unmet DEXpectations

Dexmethasone9.00 pm – Chemo Eve  What happened today?  Where’s that burst of energy that was promised me?  I’m struggling to stay awake at 9.00 pm, having been heavily tired all day, notwithstanding the doses of DEX.  I have a dull headache and slight tingles in my hands and feet, but otherwise so far so good.

DEX did his job well as far as the appetite stimulant was concerned. Let’s just say I had a hearty serving of dinner tonight. (Note to self – don’t do that again!)

I’m off to bed. The book I’m reading is going to be disappointed in me. Why do I have the feeling that there’s a rude awakening sometime in my near future?

Tuesday  3.00 am

Awake.  Retreat to the couch for some online time and then dozing under a throw rug.  Nocturnal birds are in good voice until, in the dawn light, the Night Herons, our seasonal residents, return after grazing on the shoreline in the dark.  The mynahs are early with their taunts to move the herons on. They hold their ground and settle in to sleep.

 

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’twas the day before chemo

DexmethasoneToday is Chemo Eve. How else would I have been fortunate enough to see the sun rise as I got ready for an early morning blood test.  As I write, those blood cells are being interrogated in a big hospital in the city. I hope they don’t give away too many secrets.

This is Dexamethasone. It was my breakfast supplement this morning and will also accompany today’s lunch. It’s a synthetic adrenalin and/or corticosteroid that will be my friend for a few days before and after each chemotherapy treatment. I say friend, because its purpose is to suppress nausea and stimulate appetite. I may have to have a serious talk with it about holding off weight gain.

Himself is excited about the energy spurts that are likely and has lined up a number of chores for me to do before the chemo gets serious. An oversupply of energy means that insomnia may turn up as a strange bedfellow or more likely a strange bookfellow or late-night televisionfellow. (Your own interesting nocturnal activities are welcome in the comments).

Resilience today means being curious about what’s ahead, appreciating my capacity to write (which may speed up abnormally as the day progresses), and being grateful for affordable access to my new friend DEX.

deliberate resilience – a new blog

For the past five years, I’ve been blogging in some way, shape or form. It’s become an automatic response for me to collect and record, to muse and create, to write and reflect, then muster the courage to put it all out there.

You’d think with these babies on the go (SentioNow and Then, Monoculus and The Adventures of Trig the Triceratops), I’d have enough nets to capture a relatively broad cross-section of interests.

Until now. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 4 March, four short weeks ago. A random and fortunate self-discovery. Found early (enough). Already, there’s a treatment plan in place (chemotherapy, radiation, and tablets) to knock it, and presumably me for a short duration, for six. I considered incorporating what will be the content of this blog into Sentio.  But this writing will serve a different and specific purpose.

It’s about taking a deliberate approach to building and sustaining resilience. I had few options available to me on the medical treatment plan. I have much more choice over my personal approach to what falls out of that treatment. It won’t all be smooth sailing, yet I know that if I approach it as though it’s going to be six months of hell, no useful purpose will be served.

So, whether you’re in the same specific boat as me or not, let’s see how a deliberate resilience approach will work. There is no plan. Just an intuitive feeling that I need to hang on to what sustains me  under ‘normal’ circumstances, open myself up to what’s ahead and write about it.

a deviation

cakesTen days ago we were heading back from Stradbroke Island with the knowledge that I was more than likely going to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer on the following day.

Here’s my attempt to make sense of the last fortnight. With gratitude to Patti Digh for the last line.

figs and sugar plums

Totem

FLUID

a soak in the bath

liquid surrounds

random self-examination

an anomaly

that’s what we’ll call it for now

a rescheduled appointment

a confirmation

the anomaly has a new label

the biopsies

the waiting

two days on the island

beach camping

nature offers welcome distractions

wind, rain, birds, sea, sand

the GP visit

another confirmation

sleeping tablets suggested

red wine substitutes

liquid sleeping draft

the alcohol free zone can start tomorrow

calls made

commitments cancelled

the surgeon

a date

admission forms

gratitude for insurance

the airport

the family rallying

afternoon tea cakes

totem selfies

shopping for sleepwear

fresh vegetables and fruit for juicing

liquid green

a photo walk to the point on dusk

the hospital

gift packs, flowers

a cushion for afterwards

compression stockings

information pack overload

making blue people from surgical gloves

the glare of theatre lights

an anaesthetist with a Scottish accent

indecipherable

liquid sleep

nothing

eyes open

clock on the wall

rating the pain

liquid comfort

ice chips

sandwiches and rice pudding for dinner

half-hourly observations

normal sleep position unattainable

late night television

black and white reruns

a hungry plea before the breakfast run

honey toast and coffee delivered

liquid sweetness

morning shower

surveying the battle ground scattered with blue dye

more of a skirmish really

two incision scars, new shapes to learn

physiotherapist

social groups on offer

introvert wants to run for the hills at the very suggestion

new phrases join the soon-to-be common lexicon

home

well wishes from all quarters

temporary restrictions dawning

new routines necessary

the vegetable garden is getting an extension

as loved ones focus on the ordinary

maintain a piece of the normal

the waiting

in between the surgery and tomorrow’s conversation

and now, just today

liquid salt

hello moment, I’m here

Lynn Buckler Walsh

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