Friday, February 11, 2005

The Landscape

When I first found out I had Hodgkins, I felt weird saying I was sick because of course, I wasn't in the sense of 'I feel sick.' I couldn't imagine really what it would be like. Everything I read said that compared to most cancers, Hodgkins is a breeze (which it is.)

All that said, at a certain point when I've had, say, the flu, there comes a time where I have no real vivid memory of what it felt like to be well. On day two of the stomach flu, in the search of not being nauseated, the ideal physical state seems to be 'able to sleep' and the whole concept of 'able to drive a car' is abstract.

I've been in this long enough that discomfort has become steady state. Mostly very mild discomfort. But I am in the land of the sick. I pass for well some of the time, saving energy points like those Top Value Stamps my mother used to collect at the grocery and gas station and turn in at the Top Value store for things like a lamp for the kitchen. But my landscape has shrunk. It is all very familiar now, and so harder to report back because it is harder to recognize what would be interesting to people other than Heather and Sarah. I was getting my treatment yesterday, realizing as they hung the fourth bag, that I get something like two litres of fluid during a chemo treatment. Yesterday I made the mistake of bring a litre of seltzer to drink. Hooked up to an IV for four hours, this can be a strategic error, although the IVs are on wheels and when I got desperate enough, I went for a walk with my bags hanging off my arm and hit the bathroom.

I'm still looking for interesting stuff to report back. My blog is my protection, and I still look for those moments where it turns me into an outsider.


Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

We talked about this at the time -- you about being "sick" (I didn't feel sick either) and I about being a "cancer survivor." Anyone who lives a day beyond their diagnosis is a cancer "survivor," even if she's dying. (You told me about the website where they explain all this.) Kind of like being called a combat veteran while the bullets are still whizzing over your head -- or in my case, while you are being transported toward the battle zone.

Now you are indisputably sick, poor thing, while I still think of myself as hopeful applicant for Future Cancer Survivor. Maybe we'll get our pins on the same day.

February 11, 2005 12:23 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Not specifically relevant to this entry, but I was just wondering if you had ever seen this blog:

February 11, 2005 4:03 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Ted, thanks. I read the whole thing. I've been wondering why anyone would chose oncology and it's great to see a little on that.

February 11, 2005 4:54 PM  
Blogger Christopher Davis said...

Your trading stamps analogy reminds me of the spoons theory. In her case, it's lupus, but any condition that saps your energy without necessarily being "obvious" could substitute for it: depression, Hodgkin's, you name it.

February 12, 2005 1:37 PM  
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