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Here’s where I am now: I’m tired of waiting to feel better, so I’m doing things anyway. I’m exercising anyway. I’m eating anyway. I’m washing the dishes anyway. Dr. Asch seems to imply that I will and should be feeling better soon, that there is some latency from Consolidation I and the CNS phases that I need to shed. I admit to feeling a bit stronger, but again I think it has to do more with my do-it-anyway policy than anything else. I just can’t imagine feeling better than this, when the schedule says chemo weekly! I may as well adjust to a body that is poisoned all the time.
Life has been awful and terrifying this past few months. I stopped eating. Went to 85 pounds. Dr. Peterson said, “It’s as if you are disappearing on us.” The truth is I was. I had lost the desire to live. I checked myself into the hospital. Was threatened with a feeding tube. Please don’t panic. I’m not in such a dark place as I was. But I was in a dark place, and touched a level of hopelessness I’d never experienced before:
Life is mundane. People’s conversations are inane. Going anywhere and doing anything is pointless. Everything we do as humans is to stave off boredom another day. Humans are hopelessly bored or boring. Why do any of us bother living, and why should I bother when it is so hard and I all I do is sleep and get poisoned?
I realized that a feeding tube would do nothing to inspire me to eat again. It wasn’t food, it was my outlook. We went with the Mom Plan. Mom pulled me from the hospital, took me home and happily force fed me for 3 days. I’ve never eaten so much pork. I swept the walk, it felt great to use my arms. I sat in the sunshine. I held mom’s little dog. I let go of the terror.
Mom and I went for a drive to examine the changes in the neighborhood. My high school has doubled in size and Pleasant Grove is a construction zone! On the way home we ran into (very nearly literally), my sister Vicki, who had just found the perfect tree for her yard.
I went to Nephi and spent a Sunday with my sister Kim and her family, little grand-kids, doing lovely little grand-kid things, such as showing off for great aunt Brandi while running through the sprinkler. I spoke with my brother-in-law Cory, who I know has seen this dark place, and in whose eyes and arms I knew I would find understanding and compassion. I watched my nephew and his wife cuddling on the grass and felt proud of them, and their beautiful family. I felt the joy working on and improving Dad’s house brings to my sister. I felt the anticipation of a baby horse expected in just a few days.
I enjoyed the surprise visit by Uncle Jerry and Aunt Pat (Dad’s sister), and even let Uncle Jerry trim my fingernails.
I remembered I like little dill pickles.
The experience enlivened me. I still feel like our lives are hopeless attempts against boredom, but the quality of our attempts, what we choose to do to not feel bored, there’s a magic there. Particularly if it builds relationship, to each other, to land, to animals.
I’ve been weeding my garden, some. It’s full of grass.
___________________________________About the Author: Brandi Chase wrote her Lymphoblaster blog, The musings of a gal dancing with the demons of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, to chronicle her way through the disease. Nurse Talk is republishing her powerful and personal reflections that inspire and guide not only those affected by cancer, but all of us struggling to find meaning and gratitude in the lives we live. A fibercrafter and doodler, Brandi is also Executive Director at Starfall Education, a children's educational web site and publishing company. She currently resides in Utah with her husband, musician and composer Randin Graves and 2 cats, Yuri and Misha.
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About the Author: Brandi Chase wrote her Lymphoblaster blog, the musings of a gal dancing with the demons of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, to chronicle her way through the disease.
A fibercrafter and doodler, Brandi is also Executive Director at Starfall Education, a children's educational web site and publishing company. She currently resides in Utah with her husband, musician and composer Randin Graves and 2 cats, Yuri and Misha.
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