Cerebral Squalls

I remember the days, after I was done with my chemo-therapy treatments — the first time round, 36 years ago. I recall the times when these dark storm clouds would roll over my mind and everything looked so hopeless. Some chemo treatments are largely hormonal, so they mess yours up so bad.
Blogger Stacey LePage describes these times so effectively in her poem and has kindly permitted me to share it with you.

 

In The Corner

They come and blow your mind away
They make mountains of your thoughts
They will gather strong in billowed clouds
You will find yourself distraught

The sky can blacken all around
Will cause your heart to race
You fear the wrath the clouds may bring
As you quicken up your pace

Then as quickly as it came
It moves along the sky
And out of view the squall does pass
To leave you high and dry

You feel the warmth upon your face
It melts and thaws your mind
You stop and pause and close your eyes
To leave the past behind

The moment seems to slow right down
Life stops and takes a breath
Living in the here and now
Gives minute of brain refresh

Then

There is it, yet once again
The storm is suddenly nigh
You’ve seen it once, you’ll see it again
And know it will…

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Turn, turn, turn

Fellow blogger Stacey LePage shares her thoughts and feelings about life in general and how cancer has affected hers. When I read this uplifting post on her blog this morning I just knew my readers would find it an inspiration, too. thanks, Stacey, for letting me Reblog it.

In The Corner

“To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep”

I have always loved this song, by Pete Seeger, and well, kind of heavily inspired by the Book of Ecclesiastes. The words, I remember, were read by the Minister at both my parents’ funerals.  I didn’t really hear the words during the service for my Mom – but I sure did for my Dad.  A time for everything and everything in its time.

It is time… but for what?

What I don’t like is that I never know what time it is!  What season is it?  The calendar will tell me it is winter – and…

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The “It’s Over” Party

I woke up with a headache again this morning; between my cat wanting to go out and the pain I was prompted to get out of bed at 5 am. My first cup of coffee helped a lot. Apparently caffeine dilates the blood vessels slightly, allowing more blood to flow through whatever muscles are in spasm-mode and that eases the pain. A friend of ours who spent time in Haiti told me once that a lot of times strong coffee was the only pain reliever the poorer Haitians had.

A train chugged by soon after I got up, heading north toward the main railway lines. Still too dark for me to see how many cars but, judging by the number of lights at front, there must have been at least three locomotives. It wasn’t a really long one, though; it passed fairly quickly. Yesterday afternoon Bob saw another train heading north: two engines pulling a hundred cars.

My “It’s Over” party is over. A sedate affair, such as a sedate grandma would like. A nice supper together with the family followed by a decorated chocolate-caramel cake & ice cream. For me everything tasted good and there were no serious after-effects food-wise. I’m glad there’s a treatment for my leukemia and thankful I could receive it, but still, “So glad it’s over!”

My part of the meal prep was easy. Around 3pm I seared pork chops and sausages in a pan, layered them in a casserole, poured BBQ sauce over all and baked them at 325̊ F. I got my granddaughter to help me set the table and do up the few dishes, then we both relaxed while the meats cooked They were tender and ready to serve by 5:30pm so I turned the heat down to 250̊ F and left them sit while I made a lettuce salad. In the afternoon my daughter had picked the last of her sweet corn from the garden, so we had corn on the cob to feast on as well as the mashed potatoes she brought.

I’d bought some “blow-outs” for the children, those paper things that curl up and then stretch out full with a whistling sound when you blow into the small tube at one end. They were quite a hit. All four of the grands got one and proceeded to amuse us all for a good while, especially the youngest grandson. Finally his dad told him, “You don’t have to blow it all the time.” Grandpa suggested I could have gotten the ones with a small horn inside but their mother said, “No, the quiet ones are just fine.” (I thought so, too, actually.)

After supper I took it easy while the other females did the dishes, though we’d made the task simpler with plastic plates & cups. Then I showed the grandchildren Helen’s last few posts on tinylessonsblog.com. They were awed by the scenes of the ocean as the hurricane approached, and the flooding afterward. They thought the colorful legs of the ibis and egret were “so cool,” then laughed at the funny neck of the great blue heron. Such birds as we’ll never see here! Nice posts, Helen!

A thunderstorm was predicted for late yesterday evening, supposedly starting around 10pm. At 10:30pm I was reading in the recliner when Bob asked if I could hear the thunder rumbling. Unfortunately my hearing is so poor that even with my hearing aids I rarely do hear thunder unless it’s banging away right overhead. Which it soon was — then I did hear it. In some ways it is an advantage to be hard of hearing: I can sleep through a lot of storms.

It’s 7:30 now and the day has dawn clear and bright. Doesn’t look like we got a lot of rain out of that storm, but It did knock out the electricity for close to three hours. At least the stove clock read 2:10 when I reset it at 5:18am. Sound asleep, we never noticed anything, and it wasn’t cold enough outside for the interior temp to drop enough to wake us up.

Now it’s time to get dressed, have breakfast, and face the new day.

Getting Ready to Party

The morning was foggy…and so was I

Sometimes these days my thinking just isn’t clear and I have a hard time wrapping my brain around what I’m supposed to be doing and why. This was one of those mornings. I tell people it’s a side effect of the chemo-therapy — otherwise I’d have to say “I’m losing it.” That maybe possible, but harder to admit, you understand. ☺

Nevertheless, I wandered around this morning putting a few things in order, tidying the bathroom, changing the sheets and making the bed. Trying to get the house more in order because we’re getting company for supper. The family’s coming over to help me celebrate!

