Keeping that Brave Face

I got carried off that plane in a stretcher (eventually).

I remember trying to ignore the stares and whispers as I was trundled through the airport. It wasn’t embarrassing per se…it just felt so intrusive, they were commenting on my tragedy on my life (I like my privacy).

We had to rush through the airport, my sister was due back on the same plane that had brought us here (she just needed to accompany me on the flight…thankfully she came out to at least see my mom and dad who were waiting for me with the ambulance).

As soon as I saw my mom, I realized I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t tell her I was afraid, that my world was falling apart, her eyes were already red as if she was holding back her own tears.

I was loaded up into the ambulance and whisked away to Aysha Memorial Hospital…my mom sitting silently next to me (though I could hear her trying not to wail).

That’s where my brave face came on…and I don’t think I have ever taken it off (I tried once, it did not go well…)

So I started to talk, I told my mom that things will be alright, and that it was nice that she got to talk to my sister, and just this and that, despite being so tired from stress and just general traveling (I am a terrible flier in the best of cases).

I dozed off, and the next time I was conscious, I was being hauled up a rickety elevator to the emergency ward of Aysha Memorial…

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Disaster Strikes!

Previously on my origin story…my feet were becoming number and number, and I wasn’t paying attention.

Until I had to. I realized that I was becoming afraid to take a step, that I would lean against he wall so that I could hold myself upright. I instinctively knew that if I fell, I would have a problem getting up.

I actually fell once, but I brushed it off as stepping on the stairs wrongly and becoming unbalanced.

I knew that I had to see the doctor, but I just had another two weeks of the semester to deal with (I was teaching at the time) so I thought I could suck it up and just make it through.

That was my mistake, as,you body finally gave out on me.

What happened was that as I took the first step down the five flights I was to take from my apartment to the ground floor, my legs had become so numb that it could no longer support me. My legs buckled from underneath me, and I fell down a flight of stairs.

It was then that I realized I could not pick myself up, my legs weren’t responding…

Diet, Exercise, and Showering…

So I am back from the third round of my ICE therapy for this annoyingly “low-grade” T-Cell lymphoma.

(if it’s so low grade, why the hell is my chemo kicking my ass?)

The thing about chemo is that you shouldn’t let it throw you off of your regular activities – namely, eating, moving, and taking a shower once in a while.

Chemo drugs are essentially poison, ’cause, let’s face it, the whole point of chemo is to try and poison all the crap cells (which are still YOUR cells) before the healthy stuff gets taken in as well (this is obviously simplifying the shit out of the whole process).

Food is the big thing you have to take care of, not only eating things you like (thanks to chemo my mouth only likes things that are slightly sweet, but that causes problems ’cause desserts still don’t carry enough nutrition in them to sustain the body through the recovery.) With healthy enough food (here healthy means it has to be nutritious, I don’t care if you do it via biryani or via broccoli, when you are recovering from chemo, almost everything is fair game to be consumed).

The other thing is, you gotta keep moving. Chemo has you feeling like crap and too tired to do anything else either, so you gotta force yourself out of bed, just walk to the living room, take in some sunlight from a different window, the body needs the movement.

Then there is showering, yeah, don’t forget to shower, you might not realize it, but your body is most likely exuding the smell of medicines as your body is filtering that shit out.

Medicines don’t smell good, believe me, they smell like you are one step away from mummification.

So yeah, that’s my quick and quiet advice on how to deal with shitty chemotherapy, ’cause I didn’t follow any of this advice and had to spend an extra week at the crappy hospital (my hospital is legit crap, but what can you do?).

Til later folks!

Preparation by Proxy (Part 2)

Sorry for the delay between posts folks, whenever I have good days I kind of just enjoy myself, but now that I have a couple of days before I do my next round of chemo, it’s time to get some posts up, I know you all have been dying to read more of my thoughts.

So I previously talked about how my aunt had cancer and how she dealt with it basically prepared me for this pain in the ass problem (the nerve damage though was a bonus that I didn’t account for).

So my aunt was kind of a grump with the cancer (in retrospect, I feel like I was overly harsh towards her, though to be fair, I am considerably less grumpy than she is…but mainly because of how she was).

My aunt’s cancer was terrible, and it wore her down physically, and she was a person who always needed to work, so being weak and shackled with tiredness and all this pain in the ass stuff that comes with being a cancer patient must have been beyond torturous for her (I realize that now, back then, her constant complaining got a bit wearying after a while).

So when I finally got my diagnosis of cancer (it was a long and arduous diagnosis, will tell you about it one day), I strengthened my resolve…’cause no one needs to hear my whine and complain as I go through chemo. Instead I decided to face this problem like I faced a lot of things, with sheer “fuck-you-let’s-grin-and-bear-it” attitude.

It’s difficult and I can totally see not everyone able to do it. But if you can, go for it…it makes for talking so much easier. When you are the goofy one and laughing and showing things aren’t as bad as they seem (in fact it was terrible, I was stressed out all the time, but having people laughing at my general weirdness really helped…rather than them being worried all the time) your brain sometimes just goes with the flow and makes you think that it isn’t that bad either.

So yeah, I wanted to approach my cancer (and related troubles) in exactly the opposite way my aunt did…it’s why I do it head on and smiling all the time.

(I kind of wish I hadn’t run out of money though, but being unemployed for three years does that to you…)

Even now, gotta keep smiling, being goofy, and don’t let it get you down. That’s my advice.

Though if you need to cry, go for it too, crying feels good (but don’t cry all the time, you are going to get dehydrated).

A Return to a Hated Status

It’s my first day back.

I was in the hospital for the past week, a combination of a 105f (about 40.5C) and virtually no immune system sent panic through the doctors and the parents as they tried to settle it all down.

It was a terrifying experience because the temperature had left my brain garbled, which normally would mean light-headedness and maybe some weakness, but all of that also meant for me is that my brain wasn’t able to give the right signals to my feet. Considering the massive amount of nerve damage from the beginning of the ordeal, not being able to walk again was distressing me more than I would like to admit.

I was found on the floor, collapsed ’cause my bedroom chair slipped and couldn’t hold me as I flailed to grab it before I hit the tiled floor. I was out of my mind confused trying to figure out where to put my legs and hands to try and at least crawl back to the bed and surrender to the confusion, like a drunken newly born deer.

I am back home now, the hospital was reluctant in letting me go, but I needed to come back home, to recharge the right way (the hospital is…fucking incompetent really, I can’t wait for robots to be in charge of my health), and to try and regain the strength that I had managed to achieve until now.

But until then, I find myself reluctantly grasping at the black rubber grip of my four-point cane, a stable anchor – and hated reminder that I seem to have gone backwards in my progress towards normalcy.