External transition

These last 3 months have been a time – a time of contrasts and contradictions – a time of enormous highs and deep lows.
Following my last chemotherapy treatment on Monday, I wish to record for future reference the extreme body, mind, heart and soul effects of chemical infusion. I do this because I forget. I will never do this again. Je voudrais souvenir.

Here we go with the list of effects from the Taxol/Carboplat chemotherapy treatments. Some of the opposite effects happen at the same time – this is most disturbing.
1. Eradication of all cancer cells in the system – we hope
2. External:
Hair loss on head, in nose and other parts
Skin becomes clammy, shiny and very soft
Vision loss
Gum loss
Bone density loss
Runny nose
Wobbliness and weakness on walking – loss of balance
Inability to sleep – need to rest
Love of foetal position
Openness to infections of all kinds – in my case, shingles
3. Internal:
Constipation – diarrhoea
Abiding nausea and yawning hunger
Metallic taste in all foods with love of soft and mushy comfort kinds
Extreme nerve pain – shooting and random electric shocks
Tingling and numbness in extremities, in my case, particularly the legs
Deep abiding aches all over the body
Great bouts of energy and extreme fatigue
Shingle pain – yikes!
4. Mental:
Elation and depression
Fits of wild laughter and loud sobs
Inability to hold a thought for longer than a few minutes
Enhanced perception and clouded vision
Loss of interest in judging or interpreting
Driven to obsessive-compulsive behaviour
Need for certainty - desire for spontaneity
Altered time perception – slow and speedy simultaneously
5. Heart and soul:
Feeling like a baby and centenarian at the same time
Great sensitivity to love and its manifestations – from the beauty of a flower to the noble deeds that the human heart can offer
Enormous appreciation of That which powers the life, and wonder at its magnificence
Willingness to live forever, yet die at any moment
Great need to retreat, pull back from all human activity, yet desire for meaningful connections
Enhanced ability to perceive now

I am in deeply involved in my body, yet at the same time, feel very spacey – heavy and light together. It is this contradictory nature of chemo that is most intriguing and challenging to manage.
The treatments are over, but I am told the effects can last a very long time. Meanwhile, I have set localized radiation to begin in August. I went yesterday for the tattoos. Funny how back in the early 70’s I toyed with getting a tattoo and shaving my head. At that time, it would have been most outrageous. Now I see to be careful of my wishes…………

We take a break for healing and some plain old day-to-day living.
Till later, SuAn

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