Friday, November 6, 2009

November 6th, 2009:

I've found out in the past couple of days that even people with terminal cancer can get sick. Seems obvious, but I still have a hard time of thinking of myself as sick. I think it's the high quality of life: active cognition; developing complex project plans including a new book; little pain, etc. What happened in the last two days was extreme exhaustion. I could read a book or newspaper for maybe fifteen, twenty minutes and then I would fall back, close my eyes and be off to dreamland for another twenty minutes or half an hour. And this was all I could do.

Alarmed, I also felt pain in the ribs at the bottom of my lower left ribcage. My first thought was that a new tumor had grown from by bone cancer. More alarming, I wondered if I was starting to develop pneumonia. When I blew the whistle, major events happened. First, I was given a course of antibiotics for possible bacterial infection in the lungs. Oxygen was brought into my room because my oxygen to blood conversion had some low numbers. Everyone triaged: Lisa, my primary care physician; Maitri medical staff; Hospice by the Bay. I was monitored every four or five hours. It was all done with concern and attention, but never panic or excessive management.

In the meantime, I cancelled many visits, my therapy appointment and anything that involved me being in conversation for more than fifteen minutes. My attention span was deeply curtailed because of my tiredness. I slept. Then I slept some more. More.

An anxiety that I surmounted was giving myself permission to be sick for a few days and let my body express its needs. If it needed to sleep, well, that's what I did. What was I anxious about? That I wouldn't get text written on my book. After decades of working in the corporate world, I am still deadline-driven. Turns out that taking a time out from writing has proven to be most useful. I have repositioned myself in a couple of valuable ways. A new posture about delivery of the material has become clearer to me. Also, I've taken a new direction about what to write next. All of this is part of the trust that I am still learning. When I do what my body wants, all parts of me are furthered. Amazing--no?

More to the point, I have gotten excellent rest. I feel much more intact and clear rather than spacey and exhausted. Now, as I go into the weekend, it's with a feeling of ease that I didn't have on Thursday or the first half of Friday. I'll keep you posted about my going forward: that's what this blog can do.

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