Friday, May 29, 2009

Sometimes I Forget

It's a strange thing having this internal disease with no external signals to the outside world ... at least for as long as the majority of my hair hangs on. I've been feeling "normal" for the past couple of days, like a regular person capable of regular everyday things like eating, walking, working, laughing, playing. Sometimes I just plain forget I have cancer. But then there comes a not-so-subtle reminder like tremendous bone pain from the Neupogen shots, a chunk of hair in my fist, or being out to dinner when everyone else around me orders a frothy brew in an icy glass and I am forced to order a soda water with lime. Do you know how much I want a Sam Summer right now? These things that were regular parts of my life --- a painless existence and a brew (or a few) on a Friday night --- are a thing of the past since Mr. Cancer entered my life. 

As much as I forget, it can also be omnipresent at the weirdest of times. Today I drove past a woman my age jogging along the Simsbury greenway and I was so angry at her. "What a bitch," I thought. Angry that she can joyfully jog in her cute little shorts and racer bank tank, not a damn care in the world. Like it was her fault that I have cancer and can't walk up the stairs without getting winded anymore. Then I'm at CVS and the woman asks, "Do you have a CVS card?" and all I hear is "Do you have cancer?" I get this paranoia like people are looking at me like there is something wrong with me, like they know that I'm buying this Sobe water because I'm feeling naush and faint and am afraid I won't make it through my blood test without fainting. Ahhhhh. Everyone knows! But then I snap out of it and realize of course they don't know. Maybe they're looking at me strangely because I haven't showered in two days and my glasses are completely crooked because I keep falling asleep with them on and warping their shape. 

Then I get to the cancer center for (another) CBC finger prick blood check and it still doesn't seem real. Every other patient there is wrinkled and white haired. Very nice people I'm sure but I can't relate to their talk about forgetting their walker or the gifts they got from their grandkids. It can't be real that I'm actually a patient too. All the nurses, lab techs and receptionists already know my name and laugh and joke with me when I come in, but I realize that I'm not that memorable ... it's because I'm the only person who looks remotely like me. Dr. Dailey keeps talking about all these other twenty and thirty-something patients he's treating, but where are they? All I see is a sea of blue (or no) hair. There was a guy next to me in the waiting area who looked about 18-years-old or so. I found myself morbidly hoping that he had cancer too; maybe we could talk. The nurse came up to him: "Do you have an appointment?" My heart lifted--someone younger than me is waiting to get injected with these poisons, too. But no, turns out he was just waiting for his grandmother. Of course. 

Sometimes even when I'm getting shots or having my vitals taken I feel like I'm just there reporting on a story, watching it from the outside. It's not really me going through this. This is for old, sick people, not healthy twentysomethings. 

But the bitter times pass quickly. I'm happy that there are more moments when I forget than times that I remember these days. And I'm lucky to have so many joyous distractions to help me take the focus off the bad stuff. I'm going to keep forgetting as much as I can for the five days that remain between "normal" me and my next chemo shocker when the body-bashing cycle starts all over again. 

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