Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Must Be Time

Much of the aches have subsided, though the feeling that I have been recklessly clocked in the jaw overnight is still there to greet me every morning. The throat rawness and soreness has dissipated. My concentration is back–in fact, I had the focus to start and finish a 600-page novel this week (unbelievably rewarding to me). My energy levels have risen back to what I now consider my normal. It all sounds too good. This must mean it's time for another chemo whop.

Yes, indeed. Pending any huge drop in blood counts, the GND chemo will again be plugged into my port tomorrow and send me back into slow-man's land. The land where everything is blurry in mind and body and everything you try to do takes 12 times more effort: the sumo wrestling suit phenomenon.

Like a song stuck on repeat I again tell myself: "If it's making you feel like this, imagine what it's doing to the cancer ... ." Blah. Blah. Yada. Yada. In all fairness, outside of the immediate days following last Thursday's chemo I've felt pretty well. "Well" of course being a relative term. If my pre-chemo ravaged body suddenly popped into the picture I don't know that I've even recognize it.

Pretty under the weather this weekend, Sammy and I spent Friday night at my parents where we could be spoiled. We took my Dad's antique car to the Bethlehem Fair and enjoyed fried dough and apple fritters while donning hoodies in the suddenly cool fall night air. Breathing in the fresh, country air and licking my cinnamon slathered fingers did me good. Each day I grew progressively stronger.

The primary goal of the week has been to be outside as much as possible soaking in every last drop as if somehow I'll be able to revisit the wind, grass, leaves, and trees from the climate-controlled confines of my hospital room. I spent an extra-long time at our CSA farm Saturday picking edamame and basil under the warm sun. Eating, reading, writing are done outside until the mosquitoes set in. I like to think of myself as a solar panel absorbing and storing all the energy for later release as needed. But as that is a mere pipe dream, I've been taking pictures of our favorite places to walk and hike so that I can decorate my "home away from home" with them and at least visually transport myself.

With my counts and energy *high* I've been back in the yoga studio as opposed to practicing with my DVD. This has been strengthening and calming. As much as I've come to love yoga, I do miss balancing it with a good, sweaty workout. It sounds strange but I have this great desire to go to the gym, run on the treadmill, lift some free weights and just get real sweaty. I long for the kind of 5:30 a.m. gym visit that used to leave me with chest sweat and swamp bottom. Even better, I'd love to take a body pump class that would leave me with that old, welcome soreness. An ache in my body that meant it was recovering and building muscle, that it was leading me to be toned and strong, not the ache I feel now, which is an angry one as my body tries to heal and survive ... not thrive.

Before all of this I climbed the 3,100-foot summit of Mt. Monadnock without blinking. Granted, I'm not saying I was a Lance Armstrong by any means, but I never struggled with athletics and endurance. Now I sweat out drugs and toxins as I sleep. Now I break an unwelcome sweat not from purposefully pushing myself to, but from the simple act of carrying the laundry basket up the stairs.

Now when I sweat it's not adrenaline fueled, it's a pure biological function of my fatigued organs having to work double time. For now I guess I'll have to settle for a warm, post-yoga or post-flat- terrain-walk glow and be grateful for that.

If years from now I ever whine and complain about getting in a daily workout someone kick me in the gut. Someone remind me that at one time I had to inhale medicine out of a tube in a pressurized room in order to assure that my lungs wouldn't fail me. Remind me how I felt today when being out of shape wasn't a choice, but a sentencing.


  1. When all of this ------- ---- is over I am hiring you to be my personal trainer--you don't have to do anything but yell at me to get moving!! I deserve it!! You are soooo inspiring---hey what about the snacks--??? I missed reading about them!! Love Bev & Blake xoxo P.S. Love to Craig and Sammy

  2. Keep pushing on,Karen. All of this must be done and endured, to get to the other side. Praying for you and your family. Love, Irene

  3. Sending lots of hugs your way..... Your spirit is so strong, don't let your body fool you. -Sara

  4. In speaking to someone about your eyes peeled always blog, I was asked, 'what is this woman's purpose for writing this all down in a blog?'
    I replied that it is so inspiring, so helpful to those with and without cancer - to gain an understanding of what the ordeal is all about, it is so raw and real - so beautiful and ethereal all at once, it is so educational and simply charming, it makes one cry, laugh, and smile with endearment for all you are living through as you struggle to live on - May this upcoming battle be your last for many, many years. May you soon bask in your victory, bask in the sun, bask in the love of many!