Tuesday, November 27, 2012

head above water

I sometimes find it hard to write about my experience.  I get worried that I will bore you with all of the gruesome details of how the chemotherapy drugs impact my physical being- and at the same time, it is hard to focus on much else.  Each dose of taxotere and carboplatin on their own are manageable- it is how they build upon each other that becomes problematic.  What began as a slight burning in my fingers once at Trader Joes has now become long periods of numbness where I find even typing difficult.  What was once a need to wear slippers because the bottoms of my feet were sensitive is now cramping through out my feet that makes walking excruciating.  The dryness in my eyes is now eye twitches and spasms that happen through out the day without reprieve (even when I am trying to sleep).  Bone and muscle aches add to the overwhelming feelings of exhaustion.  And the nausea that used to leave me four or five days after treatment now lingers well into the second week past chemotherapy.  For some unlucky souls, these changes are permanent.  For most of us, we will find a new normal after chemotherapy.  Our bodies changed without a chance of going back to how we once were.  But no one says chemotherapy is a cake walk.

The hardest part is keeping hope afloat.  Not allowing dark thoughts to overcome you.  Which can be challenging, especially when you have a tendency to be kind of melodramatic anyway.  I do allow a few crying jags every now and again, but I know that it is a place I can only visit.  I can't live there.

Tonight, after a bout of nausea, I went to my room with the intention of curling up into a ball, crying, and going to sleep.  I decided instead to make some art.  It wasn't easy- since my hands have not been very cooperative- but I did my best.  I wanted to draw how I was feeling at this moment.

If I were my own art therapist, I would notice how I look pretty close to drowning.  That would feel accurate.  I would also notice how my ears aren't submerged.  Maybe that is because I really do hear all of the positive blessings and prayers that I am offered.  I would also notice that my eyes are closed- and I would wonder why.  Not sure I know the answer.  Perhaps I don't want to see what is happening.  Maybe I am trying to stay inner focused.  My mouth is underwater - which means it has to remain closed.  Perhaps there are certain things that I can not speak of.  Interesting.  The top of my head is above water - which may speak to how I need to keep my inner thoughts out of the murky depths below.  What does the water represent?  The pain, the emotions, and all of the things I can not control.

After I finished making my art piece, I was able to leave my room and join my family.   I didn't feel great, but I did felt better.


  1. Your entries though painful are beautiful to read. You are not boring anyone. Even though I cannot be there to help with your kids or just give you a hug, I feel closer to you through these writings. And hope they are helping you through this process as well. You are going though so much. Just know you have lots of love being sent your way.

  2. Close to drowning. Yet not. Keep bobbing. You got this.

  3. i read your post from my reclining chair at the infusion center. i am going on seven years, twice a week, all day long. i share this only to say i am close to you in ways words cannot begin to express. i love your radiant, creative, generous, beautiful heart.
    sending light, love, renewal and finally Muy Bueno, your new cookbook! it is a joy to envision you and your lovely children laughing and cooking together in a sun filled kitchen.