Them: “So how you feeling?”
Me: “Today I’m feeling fine/tired/ like shit.” With chemotherapy, it’s a day-to-day thing.
I’m never sure how I feel until I return from my AM walk with the dog.
That stroll provides me with the barometer I need in order to evaluate my physical state for the day, or at least for the next few hours.
Peyton and I set out to circumnavigate a 2-mile course around our picturesque neighborhood. If I’m able to complete the loop relatively easily, I know that my strength will accompany and support me throughout the day-feelin’ fine!
But some days I have to take a right on Washington Boulevard rather than following the river up to 70th St. before climbing “the widow-maker” and heading home. That’s what happened this morning.
“Slow down,” I reminded myself. “Stay on level pavement, stay off the hills.”
Of course the manly thing would be to push through the fatigue, maybe even break into a jog for a bit, but my doctor told me to “take it easy.” I have permission from a guy with a PhD to sluff off.
By the time Peyton and I rounded the final corner and began trudging the final 100 yards to our home, my legs were as weak as circus lemonade and I was breathing like a big bad wolf trying to blow a little pig’s house down. To make things worse, we’d only walked about a mile.
I now knew that today’s physical state would be dictated to a large extent by the unsavory effects of chemotherapy. I knew I would feel like shit.
I fixed a breakfast of scrambled egg with Mexi-spiced beef brisket and organic sauerkraut from Trader Joe’s. I’m a stickler for a clean kitchen but when I went to find a towel for cleaning up after myself the cupboard was bare. So I headed downstairs to find some kitchen towels I suspected were in the dryer-and indeed they were.
But now I faced a dilemma; how can I get the towels, and myself, up those tortuous 14 steps without climbing the stairs? It was as if I’d slithered through an undersized cave entrance to rescue my missing cat and now found the adit too small to let us pass back through.
Exiting the cave would involve some pain and discomfort but I’d recover; same deal with the stairs. So up I went, dish towels in hand. By the tenth step my legs were getting rubbery, my heart rate was climbing like Kong ascending the Empire State building and my head was woozy. But I continued my trek, one step at a time; “…eleven, twelve, thirteen fourteen.” I made it.
“It’s a day-to-day thing.”
Some days are better than others but they’re all good, considering my situation. When I feel physically bad I remind myself of my blessings; family, friends, good times past and future, and all the fine dogs I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a couch with. And I take naps, of course. Naps make everything better.
On the morning of Tuesday, August 5, I will motor on down to the Simon Cancer Center for a PET scan. A pretty girl will inject me with a radioactive substance to help my doctor determine whether or not the poisons I’ve been receiving every 28 days have been accomplishing their mission.
Then, two days later, Dr. R will share his findings with me and advise as to our strategy moving forward; did we beat the Satan-like cancer cells and cast them into the bottomless pit of “Remission?” Or are there still some left that need a good ass kicking via more chemotherapy. I’m wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ that option #1 prevails.