Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday, April 15

It has been a month since I last posted on my blog.  It saddens me to think I have let so much time pass.  I had been working so hard for so long to get caught up to real time, and once again, I was there.  I was all caught up.  And then I stopped.  I stopped drawing, I stopped writing.  In the past, even when I wasn't posting, I was still writing almost every day, putting things down in a journal to be re written at the appropriate time.  This time, I stopped doing everything.

I am not sure why this happened, this sudden break in time. You would think after writing almost every day for eight months, this well established pattern in my life I would not easily be let go of.  Somehow, it wasn't that hard.

When I began the second round of chemo treatments in March, I went into it feeling very different than I had the with the first round.  Back in July, I was weak and not feeling very well.  Going through the chemo was something I needed to do in order to get back on a path of wellness, of living.  If I didn't do it then, there was not going to be time for it later.  I probably would not have survived much longer, since my liver was in bad shape, and there were signs that the cancer from my colon was trying to spread to other organs in my body.

I did what I needed to do, because I didn't want this to be the end of my timeline, the end of being with family and friends, the end date of my existence.  We might not always get a chance to have a say in when and how we go in this life, but given the possibility of a choice here, I decided to go with my most survivable option, chemo, and make the best of it.  I waltzed through the months in a chemo haze, observing the changes in my body and mind as best I could, trying to understand how this happened and how I was going to get though all of this.  Writing it all down was proof that I was living, proof of my existence.

In January, when my colon was repaired, I still focused on healing.  I was glad to be internally reconnected once again, but the healing part seemed to drag on. The timeline may have been similar to when I first had the ostomy operation, but it seemed longer.  Now, it was cold outside, the days were shorter, and the side effects I had been experiencing from my first round of chemo intensified.  I knew this would happen going into the operation, but to have to live with the effects day to day, was harder than I expected.  It is not that it is really difficult to have to give up typing, or no longer having a choice about wearing mittens or slippers, but the amount of mental energy it takes to accept change is surprisingly large.  Even when you feel like you are breezing through things, there is a quiet voice inside you criticizing you, saying you are not doing as well as you think, or making you feel bad for not doing better, or being a baby or a wimp or any number of other things. 

Instead of succumbing to that weight threatening to pull me down, I decided to take things in a different direction.  Rather than struggling with numb fingers and trying to write all of those thoughts down, I would try to illustrate them.  The drawing was meditative, and the energy needed to focus on what I was doing left little for the self criticism tring to echo in my brain.  Because my art skills are not in drawing, and my hand was numb from the chemo, it took an awesome amount of focus and will to draw and then write out the dialog.

By the end of six weeks, at the beginning of March, the incision from my ostomy reversal was healed enough to start the next round of chemo.  This was very hard for me, because by this time, I was feeling very well.  Sure, I had a big scar across my belly that still felt pinchy at times, but my head was in a good place, and for the most part, my body felt pretty good too. Certainly, chemo was going to upset this balance.

When I visited Dr. Safran, we talked about my reservations.  I was not sure why I needed to do this round of chemo.  It was explained, and I understand why, but I was still nervous about it.  The side effects sounded much worse than my last batch, and I was full of worry.  After the first treatment went fine, I was nervous about getting more.  I had no problem talking about this to my nurse Faye, Meagan, or Dr. Safran.  They very patently have worked to allay my fears,  explaining every seemingly rational and irrational thing that pops into my head.  The bottom line is that this round will assure us that all the work we did in combating the cancer cells in the last round sticks.  Most likely, I will be okay, and most of the side effects I have read about will probably not be a problem for me.  I will probably feel nauseous, and I might get diarrhea.  My hands and feet should be back to feeling normal by the summer.  As I write all of this, it seems so simple, so easy.  But somehow in my head, it is not.  Maybe, writing all of this down is what has missing for me here.  Could it be that the one thing that has been helping me get through all of this has been writing, and by not doing this for the last month has made me feel worse? It is like a magical incantation I whisper to the universe, and once the words are released, it makes things go better.  Already, life seems better.


  1. I understand the ebb and flow with the writing, and I think you're very brave to turn back to writing, if even for a post here and there, now and then. Writing takes a lot of emotional energy (like any creative effort), and right now that energy is at a premium for you. Remember to be as kind and good to yourself as you are to others. It's great if you can write, and it's okay if you can't, too.

  2. We love you Kathy! As Brett says, be kind to yourself!

  3. YES!! Writing does unlock some strange key in our inner dialogue. This week, Clover has had hand foot and mouth virus and I wasn't able to blog. I feel OFF. Keep whispering to your supporters here - whether it be through writing, drawing or creating. The universe is listening. We are listening. We love you. XO

  4. We are listening! You matter, your words matter and we love you! You have worked so hard to heal.. I can not tell you enough how much you matter to our family.. Your writing , it has been a gift to us, I hope it remains a place to heal for you.

  5. Please go easy on yourself, Kathy. You have been through so much and have still managed to give so much to all of us. You are a star!

  6. Kathy, by writing again, and doing it, you have chosen life. For all of us who admire and love you, we are thankful. With courage and grace under pressure, you have won this round. Eyes on the prize, girl!

  7. I understand the preoccupation with having numb and cold fingers. I have an essential tremor in both hands, the left being worse. Like you, everything I do using my hands I need to focus on. If not, I drop things. It's very hard for me to write, eat and drink, and it gets to me sometimes. But then I think, there are people with more serious conditions who are remarkable. You are one of them Kathy. Keep writing whenever you feel like it. As Michelle said, "Your writing is a gift to us."