i saw my oncologist on wednesday. as always, i approach these appointments with terror, which makes me feel pretty bad, because i really like my oncologist. it’s a strange relationship you end up having with medical professionals; they know you intimately and you share things with them that no one else knows. they know your body better than you do. they are almost like lovers, as strange as that sounds.
it is strange that my relationship with my oncologist (who is, specifically, my medical oncologist – my radiation oncologist is yet another doctor in my broad church of medical professionals) is hedged with terror. how is it that someone i like so much scares me? he smiled at me once in the low-intensity way he does, and said ‘i’m really not scary, elizabeth.’ He isn’t scary, not at all. but the information he has to deliver to me? it is harsh. despite the consistent good news for months now, it is still always at the back of my mind that this time, it will not be good news.
it was, still, good news this time. tumours are still shrinking. cea markers still dropping. liver function still normal, and lung tumours still not visible on a CT scan. the PET scan will show, more accurately, if there are traces of cancer in my lungs still, but my oncologist seems positive that there may not be. how stunning would that be? that brings us closer to the possibility of a cure. the highly unlikely one. i walked in terrified with my colorectal nurse beside me, looking baffled when i described me terror. ‘it’s fine, elizabeth. everything’s going really, really well…’
i have responded unusually, according to my at home care nurse. she said she’s not actually nursed someone who has responded so well to chemotherapy – with the side effects dropping off so drastically, and my health improving so much. i find it hard to reconcile chemo as a toxic terrible thing, because for me, it was a revelation. i didn’t realise how sick i had been and for how long. i had been sick for years. i had felt terrible for years. and then i felt better. it was a remarkable thing.
at the moment, i am trying to write. when i was manic, i wrote and wrote and wrote. i started about five different pieces of writing, and everything cascaded, beautifully. now, i’m left with these half finished documents, and convinced that the capacity to make these sentences only lies within the bounds of mania. that’s probably not true. in fact, it’s almost definitely not true. writing while manic does not take discipline, because it is a release. it is hard not to write. writing now, while my mind moves at a normal pace, and the words slowly get plucked out? this is hard. with a shattered memory, and the blurring around the edges caused by the chemo brain damage, i find myself at a loss. is this thing any good? why am i doing this? what is the goddamn point? what will survive of me? it is hot. i could just watch shit on iView and forget about this laughable attempt to write something, to publish somewhere, to do something with my words.
blogging isn’t like that for me, because i’ve just done it for so long it’s automatic. my whole life can be tracked back through forgotten and terrible blogs – the ones i’ve pulled out, the ones that were deleted (OH BLESS YOU OPEN DIARY) the ones that still there, sluggish and unwatched and deserted. i had an ex once tell me that he thought i had potential, as a person, until he read my blog, and he realised that it was more than potential and i was what he had hoped i would be. in retrospect, that is sort of a terrible thing to tell someone. he told me a lot of terrible things, though, so in the scheme of the relationship, that was possibly flattering. elizabeth: making dubious life choices.
it is too hot. everything is sluggish. i drank too much coffee, and yet not enough coffee. i am sweating too much for my Worf cross stitch, and too hot to handle fleece or yarn. give it a few more hours, and i will think clearly again, and i can look at the words again and see, more objectively, if i am saying anything decent. i think the only answer is to sit on the balcony, watch the rain, and read. right now, i’m moving between ‘Riders in the Chariot’ and a stack of lit journals i bought on impulse. they are pouring in, and i am sheepish.