesterday to do anything but rest and bundle up. I reclined, covered in blankets and a dressed in a wool sweater that my Mom knit for me years ago, and concentrated on getting warm and resting. For the first time in a very long time, I managed to watch an entire Mariners' game on TV in the afternoon, and they even won, 4-3. Yay.

The overwhelming fatigue and general feeling of coldness finally passed, and I managed to get a decent night's sleep last night. Somehow, it seems amazing and far-off that just a few short weeks ago I would climb out of bed each day before 6am and walk for 45 minutes before my day actually "began." Now I am happy to get out the door in time to catch the bus to work at 7:30. (Just in case anyone out there in webworld thinks otherwise, my "fashion-challenged" status has not changed in any noticeable way over the years, and it still takes a major effort for me to match my tie to the rest of the outfit. My wife tolerates, in a most good-natured way, this missing aspect of my education.) :)

Back to today, though... After a couple of meetings this morning, I had a very enjoyable lunch with a close friend and colleague. We had some catching up to do, and she wanted to know, "how was I doing?" This is sometimes a difficult question to handle as a chemo-patient... but I know her well enough to feel like she meant it, and we had a far-ranging and sublimely connecting conversation about the surreality of living in CancerWorld. And perhaps more importantly, we talked about the practiced distance we insert between the sensory "reality" that we each experience every day and the worlds of our hopes and dreams. I found myself dragging the conversation all over the place, tripping slowly over the social constructions of past societies (just where are those Greek and Norse gods these days, anyhow) and briskly swatting at the inter-generational and societal inequities of modern medicine (the cost of cancer treatment is truly a phenomenal amount of money, especially when millions of children are without basic care in our country). And all in the breadth of an hour's lunch - beef stew with sun-dried tomato hummus, with a tall glass of tap water.


john said...

that sounds like a fabulous lunch! Thanks for the view. You are offering some amazing insights. I hope every night is good sleeping night.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed: Sounds like an interesting last few days. I am amazed at your stamina--that is, in watching an entire Mariners game, that is. I'm not sure the Greek and Norse gods can be entreated sufficiently to provide such continued patience and fortune, but we'll see. The Lions are doing terribly. Cabrera keeps fanning out, and Johnson isn't worth the money they are paying him. They should go back to starting Wakui.

Sartorially challenged? Wear it like a badge of honor, friend!


Megan said...

Hi Ed,

Remember that when your body is tired, it's because what it needs is to take all that energy you usually use on your 45 min walks and heal itself. So, listen to it and watch a baseball game.

I so completely understand the "how are you doing?" phenomenon. Somewhere I read someone say that what was once such a simple question becomes incredibly complicated once you have cancer. In the space of a few milliseconds you think, "Does this person *really* want to know? How well do I know them? What do I feel like disclosing? Am I in the mood to talk about this?" It gets old fast.

Keep livin' it up on good days and on bad days just remember "This too shall pass."

p.s. I think I mistyped my email in my last post:

Dorothy Skinner said...

Hi, Ed. I'm reading all your emails and blogs with interest. Last week I went to see the Bodies Exhibit here in Washington. (You've probably read about it...the one where preserved cadavers are displayed)
Of course, I went straight to the skeleton showing the rectum and the sigmoid colon to see where they join. Now I can appreciate the difficulty the doctors had in deciding whether your cancer was colon or rectal. You and Karen would be fascinated by this exhibit. Maybe it will come to Portland. Meanwhile, your tremendous spirit continues to impress me. All the best. Dorothy Skinner