it is one week since my last and final chemo and yet again, it was a new and different flavor of nasty. I was attempting to write about this experience in the midst of the craziness instead of after the fact, to see what that would look like on paper. these emotional spikes are so erratic and the duration so unknown that by the time I ride a wave and make it to my computer, the tide is out again. so I am just going to write and see what flows in and out…
first of all the physical fall out is more acute and more tangible this go round. tip of the tongue and lips slightly numb and thick. joints ache, stomach lining made of soft slimy liquid metal. appetite not off, but food tastes not quite right. then there is the breast pain. both sides. actual breast and phantom breast. they both hurt. ache. from deep inside the bone structure. the actual breast, the left, over my heart, hurts the most. I can take a full deep breath, but it is an effort. like someone were standing on my chest. the whole system idling too fast, too high of a rev.
deep internal muscle fatigue when I am sitting still. that trembling ache you feel when you have run as fast as you possibly can for as long as you possibly can, but you are not doing anything. I do not experience it when I am working our or doing yoga, only when I am still.
I am sharing these details, not to illicit pity in any way, but to share the expericnce. it is just so freaking bizarre. I wish there was a virtual helmet one could don. wii chemo.
trust me, there is merit in the ride, even as it sucks ass.
I also wanted to write during this time of nastiness just to destroy any illusion that I am this endlessly cheery, spiritual bright side human being. I am optimistic, but that does not mean that I don’t fall deep into the pits of despair and swim around in there. more often than not, I have been swimming.
“pain demands to be felt.” –augustus waters-
yes, it does. so FEEL it. really, truly feel it. don’t run from it. don’t push it away. don’t explain it away. don’t deny it away. don’t buy property there and build a house, but don’t be afraid to spend a season there either, if need be.
the emotional spikes…damn. they are not wildly out of context break downs. it is not like I am imagining that there are big hairy flying bats in my house or that I am being eaten alive by zombies or that my mother is really a man or my cats work for the federal government. the broken sadness comes from real circumstance that has nothing to do with cancer. difficult circumstance that would make you cry anyway. and cry hard. but chemo turns it up to 500. it goes from crying to keening in 2 seconds. and as horrible as that is, you hit a deeper level of clearing when you are able to fully let go into that kind of grief.
anne lammot says that “avoiding grief robs us of life, of the now, of a sense of spirit. you begin to cry and writhe and yell and then to keep on crying: and then, finally, grief ends up giving you the two best things: softness and illumination.”
I keep thinking that I should be done by now, but I am not apparently. you don’t have one good cry and are done with it. it keeps rising. it keeps demanding to be felt. it will not be denied the full spectrum of it’s grief. there is always another layer another color another texture. a new dimension.
I find as I am willing to bear each wave and let it wash thru me, to actually invite it in, and as I keep holding my own hand saying “we are going to be o.k. I have you. I will not leave you. you can trust me.“
someone said, “the wound is where the light enters you.”
and I am full of light. I am breaking through.