Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Enemy Within

I was reading Sarah's Babeland blog (she has Hodgkins as well.) She mentions finding lumps. Which got me thinking about how Hodgkins has turned my body into a vaguely alien landscape. Or at least a landscape invaded by aliens.

When I was diagnosed I had a cluster of lumps nestled in the base of my neck, just above my collar bone. Like a cluster of grapes. I would feel it and think, 'This is cancer.' It was me/not me. It was the enemy within. The alien. It was lethal. The anti-pregnancy.

I wanted Bob to feel it, but I was also afraid that if he did, I would become contaminated in his eyes and that he wouldn't want to touch me. But irrationally, I made him do so. (And he has never, ever made me feel contaminated. For awhile he treated me as if I was a little fragile, but he has hugged and smooched like always. Bob clearly believes you should hug early and often.) I don't know why it was so important to me that someone other than the doctors, that Bob know what it felt like, but it was.

I check on them sometimes. I'll go a few days, maybe a week, and then I'll check so often that I get sore. Some people's lumps are gone after treatment 2, but mine are still there after treatment 3. The doctor asked me, 'Are they smaller?' and I answered him honestly that I didn't know. I think so. But I'm not sure how much is wishful thinking. And then there's scarring from both the chemo and the biopsy.

Sometimes, a couple of days after chemo, they hurt. This is a good sign, the doctor tells me. They are dying, I think, fused and melted like the skin of a burn victim. The 94% cure rate for Hodgkins helps. I can go days without thinking about them. But it is very strange.


Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Bob is a good guy. I knew that from the first time I met him, and everytime I see him, and when you tell stories like this, it's just confirmed more and more. Lots of love, sweetie,

January 09, 2005 11:18 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Go, Bob. Sounds like he's just the traveling companion you need on this journey.

An old friend who had cancer some years ago used to refer to her tumor as "the hitchhiker." I will note that twenty years later she's still around to reminisce...

January 10, 2005 12:17 AM  

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