Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stumbling across the finish line

I'm ... so ... tired.

(No, I'm going to resist the urge to crack a Blazing Saddles quote here.  Really.)

I am in the midst of my final chemotherapy treatment.  Yesterday was transfusion day, a three-hour session (down from four the previous sessions) wherein most of the chemo drugs are pumped into me.  The final act of that day is a pump being attached to the port in my upper chest, containing a drug called     Fluorouracil (I had to look at the pump to remind myself of that), which pumps into me over forty-six hours.  About twenty-four hours or so from now, that will be removed.  And with that, hopefully, chemotherapy will be over.


I am not exactly bursting across the finish line with tremendous vigor and vim.  I can't say that anything hurts, really, but I have an absolute lack of energy.  And this being the last treatment, and the effects of these drugs being cumulative, the fatigue factor has kicked in hardest now.

I can't imagine things getting worse, but they easily could have been.  My every-other-week treatment regime was interrupted back in April for my trip to Kansas for candidacy status.  Were this the final of eight consecutive biweekly treatments I might not be out of bed.  (I had to take a nap in the middle of writing this paragraph, to give you an idea.)

In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has his senior devil Screwtape advise his hapless nephew junior tempter Wormwood that fatigue itself is not enough to cause a soul to slip over into temptation; rather, the unexpected demand upon the already fatigued soul that is far more likely to be the tipping point.  Further, Screwtape adds that "fatigue can produce extreme gentleness, and quiet of mind, and even something like vision."  I know I've snapped enough times at the former provocation, but gentleness, quiet of mind, and vision seem in short supply.

I do, at least, have a better clue to the difference between fatigue and laziness.  There is a lot around here that not only do I need  to be doing, but want to be doing as well.  The moment I try to get up and work on it, though, I can feel my body collapsing.  I'm not above stretches of laziness; hopefully in the future I'll be more aware of when i'm really tired and when I'm just being lazy, and be able to address it more appropriately.

This will pass, I know.  It might be well into next week, but it will pass.  Of course therein lies one of the reasons mental quiet is absent now; what follows is nothing but a period of waiting.  At some point I'll have to have another colonoscopy or endoscopic ultrasound to see if anything is left of that damned cancer.  Until then, mental quiet is not really going to happen.

Right now I'm just tired.  And in less than twenty-four hours the pump comes off, and in a few days to a week my fingers won't tingle when I touch something cold (and I'll be able to enjoy some ice cream). I have an appointment with the oncologist on July 15, at which time presumably the scope will be scheduled.  My energy hopefully will be able to recover, although the summertime heat won't help with that.  Sometime in August I'll know if perhaps this battle is done (for now -- I'm not naive enough to think I won't be a cancer risk for the rest of my life), if August 2012-2013 is going to be my "cancer year," or if there's more garbage yet to come.

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