Rejoice! My counts were decent enough yesterday to send me on my way to my twelfth chemo infusion- which, in my continual count-down, leaves six to go. Six resonates in my body as a good even number, and somehow I’m not daunted by it. I’ve done twice that many so far, which means that I only have one third of my treatment left. Math genius, I am not, but I can certainly appreciate the power of a good old fashioned count down!
My phenomenally beautiful friend Lena attended my full Friday of cancer treatment yesterday to give sweet Reen a much needed respite. It was a treat to have another day with Lena, and also to have the gift of seeing my regimen through her eyes- a perspective filtered out of love and openness. Even in the long periods between having my port accessed, waiting for my dearly adorable yet perpetually late oncologist, and then awaiting a chair in the infusion unit, Lena was radiant, upbeat, and on the task of advocating for anything I may need. After our nearly seven hours at the clinic, Lena zipped me home and we were greeted by a cozy, candlelit home with pizza and salad on the table, Reen and Marcos standing by, and a lemony delicious cake with fruit chaser to complete the meal. Who could complain about that? I went to bed as pleased as a girl could be, and had a night of deep and delightful sleep.
Today, after using moxa and sage on my fingers, hands, toes and feet, I’m trying not to obsess about my darkening nails. The pain of neuropathy hasn’t been as bad after taking the two week break from chemo, but I have one nail on the verge of falling off, and every day brings a new hue to each nail (fingers and toes). My task today is to research cryotherapy- a suggestion from one of the infusion nurses- and to send positive energy to each digit, despite my urge to cringe at the appearance of yellow, brown, green, and red on my nails. There must be something to learn from this…
Living this experience has taught me to be humble, but also that I have a deep potential for anger. I have found my patience in everyday life to be short and temporary, and I am continually having to remind myself that it would not be appropriate to scream, spin around, and fall to the floor in a fit when I feel overwhelmed by the world. And the world is so overwhelming these days. I’m not just talking about the people that drive through crosswalks when there are pedestrians or the folks who avoid looking me in the eyes when talking to me, but also the perpetual violence happening on a personal, community, and world level every day. My little case of breast cancer seems so minor when I consider people living in or near a war zone or the people in my very community who have no access to safe homes, clean clothes, or a daily meal, let alone health care. So what if I’m boobless, bald, and that my nails are falling off? I’m sitting in a lovely little condo with a cup of tea and heat, and, as Lena reminded me yesterday, I am rich beyond words when taken in the context of the world. I am lucky. And the anger and outrage that I hold are awaiting a path of action.