Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17th, 2009: As Tolstoy claimed for all unhappy families, I would add that all chemo sessions are not alike. After my third round, I left the hospital with a bounce of joy and energy. That trajectory hit an invisible wall two days later on Wednesday evening when my body said, “I am sick!!” And proceeded to prove it in many of the well-known ways; specifically, enough nausea so that I could not retain anti-nausea meds, food or water for almost two days. Toward the end of this saga, I finally got it—again—that I was not going to magically get better. Friday, I stopped at work and then the gym for a soak in the steam room to release toxins. At the gym I stepped onto the scales and bottomed out at 134 pounds, which was ten pounds less than my previous low ebb. Somehow, I had lost a LOT of weight since being so full of water in the hospital.

From the gym, I went straight to the infusion center and basically presented myself as a drop-in emergency case. They stepped right up and served me. A quick call to Dr. Jahan resulted in an order for three days of hydration starting now. Within 20 minutes, I went from the admitting lounge to a bed with glistening bags of fluids, two big ones of which went directly into me over the next three hours. It really turned things around. I was also given IV anti-nausea meds, and by the time I left the clinic, I was able to come home and put some of my homemade chicken soup with wild rice and barley onto my famished stomach.

Today, same routine: nausea in the morning that makes breakfast unthinkable, and then off to clinic which settles me. I come home three hours later and am ready for food. Same thing tomorrow, I guess, since I have not been able to keep dinner down tonight. I am so grateful for the hydration clinic, because my first inclination is to stay at home and wait for my body to heal. But my body has so many complex and contradictory things going on at once, that physical healing and my mind's standards get into oppostion. If I were to stay at home, I literally could not keep even water down for who knows how many days and that is seriously depleting, cf. weight loss by mid-Friday. At this point, I need to get my mind and body out of each others' way. I need help, and the clinic helps my by infusing fluids directly into vein, bypassing all the usual mouth, throat, stomach route.

Daily, these circumventions are working. But as I said, they start out as being counterintuitive since I’ve quenched my thirst for the past six decades by drinking my fill of water. Within a day or two, the old routine will work again. Another lesson for me from having cancer: be joyful in the simple grace of drinking a soothing glass of water that flows into a receptive body. Yes.

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