It’s My Party!

I decided already before my last chemo treatment that I was going to have a party afterward to celebrate the treatments being done and life returning to normal. For three weeks now I’ve been waiting for that to happen, for more energy to flow through my being, but I still feel exhausted a lot of the time. I thought I’d be rid of all that sick taste after eating. It’s some better, but I still have to take a lot of antacids.

Two weeks after my fifth chemo treatment I was feeling quite energetic and even started doing some fall cleaning, so I was counting on things to work the same after the last treatment. But this one seems to have hit me a lot harder than any of the others. Seems anytime during the day I could sit down and fall asleep. I know I have a lot to be thankful for and I’d like to stay upbeat — gracefully accept what is and hope for better days ahead — but sometimes I do feel a little blue about it all. That goes with exhaustion, I guess.

Thankfully my granddaughter has come to do the vacuuming for me this afternoon and things aren’t looking so bad now. I have to prepare part of the dinner, but my daughter’s bringing the other half. So we’ll have our party and celebrate being alive even if the quality isn’t top notch right now.

As much as my energy allows me, I do need to get at some cleaning and sewing projects. So I’ll be cutting back on my blogging activity in October, though I do plan to reblog some other good posts, poems and quotes I’ve read. And I need to do something about incorporating my other blogs.

Maybe I need a break anyway. There are times when I write something but have a hard time getting it together. When I’m done it sounds “fuzzy” and I don’t know if it makes any sense. Part of being in a fog, I guess. “This too shall pass.” And soon, I hope. 🙂

Now I’ll be off and get my part of the supper started.

Celebrating!

fireworks-227383_640Took my last chemo treatment yesterday.
It’s OVER!

For me this is an event worthy of celebration. Fireworks, even.

Yes, I’ll have the usual side effects to endure in the next few days. My last IV site is a bit inflamed and I may have to go for antibiotics for that. But just knowing it’s over for at least a few years does wonders for my outlook on life.

It feels like I’ve been away on a long trip and have come back home again. Or come out from under those depressing grey clouds and back to the real world again.

There’s lots to do here, too, but my first step is to work out a new routine.  Starting with a walk every day. After having sat out the last six months, I realize it’s going to take some time to build up my energy level. The spirit is willing to jump up and start doing all kinds of things but the flesh is still weak and yells, “Hold on a minute!” Now to get my act together. 🙂

I see today’s word prompt is sandwich, which brings to mind an account I read years back where some poor schoolboy was grumbling to the lad next to him about his mouse-meat sandwich.

The boy had opened his lunch kit at noon, said, “Yuck. Mouse-meat sandwich again!” Which got his neighbor’s attention right away. So he explained that when his mother made his lunch in the morning, she sometimes mashed up banana together with peanut butter and spread this on the bread for his sandwich. After sitting all morning in a warm room, by noon the banana had turned a yucky brown and really mushy and the boy had nicknamed this combination “mouse-meat.”

Something tells me he was quite willing to leave this particular filling out when he was old enough to make his own lunches.

Now, I like the peanut butter and banana combination myself; I used to spread peanut butter on both slices of bread and then lay slices of banana in between. But I can imagine that the texture would change drastically if I’d left it sit for four or five hours before eating it.

One More Day!

The first thing that caught my eye when I looked out my bedroom window this morning was a horse. This one was grazing in the middle of the canola field not far from where the deer crossed it yesterday. I suppose it was one of the neighbor’s horses on an adventure. As I watched, Mme Mare (methinks) made her way over to the woods on the east side of our property/the field. (This little woods go only a short ways back before yielding right-of-way to the open field again.) Then Mme Mare ambled around the north side of that wood, a path which would take the back to her rightful pasture.

I should have been keeping a closer eye on our own yard, for when I glanced down again I saw the tip of a plumy black tail waving around the garden shed, then disappearing underneath. I watched a bit longer to see if the creature attached to the tail would reappear so I could identify it, but I’m sure only Mrs Skunk —or one of the little ones — would have a tail of that nature. Still, I wish I could have seen her lovely form and made certain.

All this gawking out the window didn’t help me ready myself for the day. We were up bright and early this morning getting ready to leave for my last full day of chemo-therapy — for five years or more, hopefully. Had to be at the Cancer Clinic at 9am, but didn’t allow for two things: the ongoing road construction on the way in; the fact that University has started up again.

All summer we passed through one corner of the University grounds en route to the Cancer Clinic and had no problem, but today it was teeming with students, on foot or in cars. Bunches were crossing at the crosswalk and oodles of vehicles were causing a mini traffic jam looking for parking or passage through. Take it from me, 9am is a BAD time to enter the University grounds.

Tomorrow will be easier; my appointment time is an hour later. My last day! The nurse left the IV in as usual, to be used again tomorrow. It stings a bit now and then, but I try to keep my mind occupied with other interests. I picked up some blanket blocks (7″) squares from the Church Sewing Circle’s supply cabinet; maybe I can pin them together this evening, a nice “no-brain” activity. Yesterday at the library I picked up a couple of cheery books to read during the times I feel totally drained of energy.

I’m also determined to drink lots of water this evening and try to flush the system of some of the chemical  that went in today. While the water still tastes good. Tomorrow it will probably taste like poison. 😦

“This, too, shall pass.”