Monday, January 30, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0067 - Memories

I walked through the doors of the GRRCC this morning for my first appointment of the day. Six appointments! A blood draw in the chemo suite. An introductory education session on cancer related fatigue. A consultation with a medical oncologist. Another appointment in the chemo suite to replace the weekly supply of 5-FU in my “baby bottle”. My 16th radiation treatment. A consultation with my new radiation oncologist and his supportive care coordinator.

But what made the difference today was having my Windows Mobile Device (a Toshiba e830) with me and access to the Internet. I could download email, check out my appointments on My CARE Source, browse AvantGo news articles, read Stephen King’s ebook On Writing: Memoirs of a Craft, check out NBA scores and stories…in other words, remained occupied while waiting for appointments.

My blood counts are good. The medical oncologist says I’m doing far better than average in responding to the chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The radiation oncologist confirmed that my side effects are par for the course and that I am managing them appropriately.

That’s the good news. What’s not so good is that it my sore anus will stay this way for the duration of the radiation treatment. Six months from now, I might even notice loss of sphincter muscle control resulting from the radiation I have received. That news stinks!

Still, in just 17 days, the PICC nurse will take out the line and bandage up the hole in my arm. I’ll be able to have showers again, lift weights without restrictions, and not be carrying that nuisance bottle with me everywhere I go. I might even be able to sleep on the right side of my body again!

Not everything will be normal again. That would be too much to ask. I’ll still have this pain in my ass. And I’ll still have surgery to anticipate six weeks later. But the side-effects of preoperative treatment will gradually dissipate and I’ll begin participation in the Tools for the Healing Journey program. I’ll have important projects at work to occupy my days and my family and my writing to occupy my evenings.

One of those writing projects will be the beginning of my memoirs, something that has always seemed pretentious to me until now. Now, because of the incentive of writing this blog and because of the reading I’ve been doing about writing in general, I feel ready to write about myself, my experiences, my memories, and maybe even my ideas and beliefs. I started this weekend with my very first memories as a young child. Because of the Internet resources available to me, I can use those memories as vantage points to think about and write about the context for my memories.

Here’s one quick example. My oldest memory is of crawling into bed with my Mom and Dad and watching TV on our family’s very first black-and-white television. That memory led me to investigate CKVR-TV, channel 3 and the beginnings of television broadcasting in Barrie, Ontario in 1955. To have done this kind of research before the advent of the Internet would have entailed too much work for a lazy guy like me. Now, it takes just a little effort and a modest sense of curiosity. Besides, it’s fun!

I still haven’t decided how to publish my memoirs. Maybe I won’t even bother. But there are some possibilities worth considering, one of which is an Internet site dedicated to helping individuals collect and write their memories – The Remembering Site. Another is simply to use my blog. The trouble with that is that doing so would violate the nature of my blog site. Autobiographical entries would necessarily involve using names of family members and other people central to my story. I don’t know. It’s something I’ll have to consider carefully. But for now, I can just get to it and worry about publishing later on.


Katherine said...

I am thrilled that you are going to write your memoirs. I enjoy your blog so much and get a big smile when Bloglines shows me a new post is ready. I love reading biographies, memoirs, and watching movies based on true stories. I have learned a few things in my short but eventful thirty years. The one thing that stands out though is that we all have stories, each is significant, and each must be shared.

So here's to the journey of remembering, of writing, and of sharing your life story!


bill said...

Whether you publish or not is really a non-issue. Consider what you will leave your children. Many of us wish our parents/grandparents had taken the time to write down their life stories. The very fact that you have children is leaving a lot more than you could ever write about. Publishing would be gravy.

Don Spencer said...

katherine and bill,

Again, thanks for taking the time to write your comments. Bill, I think a non-public blog may be the simplest route for me. Thus far, I have 3 entries in another blogspot blog where I am collecting my memoirs and making them available to family members and friends who express an interest. This should help me preserve a modicum of privacy while allowing others ready access. It will also help me to collect comments about historical inaccuracies and solicit photographs from family.