Sunday, December 19, 2004

Bored of Illness--and hypervigilence

Okay, I've been doing this illness thing for weeks. First I was pregnant with the secret. Then I was deep in research, learning words like mediastinal. Then I was coming out--which in a sense I still am. And then there were all the physical manifestations of chemo. Now I'm bored.

I am, when it comes right down to it, not so great at follow through. Greg mentions the slog, which is what life is. And yeah, he's right. But damn if it's not boring.

I know someone else who, it turns out, has lymphoma. Not Hodgkins, but still. She talks about how she registers every bodily twinge. And Greg and I have talked about this, too. Illness makes me a serious hypochondriac. Hypervigilence. I know it's a normal reaction to having something come out of nowhere. 'The lump' is a staple of the way your life can turn on a dime, normal one day and completely different the next. And I had 'the lump.' And one minute I was planning the next six months of my life one way and the next minute I was without real sense of where I was going.

So it happened. And now my brain has seized on the fact that it can. Once I found out that the lump above my collarbone was lymphoma, my back and shoulders started aching. And I was worried that meant lung cancer. Of course, what it meant was that I was tense. And since I've had every test known to man, including P.E.T. scans, I know more about my body and health than I have ever known in my life. But my body has become a theater of bad drama. I have a sniffle--oh no, with my white blood count in the basement, does that mean I'll be really really sick? Maybe I shouldn't go Christmas shopping. (There are lots of reasons to avoid Christmas shopping; parking, the relentless commercialization of things, but not my white blood count. The doctor says that last thing I want to do is become a shut in.) Soon I'll be like the med student who sees in themselves every disease that they study.

So I have decided to live an unreflective life. I will pay no attention to aches, pains, whatever. I feel a little tired now but I shall ignore it!

Yeah, right. Okay, I'm not going to my writer's group today because Becky's kids have been exposed to their grandmother's sore throat and yesterday my white blood count was so low they debated doing chemo. And it's snowing. And I'm still feeling a trifle queasy in the presence of food. And I'm easily tired.

Okay, I'm going to snatch up the dachshund (who is always cold, and who is colder now that we have well over a foot of snow--she looks out the sliding glass doors and shivers) and watch bad television. But I'm just doing it for the miniature dachshund.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes. do it. it's fucking scary. death and illness scare the shit out of most of us. I know exactly what you're going through, and you are doing it better than 99% of the people I have known.

You are not going to die now. The chemo is going to make you feel sick, and yes, your hair will fall out. But you will not die now.

blaise

December 20, 2004 4:08 PM  
Blogger Responsible Artist said...

The routine of being sick is a huge burden.

Sending hope for strength that helps you bear it as easily as possible.

December 20, 2004 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In very different circumstances - but when my twins were born preemie, and were very sick for many months, I watched a lot of bad television. Because I was tired all the time and without much ability to reflect or cogitate, I enjoyed it unreservedly.

Later my brain returned and I couldn't watch it anymore. But I was happy for it then.

Alis

December 21, 2004 3:55 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

The routine of being sick hasn't been too bad yet. But Alis, I am watching way too much daytime television. You're right, it's a nice way to just sort of not think.

I got so disgusted though that I went to the library and got a bunch of books.

December 21, 2004 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the twins were 8 or 9 months old before I was able to read an entire book (although I might have read some entertaining and fairly mindless fiction). I even remember the title and author: David Morgan's THE MONGOLS.

December 21, 2004 2:16 PM  
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http://curecoldsores.mega-products.com/cold_sore_pic.html

I have a Cold Sore site/blog. It pretty much covers Cold Sore related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

October 01, 2005 10:57 AM  
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I was looking at your posts about cancer testicular and found a good article about the same cancer testicular info too...

God luck with it : )

October 02, 2005 10:43 AM  
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Searching for tropic of cancer treatment and information I found this post. I totally agree with you and think it takes time!

October 03, 2005 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 04, 2005 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Randy Thomas said...

Hi I don't normally bother with comments but feel a little bored today and am trying to waste a little time. I was just surfing around the net (actually looking for info on New Lung Cancer Treatment) when I came across your blog. Just wanted to let you that I've gone back and read through some of your past posts. They caught my interest and I can relate to a quite a bit of what you say. So keep it up - I guess.

January 27, 2006 1:31 AM  
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