Friday, December 16, 2005

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0022 - Experience of Time

She is really an incredible person. The executive assistant for my surgical oncologist has been very supportive and helpful, responding quickly to all my questions and concerns. Perhaps the most useful asset she brings to the surgeon’s medical practice is the rapport she seems to establish so readily with troublesome patients like me. Although she is attempting to help me deal with my experience of the dragging of time, I'm not sure anyone can affect such a subjective feeling.

I am finding this period between diagnosis and confirmation of the treatment plan and the beginning of chemoradiotherapy hard to handle. The waiting period really is minimal; it just seems to drag. That’s the nature of rectal cancer diagnosis and treatment according to stories I’ve read. It seems like time isn't the classical 4th dimension any more. For some, time blurs. For others, time is like a movie that's paused and then starts up again with no recollection of what went on in the interim. For me, it simply drags when I can't get the information I think I need when I want it.

Work is therapeutic. Everyday activities help. These things distract me and help me deny that anything has least for a few moments.

It feels good to make progress with information technology problems and challenges, to meet with colleagues to review projects and plans, to joke with acquaintances about Christmas shopping and the foibles of leaders in our national election campaign, to play euchre at lunch, to sing with the choir, to drive our sons to school and basketball tournaments, to walk with my wife in the evenings with the crunch of snow beneath our feet, to relax and watch the Toronto Raptors lose a few more games, to munch on chocolates and ju jubes in the shape of Santa Claus…these everyday things truly help...momentarily.

But…my experience of time and my interests have been transformed. Thinking three months down the road towards surgery takes a supreme effort. Subjects that would have elicited my ready attention before have just faded into a muted background. I could care less about politics these days. International affairs - it barely registers on the radar. Even technical issues pertinent to my work have been sidelined. I know this will change. I just don’t know when.

When I can pick up a novel again instead of a book on colorectal cancer in the evening, I’ll know time is returning to normal.

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