Like everything else in life, you do things enough and the patterns emerge. And so it is with chemo. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday following treatment are like any other; feeling well, full of energy and optimistically positive I’ve got this whole cancer shtick in the bag. Eight sessions are going to fly by and then blink and you’ve missed it, my hot hubbie, flat belly and perky cancer-free boobies are going to be sipping drinks from a pineapple in paradise.
Then Friday comes. And I’m starting to get a little tired and by 2 pm I can’t stand vertical. I spend 48 hours give or take in a comatose “I’m stuck in a Kardashian movie” (that shit is faked, btw, now that I have the inside scoop) or equally bizarre drug induced sleep–interrupted here and there with a coconut fruit pop (my new cantaloupe/seltzer water) and intentions of doing something productive that leave me within three minutes. Tim spends the weekend as a single parent/housekeeper/pet taker carer and after a Monday of slow-moving joints interspersed with lots of OJ/sugar cookie breaks (good thing it’s Girl Scout cookie season!) during dizzy spells and a work call or three, I’m back to myself (mostly) by Tuesday.
Sucks for Tim, but overall I can’t complain. My mom said they’ve been praying for comfort and although I wouldn’t describe living in a Kimye nightmare as such, it could be worse. Much worse. It’s like getting Star magazine for free, after all.
I did have a bit of a rough time Friday, but that was more due to the IUD my oncologist required I get. No bueno. But as per usual, my personal caretaker Sis Sis was by my side at every moment. Which is a good thing as at one point the only way to relieve the pain was to remain submerged in hot water. After nearly three hours in the tub, I’m pretty sure if she hadn’t been there to pull me out, my dreams would have been about the other royal West Coast family, the California Raisins.
Have I mentioned how I couldn’t do this without her? She came over, sat with me while I bathed, walked the dog, heated up my spa neck wrap for my stomach (Leslie, I use that ALL the time!), watched Reality Bites with me (some credit must go to Tim for letting us listen to Lisa Loeb on Pandora afterwards until everyone agreed it was getting way too Lilith Fair up in there), made something that was supposed to resemble cookie dough, but lacking both the cookie and dough (gluten dairy free), didn’t quite, rubbed my raisin legs with lotion and kissed me a bagillion times. And served me the most amazing au gratin potatoes in the world (courtesy Tara!) She has hooked me up via mealbaby for food delivery until mid April, held my hand in my more doctor’s appointments than I can remember, wiped my tears and even dealt with Emilio’s dirty litter box despite his well documented hatred of her. Or anyone for that matter. (He long ago replaced her as the little shit in the family.) I love her more than anything and just couldn’t fathom this journey without her. I feel sometimes this blog has just turned into world’s longest humble brag (#blessed#myfamilyrocks#loved#pinterestinspirationboards #misquotedsayingsoverprettypictures), but it’s true. I love Lindsey Clark!!
Anyway, I said in the beginning I was going to learn something from this crap. And one of the things I’ve learned is that there’s something to be said for being slow. Which is now me every other weekend. And I’m not talking about my running. That’s nothing new.
Things that are Good Done Slowly
* Drinking. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, I’m usually ready for a half a glass of vino. Perk of taking four hours to finish it? No hangovers, lasts entire length of loooooong baths, bottle of wine (if Lin and Tim are not over) lasts for a week.
* Hair Transitions. My first reaction when I learned I was getting chemo was to chop everything off immediately. But by taking my time, and doing it in stages, it’s been a lot easier to adjust to. And by the time my hair started coming out in clumps in the bathtub (How does my husband have a full head of hair while I have the receding hairline?), it wasn’t nearly traumatic as I thought. It’s been kind of fun actually, especially seeing people’s reaction. The shorter it got, the more people went from So Cute to Wow, You’re Brave to What look are you going for? But a 20 something coworker who’s got real street cred in the cool factor (she’s got a lip ring!) and has no clue I have cancer saw me with the buzz cut the other day and told me it was, in her words, kick ass. Which is pretty kick ass in and of itself.
* Bathing. The fact that I can sit in the bathtub for an hour, without any worries if I actually get around to washing my “hair” or not (Benny’s 2-in-1 Coconut Cowabunga Body Wash works just fine) is invigorating. Usually, there is nagging thing in the back of my head that says I have to get up and eventually wash my hair, shave, etc. to actually be considered clean. But with no hair on my head or elsewhere, I can sit in the bubbles all day long and be as happy as a clam.
* Snail Mail. Having cancer means I get a lot of mail. Which means I get to write a lot in return. Which I love. Anyone that I knows me knows I have an unhealthy obsession with the mail. When my sister and best friend Katy went to Spain one year, I sent out a record-setting 76 postcards, eating up most of my travel budget. But I love mail and my days of sending out tons of letters are coming back with huge rewards. Email gets the instant send gratification but not the instant return one. And I still love good long emails from friends too. But I’m digging on the sloooooow mail train. It’s a groovy one.
* Napping. Power naps? Hell no. Especially when the day is nice, like it was this weekend, sleeping on the couch next to an open door without any guilt about needing to be doing something else (particularly because I have amazing family making sure I still have clean dishes and laundry) is pretty damn nice. I have no guilt because it takes too much focus to do more than one thing after chemo. So sleep, no guilt. Slowly.
* Eating. As my appetite has varied greatly, I’ve only been eating what appeals to me. And if that means I eat a coconut ice pop every hour and a half until I’m full, then I do it. It’s like being in elementary school with a very limited palate. I eat a little fruit pop here, I eat a little fruit pop there. I’m not hungry because I’m constantly eating. Just what I want. Good and slow.
* Working. It may not make me the most productive multi-tasker in the house, but being slow means I focus on one thing at a time until it’s done. Just cause I don’t have the brain power to handle any more. I talk to my coworkers so I can finish my one-track-focus task instead of emailing out questions and I stroll over to the other cubes when necessary. And I’ve been enjoying it. It’s nice not being able to do 100 things at once. Because aren’t we lying when we say we can anyway?
* Kissing. But I knew that before. 😉 And best when my kisses aren’t toxic, but if they are, well I’m just building up immune systems. You’re welcome.