I've been amazed how quickly the radiation and chemo have become a routine occurrence and focus of my days . Monday through Friday mornings I report in at 9:00 for radiation and Tuesdays are devoted to Chemo. I've become a first-name basis regular at each office and am known as a scourge on the lollipop baskets. I have developed a fondness for raspberry suckers.
Meanwhile my health has not been super great. The radiation is doing its job at burning away at the cancer and as a result there's a bit of collateral pain growing in the surrounding esophagus.
Swallowing is becoming increasingly harder, even just for normal liquids, and breathing is becoming more difficult. Chemo side-effects have started to catch up with me with cramps and nausea, but the oddest effects have been sensory. Everything now tastes like chalk to me and everything smells different, sour. My mouth is constantly dry and sticky at the same time and it's as if I've been sucking on persimmons.
It's basically an adventure in re-adjustment to the way my body handles the drugs and treatment.
One interesting aspect has been coming to terms with the radiation treatment itself. I've noticed a very subtle sensation at each treatment that I hadn't expected. As the radiation machine rotates around me and the beam zaps at my chest from different angles, there is a ripple-like wave sensation through my chest hair like a soft electric breeze. The sensation is oddly pleasant. I imagine the instrument as the machine sings some radioactive melody to the cancer.
Meanwhile I've been juggling things on a personal front fairly well. Rent this month is paid and there is chocolate milk in the fridge and protein shake supplies in the pantry. I'm online and there is the chance for a couple of design gigs that may help with the financial situation. I received a letter Saturday that there is some sort of problem with the medical billing situation but won't know details until I can call them tomorrow.
Towards the end of this week I did take the initiative to radically shorten my hair. I haven't started experiencing any hair loss yet from the chemo but wanted to take some kind of control over the situation before that happened. My basic fear was to start losing it massively at a point when I may not be psychologically at my best, and rather than set myself up for that I decided to preemptively "cut my losses". I didn't go for the full "shave" (yet), but am close enough so that my scalp can get some sun but at the same time prepared for the ultimate option if I chose to fully shave my head.
I've been thinking a lot about how much I've been changing my life, my hopes for the future, my fears about everything..... I'm not sure I can really write about any of that yet.
I have an odd day planned today with a friend that involves seeing the film "Cabin in the Woods" followed by some serious Buddhist discussion and meditation.
Life is full of metaphors but they are only where you are prepared to find them.