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One of the most common experiences during chemo is a loss of appetite and nausea. Food tasting off or with a metal aftertaste. Difficulty keeping weight on. This has wonderfully, not been my experience. I am flourishing like Jabba the Hut with my bald head and insatiable appetite. My physique modeling itself after Lord Varys, the eunuch on Game of Thrones.

Hot. So hot.

Early on in my treatment, I had a reiki session, which was utterly quenching, as my body was screaming “what the actual hell are you doing to me? Again!?”It was also unsettling to feel my energy, my interior landscape, so far off-center. After my session, I was talking with my friend and he remarked how hard he could feel that my body was working. The image that came to his mind was of a group of men endlessly shoveling coal into the furnace on a steam ship and this huge steel mass cutting through rough roiling waters. We now refer to my eating, as “time to feed the Coal Men”.

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I rarely feel hungry, it is more this need to eat. My body needs fuel and the furnace can never be sated. I graze through the day. Mostly healthy, sometimes not. Protein smoothies, green juice, roasted chicken, watermelon, hummas and veges. A fine burger, vegetable sushi and seaweed salad, Annies Mac n’cheese, (comfort food) Indian food, sometimes pizza. All of the things, do I eat.

On the super challenging days, there is a hang-over quality to my gut, that craves grease. French fries do the trick beautifully. French fries are their own food group in my world under any circumstances. Since my metabolism is sluggish (ironic understatement) from the chemo, and I have ceased the two hours of exercise I have done for years, 6 days a week, I have gained 10 solid pounds. Not my favorite, but my body needs to be fed and for me to be gentle. I walk every morning and every night, even on the bad days. Not power walks or hikes, but a flowing deep breathing, walking meditation. Moving the molten liquid through my veins, my lungs, allowing it to infiltrate thoroughly and clear a new clean path.

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No dance, no yoga, no gym time. Not that I physically can’t, but it feels wrong in my body. I am learning to listen, instead of powering through. Surprisingly, it is not hard to not do. I am excelling at it. I am golden in the Not Doing arena. I am motivated to seek Pro Status in Not Doing. Until it is time to Do again.

Loving people in my community bring me food three days a week. It is an absolute blessing. I sit on my porch, looking out over the bow of the ship as it cuts through the waves, the choppy seas, breathing deeply despite the weight in my chest. Feet planted under me, knees soft as I roll with the movement. I rock with the ship and I feed the Coal Men who work so diligently. This is my job, and it has my full undivided attention.

I salute the Coal Men and my generous community. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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