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Friday, March 28, 2014

Memory, a ghost

Sometimes, it feels like there are memories that just have to out.

I was in the supermarket the other ay, and there was this huge display of giant, 1.5 liter Evian bottles. They were on sale for $2.25 each. A good price, I thought as I walked by. Then I smiled for some reason, and then I thought of chemo, and my poor sad little veins. And as I walked through the meat department, I was back there, back in the chemo chair. It was more visceral a feeling than even being back in that same building, or smelling alcohol wipes. That water, and my two-a-day, then three-a-day, ritual. It was a spell I performed to ward off pain and multiple jabs from needles.  When I was relating this to my therapist today, I started crying. Crying! Over bottled water.

The Evian came on the heels of a hard, weird week. Saturday night I came down with some kind of horrifying stomach thing. The scene was reminiscent of the Exorcist. And more terribly, chemo. Though I never actually threw up during chemo (that pleasure was usually saved for post op car rides), the weakness, the nausea, the sensitivity to smells I experienced were like a giant neon sign flashing TAXOL inches from my window.

I became filled with fears -- what if this wasn't a virus, but a side effect from the clinical trial? What was I thinking, taking a drug that was untested? I must be insane. Or: what if it is a virus, or other pathogen, and it does such a number on my immune system that I turn septic, or a dormant bacteria on my remaining breast implant comes to life, and I have to be hospitalized and pumped full of antibiotics? (In my defense, this recently happened to a friend of mine.) Or...or...or.... I sobbed to my confounded husband. Luckily Pancho had his shit together and calmed me down.

It feels something like being covered in a thick, many layered skin that's getting peeled away. As if, when I was diagnosed, I was dipped in many layers of protective paraffin wax. That's where my relative calm came from during treatment. It's how I wasn't crying and panicking constantly. All the events of the last almost two years are like barbs tossed at my translucent figure. Some only nicked the surface, some penetrated deeper. Some went all the way to to my skin, all the way to my bone.

Now as I start moving again that wax is melting, and as it does, barbs get revealed, and I feel them like I never felt them while it was happening.

Two days after my stomach episode, Matt came down with a cold and laryngitis. (Everyone in the world should probably avoid horrifying Petri dish of an apartment.) He couldn't speak above a whisper. "This reminds me so much of radiation," he said. And as I sat with him,  I wondered about the depth of that barb, and how many layers were left.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear this and I hope you both recover.... You write so well, describing how it feels.. Thank you!