Cancer log 86: I have an…

Cancer log 86: I have an MRI today, and they'll need to poke a needle into my hand, to inject the contrast dye. Tomorrow, I have chemo, and they'll poke a needle into my port. I usually take needles reasonably in stride -- it's just a moment of pain, after all, not a big deal -- but I'm getting more and more tired of having my bodily integrity violated. I'm feeling resistant, and I have to bribe myself to go. I give myself little treats -- here's a new computer game or a book to distract myself during chemo. Here's a sushi lunch afterwards, or a slice of cheesecake. I'm starting to understand how patients become non-compliant with their meds and treatment plan.

I've started having stress dreams, starting a few days before each treatment. I wake up, over and over, from a dream where I'm running late to catch a plane. Or I'm unprepared for a class I'm teaching, frantically cramming. Or I don't have enough food to feed my guests. The dreams are never actually about cancer, oddly enough, although they also obviously are.

The last time I went to chemo, I was pulled over for driving 50 in a 25 zone. When the cop asked me for license and registration, I first couldn't find my license -- even though it was right there in my wallet, exactly where it was supposed to be. I tried to hand him my faculty ID first. And then by the time I was fumbling through the glove compartment, I started crying, hard. Pulling out pieces of paper, apologizing to him, until he finally had to say that that was it, that I was holding the registration. I gave it to him, explaining that I was sorry, I was running late for chemo, I hadn't noticed how fast I was going. Still blubbering. He asked me if the chemo was for myself or someone else, and I said that it was for me. The cop gave me back my ID and registration, and said that he was letting me off with a warning, because I had enough to deal with right now. He told me to take my time and calm down before I tried driving again.

I'm taking a cab to tomorrow's chemo.

I'm generally a cheerful, sanguine person, and for the five months since diagnosis, I've mostly gone on with my life as normal, with teaching and writing and garden and children and house projects and even throwing parties, and I've even been happy, most of the time -- but the stress is still there, running like a river under the surface. It takes its toll.

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