Tuesday, July 17, 2018

DAY 013 -- "You Better Free Your Mind Instead"

Today in my most unforgettable lack of character: following my rad treatment, the follow-up visit with the oncologist, and because most exam rooms are interchangeable, I was sent to this one: pediatrics.


A. They think I’m behaving like a child (and that would be fine by me).

B. They WANT me to behave more like a child (I’m trying).

C. It just didn’t matter. In the cancer milieu, where everyone’s journey is unique, one size still fits all. Here is where the common denominator lives, but where the fingerprint keys will only unlock sole locks, and all the stories end at their beginnings.

I was just entertained by the sign, and my exam room nurse did call me a “young man.”  Bless her, and I would have, were I a professional sanctifier.

When I stretched out today on the Rad table, the Radionettes were on their usual match game. Through the speakers came The Beatles’ “Revolution.” Just what we need right now, given the recent national boneheadery going on.

 If someone’s reading this 100 years from now, check back to this date in history, and you too will wonder whathehell it was all about:

You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead.

Before the treatment ended, a Radionette voice interrupted: “please breathe normally; stop moving.” Apparently, during my revolting simpatico, I was holding my breath and/or puffing through my singing (well, you try not moving some part of your body and/or at least humming through that rock anthem). But, you can’t do that on the terrible table; it upsets the machine’s equilibrium.

One other new development --- an interesting sidebar that looks like it will be a staple for a while: sore throat. Not from infection, but from some shifting cellular ping pong going on from the effects of radiation.

As much of my chest pain is moderating considerably (no complaints there) due to attacking rascal Rad Chemo’s handiwork thus far, the sensorium game changes, now shifting to my throat. Predicted by the docs as a possible but likely side effect due to Rad Chemo’s staging, location and temperament.

I was also read the riot act again. My caregivers deliver these little admonishments with compassionate kid gloves and Nerf hammers, but they’re still hammers:

“YOU MUST PACE YOURSELF” is the new buzz phrase. (They know I’m a nurse, and a good one, but I’m terrible (or very good) at “do as I say, not as I do", as my body now sends out new dictates on my tolerances, strengths, weaknesses and intensities, and in ways that need no introduction.

Over the weekend, I push-mowed my lawn on a job that typically (pre-Rad Chemo treatments) took an hour and a half. This time it took three. Quick to rubberized legs, and arms that felt like I’d just finished dead-lifting a Volkswagen, requiring frequent rests which were more like near collapses. Bad move. Doc says he’d rather see me walk a mile every day than five miles in one day.

Right about there, he was right, of course, and another enlightenment ascended, realizing that much of what I should be doing with my energy, appetite, movements, daily living activities, is not just a formula for coping with cancer, but rather the way we should all live, diseased or not:

Eat good food (no, I’m not going there; you know what “good food” is), more small meals instead of big feasts, exercise regularly in ways that are fun and communal and well-tolerated (no pain -- no gain is NOT the way to keep fit; I don’t care what your fitness gurus say). Cut out ALL excesses (no need to list them; we all know what we either do too much or not enough). Finally, take the summer off and hire the kid next door to cut the grass until Rad Chemo is history.

More as we go, El

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