Monday, August 28, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0279 - Chemo Crapola

A rollercoaster? You bet. Last week's good news and happy thoughts disappeared this weekend with the renewal of side effects from my 5th chemotherapy cycle.

All Saturday was spent either in bed or on the couch/recliner. The fatigue was such that I felt like I really wasn't part of the family at all, merely somebody taking up space. All the while I was thinking about how good it would be to be in Barrie with my brothers and sister celebrating my Dad's 75th birthday. But that would have been an unmitigated disaster for me.

Sunday was worse. Not just the fatigue, but the onset of painful and extremely frequent bowel movements which left me barely able to walk from the bed to the throne and back again. To say that chemo is a pain in the ass is an understatement!

Today, Monday morning, things are a little bit better. I can actually sit on the couch, connect remotely to the servers at work, read/write email, and do some planning and work on various tasks that an IT manager has to do regularly. This is where I truly appreciate the miracle of modern technology. I can reboot a server, check our off-site anti-spam email software service to relieve individual users of checking their uncertain spam messages (almost all of them are real spam and bulk messages), review printer problems, and otherwise pretend that I am on-site at work.

The CCAC nurse also came by this morning to change the dressing for my PICC line and to flush the line. I made sure she understood just how crappy (literally) my weekend was and commisserated with her about the uncertainties of chemotherapy. As I near the end of my treatment, the benefits of chemo seem distant while the side effects seem quite immediate and omnipresent.

But, by Christmas, this will be a vague memory. Even by November, when my colleagues and I go to Las Vegas for a user group meeting, I should be feeling reasonably good. My wife has made the point that I should not take gradually improving health as a license to get involved in any volunteer work. I should, she says, stick to work and my health until such time as I have secured a higher standard of fitness.

She's right, of course. This too shall pass (I really don't like that metaphor these days!).


Anonymous said...

I love your sence of humor. Humor is good!

gentleascent said...

Hi Don

Humour, hope and perspective, three qualities that are a part of your blog today. Whether they are spontaneous or are the result of deep contemplation, they can only arrive if they reside within you. Thankfully, there "in the house". (Picture host saying, "Give it up for (input rapper's name) is in the house)

Hang in there my friend.

Don Spencer said...

As I said to one of my business colleagues today when she asked about my weekend, "If there are only 9 more days [3 sessions with 3 days each of feeling sick] left to chemotherapy, that's not too much, especially given everything I endured post-operatively."

Humor? I have some, but it often escapes me. Perspective...that too is something that comes my way occasionally. One thing I've discovered as a kind of life lesson is that context determines meaning. And as a good postmodern poststructuralist, I realize that life presents us with contexts within contexts within contexts. Contexts are endless and sliding. The good news about that is that you can always rest assured that new meanings are available and that the last word is never the last word on any subject at all.

Sometimes the context that comforts me is simply the context of 365 days in a year. Sometimes it more esoteric. My life is but a small microcosm of a far greater macrocosm of suffering and wellness. But to tell the truth, most days, the context which helps me the most is simply the realization that I have a wonderful family and good friends, acquaintances who care, and a hope that what I am going through is merely a short test of character. The latter doesn't mean I think there is a god who is testing me; it just means that I choose to believe there is an opportunity to use my experiences as a testing ground.

Anyways, thanks to anonymous and my good friend gentleascent. Gentleascent...thank you for your private email. Feel free to call anytime or suggest we go out for a coffee (or something stronger!) and discuss all that is happening in your life.