I have changed my mind. I have something I want to do for counting down. From day one of learning of my diagnosis I have referred to cancer as the monster in the room. It is bigger and scarier than an elephant. The mission is to declaw the monster and eventually annihilate it. So, I have decided that for these first five weeks of daily treatments before the BGC (Big Guns Chemo) starts, I am going to make or have grandchildren and friends make (small dessert-sized) paper plate monsters to hang on my wall. Every day I will throw one away (or more likely incinerate it in my chiminea!) Feel free to make one (or a few) and send them to me to add to my collection. I need 25 in all!
Monday - Friday commutes ☑︎ Monday Chemo ☑︎
Daily radiation ☑︎ Friday afternoon nap☑︎
Checking things off from week one. It is hard (impossible?) not to count down. I can't decide whether to try not counting or embrace the counting. I even looked at "Creative Ideas for Counting Down." Some seem cutesy. Some downright weird. Some just - meh. Maybe at some point I will connect with the idea of a visual countdown system. Until then, I guess I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin' until this five week round is done.
If you have not read my previous post written about what, at that time, was an upcoming surgery for the insertion of my medical port, you may want to do so. This journal entry has my post-surgical thoughts regarding the experience. One word. Weird. Wait! I changed my mind; I am giving myself license to add a few more. Bizarre. Freaky. Strange.
theSince many types of sedation make me nauseous, I opted for local anesthesia. For the most part it was not painful, just kinda creepy. My biggest challenge was to keep my mind off what all the sounds and sensations were about: instruments being lifted and set down, incisions (2) being made, pressure and pushing as the surgeon threaded a tube underneath my skin from my chest to my neck, accessed the jugular vein, and inserted the tube through the vein to just above the right atrium. Yup. Now you know why I did not want to lie there running a moment-by-moment cinematic rendering in my imagination. Music to the rescue! I had been given my choice of music to be played in the O.R. during the surgery! I was hoping for chants. Apparently, I was the first person ever to request chants. The staff seemed to have fun trying to meet the request, and after some persistent searching, triumphantly announced they had found Gregorian chants. I expressed my sincere appreciation (and even resisted the urge to launch into a discourse of the differences between Byzantine chant and Gregorian). And then the surgery and the music began.
The acoustics of the operating room seemed equal to that of many a church, the reverberations providing a marvelous echo causing the space to seem much larger than it really was. With my eyes closed I transported myself to a church, imaging the candles and icons (yes, I know, Western vs. Eastern music and all that!) and even the scent of incense. Celestial essences. Then it happened.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
The sound of the heart monitor found its way through the anthem and into my brain. There it stayed, threatening to take center stage in my thoughts. For the most part it maintained an even pace. I tried sending it away. The pace quickened. I tried harder. It went faster. Deep, slow breaths. Slow it down. Where did the chanting go? Ah. There it was. I fought to find my way back to it, to keep it my focal point. "Kyrie Eleison!"
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP.
How could such a seemingly small sound drown out the sacred majesty of the song? And so it went. Struggling throughout to keep the sacred and spiritual in front of me, and leave the other concerns and such off to the side. (Admittedly, I am thankful I had a heartbeat and there was a monitor to keep track of it. But it did not me fixating on it to keep it going. ) I think the juxtaposition of the chirps and chants (using the term a bit broadly perhaps) may be a good analogy to keep in mind on the road ahead.
Note from Elizabeth
Although I am determinedly declaring that I will not allow being a cancer patient to define me, I recognize that in truth, for the next several months, it will in many ways do just that, This blog, Fighting with the Wind, is where my medical updates, philosophical musings, humorous anecdotes, heart-warming stories, spiritual contemplations, angry rantings, and joyous celebrations can be found.