Sunday, April 26, 2009
I've thought about people who die suddenly, accidentally. How they too might have tumors, blood clots, unknown diseases waiting to make them ill and slowly drag them to there end, but they go quickly without ever knowing, living life the same way up to that moment...
The moments when my mind isn't occupied by cancer and all the complications it has brought to my life are fewer and farther between. Those moments are isolated like islands... or fragmented landscapes surrounded by the hubris of human development. Yet, I've never once had a dream about cancer. I've never played out in my sleep the limited possibilities, the best or worse that could happen or is happening. I don't dream about anything like that. Its as if its just too big a thing for my mind to even bother with. Maybe that is what makes mortality so frightening.
Tomorrow I'm back in the hospital- another 4 days of chemo. Hopefully I won't have to return five days later like last time with neutropenia and an infection. My blood count gets so low that, besides no immune system, the need for a transfusion is a serious possibility.
Last week I went to Stanford to have a tunneled catheter put in my chest. Its to facilitate the stem cell transplant process and all the extra chemo Ill get. Its a hole in my chest with plastic tubes hanging out. It replaces the now seemingly discreet subcutaneous port-catheter I had before, like a push button under the skin. This thing is high maintenance and hates to be ignored. It screams out the freak show side of illness. There is no turning back, I really am at this point. Its not a dream. I don't dream about cancer.
In the hospital everything is monotone: sounds, colors, all muted and drab. It's like they are removing you from the vibrance and excitement of living, just in case. I mean if death does come while your there it might not seem so different. Gray, dull, boring, nausea isn't as far removed from the end as springtime, blue skies, neon colored flowers and sticky green leaves. Or at least that's the way the world seems when you leave the hospital after too many days of chemo. I cried too see the sunshine and new leaves and the wind on my face and the smells of springtime! Unfortunately the last chemo left me a little less able to hear the sounds of living. One of the chemicals contained a toxic dose of platinum, enough to permanently damage the hearing in some patients... like me. I will ignore statistics, I will not be a statistic...
So at the end of May I start getting the high dose treatments that will destroy my marrow. By june 2nd I should be admitted to Stanford for a month. On June 8th Ill receive my stem cell transplant because my blood will be dead. They call it "day 0". Zero? I'm not sure I want too many of those kind of days.
As always i continue to live and take pictures: flickr photos