Cancer log 144: Small…

Cancer log 144: Small irritations.

I think it's a good thing that I've gotten to the point of being cranky about little things. I actually was mostly not cranky for most of this past year, I think because I was so heavily in cope-mode. I didn't have the time or energy to spend on being in a bad mood; I just put my head down and tried my best to get through the days, doing everything that HAD to be done..

Now, though. Three fingers on my right hand have numb spots at the tips, esp. the forefinger. Peripheral neuropathy, it's called, and I'm pretty sure it's a leftover from chemo, and it is supposed to go away, but it hasn't yet, and it is bugging me almost constantly. You know how often you use your right forefinger? A lot.

And my fingernails -- they're weak, all of them, and they keep tearing a bit. I think, based on the areas of darkness and light on the nail, that in a few more weeks I'll finally be through the chemo-affected parts of the nails and back to healthy, normal nails. But for now, irritating as heck; they catch on things, and no sooner have I trimmed one than another one tears a bit. Next week I'm going to go put on a holiday coat of nail polish with the no-chip coating, and hopefully that'll hold them until the healthy nails grow in completely.

I don't actually mind that one side of my chest is currently darker than the other, and freckled (due to radiation, of which I have six more days to go), but it is a bit disconcerting. I do find myself more and more bothered by the puckered scar of the lumpectomy, even though it looks fine in clothes. It's funny -- right after surgery, I was so glad to be done with it, I didn't think I would bother with reconstruction at all. It didn't seem worth going through surgery again, just for the less ugly. It's not as if they could actually give me the breasts of an eighteen-year-old again. Yet now -- I don't know. I think when I meet with my oncologist on Monday, I might ask her what the schedule for reconstruction would look like, and if I could have a conversation with the plastics guy. Just to find out what the options are.

Small irritations. Cosmetic or minorly functional, SO not a big deal compared to actual cancer. And yet, deeply irritating. I'm super-cranky about them, and cranky with the people around me too, far more so than they deserve. I have used up all my energy, and seem to have almost nothing left for doing emotional work for anyone else. Is this a gendered thing? Do women (at least those of us heavily socialized to take care of others) react differently to serious illness than men in this regard?

Oddly, I'm actually fine dealing with work stuff. I cleared out most of my inbox today, yay! I'm happy to talk to my students or workshop people about their writing. It's the feelings-stuff that is so draining. I am finding it unusually hard to care; the well has run dry. For a long time, cancer demanded action of me. Now, I think the reaction is finally setting in.

I'm still pretty okay dealing with the kids -- they take priority on whatever emotional care-taking energy I have left. And Kevin, who has put up with so much this past year, I can probably squeeze out a bit of kindness for him too. As for everyone else...sorry, folks. Unless you're in desperate need, give me a month or two to get this out of my system. I think by then I'll be back to normal again.

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