I haven’t written in awhile because things, frankly, have been tough. At first I was pretty ashamed that dealing with a breakup felt much more difficult than living day to day life with cancer, then I came to a kind of acceptance with myself that a) I have always had a touch of “the crazy” after breakups, so why should this be any different?, b) sometimes all it takes is one more thing, and c) I really, really need to be gentler with myself.
Over the past 2 weeks I’ve started a few blog posts – notably on chemo brain, body image, and Susan Sontag’s Illness as a Metaphor – but the past few days have actually been really good and I’d rather talk about places where I am progressing in my life rather than places where I feel kind of stuck.
The past two days have held really great meetings with fantastic people that I have been putting off sorting out for various reasons.
Yesterday I met with my iy Boston volunteer co-leader Grank Mukai at a bar just down the street from where both of us live. Grant is a fellow survivor currently in the middle of treatment as well. We actually have chemo on alternating Fridays from each other and share more than a few of the same logistical, emotional, and medical challenges. It was fantastic swapping stories that, frankly, would gross most people out far too much to have in a normal conversation, much less over dinner. “This one time, they sliced my hip open and drilled into my bone WHICH WAS NOT NUMB!” “Oh man, that shit sucks. This one time, there was so much blood that it covered the ER bathroom walls. It looked like a murder scene. I told the nurses that I had an accident and they sort of laughed it off. Then they saw the room. Best way to get seen by a doctor EVER.” (paraphrased, of course)
iy Boston is finally going to get off the ground after a few months of false starts. If anyone in the Boston area has any connection to a restaurant/bar that might accommodate a weeknight gathering of 15-30 people and offer us free stuff because we have cancer, I would be forever in your debt.
Today I met with the director of the MBA program at the Heller School at Brandeis to discuss matriculating into the program and how feasible taking classes would be. Did I mention that I plan on getting my MBA? Well yes, that’s a thing. MBA in nonprofit management with a focus on healthcare management (what else?).
She gave me quite a bit to think about. She was quite clear that she was worried about me and my ability to handle courses while working full time in the middle of and directly following treatment, yet she was incredibly supportive of me taking on whatever I feel that I can take on. I appreciate her concern that I might be setting myself up for failure, but frankly, taking classes is a normal thing for me. I was in class for 17 years. The past year (and it has been a full year!) of being out of school feels like an alien world to me.
I might start a class as early as mid-July, depending on a few factors. None of these factors are dependent on my disease – something that I am very happy about. I am very much looking forward to gaining professional skills and networking with the incredible people involved in the school. All of my experiences with professors and students at Heller have been phenomenal and I am glad that I work somewhere that allows me to continue growing these experiences.
Health wise, this past chemo marked the theoretical halfway mark. I will get the final confirmation next week. It has also been one of the worst in terms of side effects. Rather than have one place hurt particularly badly for a day or two, my entire body has been in a sort of low grade cramp for the past week. A few times a day, one part (normally my forearms, calves, or feet) will start cramping violently. The rest of the time, I feel like someone is slowly driving an ice pick into my joints and back. Doctor says this is “normal”. The only thing that seems to help is popping an ativan and an ibuprofen (which I do think is just for the placebo effect) and hopping into a hot bath. It’s pretty miserable. I’ve also been fighting the sudden onset of fatigue a few times this week.
All in all, pretty bleh. Also bleh is how sensitive my skin is. Por ejemplo: flip flops. Warm weather is finally here and I cracked those babies out. They promptly proceeded to rip my skin open. My skin scars and breaks far too easily.
Solution? Clearly need new shoes.
Isn’t that always the answer?