Friday, November 28, 2008

November 24th, 2008: I’ve saved a cup of hair, and I’m planning a ritual at the time of the New Moon, this Thanksgiving morning. I’ll write text about releasing my hair back into the world. This is an offering I make with sacrifice and gratitude. I give up my body hair. I become less protected and more vulnerable. In a curious way, I step outside of adulthood. I do this willingly. Then, I’ll crinkle the paper and put it into a bowl. I’ll sprinkle the hair over the paper, go up onto my rooftop and light the paper. Paper burns, hair burns. Fire sends the solid elements into the air. The remaining ash, I’ll take downstairs and run water through the bowl, down the drain. All four elements will take part in this ritual.

Today, I have perhaps half of my hair left. You can see through to my scalp. With a humorous clairvoyance, my friend John Andrews stopped by for a visit. “Do you need anything?” he asked before arriving. I couldn’t think of anything, so I said, “Just bring you.” Instead, John brought a major collection of hats: a three-cornered pirate hat, a one-of-a-kind purple velvet with leopard trim hat, a Santa Claus hat, a knitted winter hat, and—my immediate favorite—a Mongolian felt hat with embroidery. I immediately bonded with the felt hat and plan to wear it daily: to work, on the cross-town bus, shopping, etc. I'd guess that by Thanksgiving night, I'll be bald, except for maybe a few eyebrow hairs.

I woke up this morning looking forward to going back into the hospital. That didn’t seem at all strange to me. My body is ready for more treatments. The first round of chemo, nausea notwithstanding, has been so helpful, that I want to keep going forward. And forward for me, right now, means more chemo, more hospitalizations. This rhythm of five days on a ward getting infusions then three weeks out the world where I can absorb the drugs, five days, three weeks, etc. seems to work for me. What I have been cautioned about from the medical side as well as from people who have traversed chemo is that there is a cumulative fatigue from the treatments. Well, OK, I can deal with fatigue. Today I took two naps so I guess I am ramping up for exhaustion. Underneath all of this tiredness, yearning for the hospital, belief in the healing powers of chemo is a sense that this is my way through the maze of healing. This is how I will get better. There’s a definite giving in to forces that are powerful and at times overwhelming, but my strengths are pliancy and endurance.

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