Here we are a full four months after the operation. Is it time to reflect yet on what has happened?

We (my family) are constantly amazed how we humans adapt to whatever is thrown at us. Whenever you dare think things are really bad, you come across a woman without a nose.  But adapt we do, and reflection is part of that.

I grew up traveling and being displaced a lot. This did not appear to be a major issue until people starting pointing out small things, like culture shock and the down side of displacement. Other effects are less obvious. An incredible desire to protect yourself from everyone. Displacement creates a lot of anxiety. You keep having to prove yourself over and over again. At least, you think you do, and therefore attempt to do so. You become very insecure, whether you show it or not. In some cases, like when you are the only coloured person in an all white boarding school in the UK, other problems arise and existing issues are exacerbated.

I tell people that I was a really dumb boy. Stayed dumb for years. Oblivious to what was going on around me. Almost insensitive. I think, upon reflection, that I was not so much dumb, as removed from what was going on. The protection mechanism coming in full force. You react very slowly or not at all to events. Friends are hard to come by, not because people are not friendly, but because you are in some major ways, shut down. You fail to notice overtures. You behave in strange and unpredictable ways insofar as you are the stranger in the room unaware of some of the cultural differences that, in hindsight, were shining like beacons on a hill. I do not have examples, but I know they were there. One of the results was not being invited to parties, for instance.

Getting cancer has some of its own unsettling effects on your body and mind. To say the least. With one major difference. This time, the effects are somewhat mitigated by the fact that you have had a life, a marriage, new friends, work. The stranger in the room this time, is the cancer. A very unwelcome stranger that seems incapable of taking a hint. Definitely not invited to the party. Why does it keep hanging around?

Your past issues are held at bay for now. They seem so unimportant. You have to deal with the uninvited guest. So many of my friends have remarked on my being a lot more open, more receptive, calmer. This has not been a conscious decision, or something I worked on tirelessly for a few years under the watchful eye of a therapist. It just happened because you no longer have the energy to devote to being guarded, or defensive, or wary, or whatever your personality displayed at the time. You are way too busy wondering about the whys and wherefores of your current dilemma.

I am a lot more short tempered than I have ever been. I know I have mentioned this before. I thought it would be a phase. Not so lucky. I have no patience left. My tone shows it. Janet and I were shopping at Chapters (book store) the other day. This guy was paying for his books, but the stroller he had with him was blocking the way. I have no idea why people do this. He is standing at the cash, while the stroller is blocking the path behind him. I said: Excuse me do you mind moving your stroller. He gave me this look that translates to: what is your problem? I think even Janet was a bit surprised. I realised that my tone had been quite sharp. I was miffed that he had the temerity to block the passage. How minor an issue, and yet so large and prominent.

Next week is the start of two programs at Wellspring, Brain Fog, and Q-Chong. Looking forward to it.

Tomorrow is CT-Scan day. We will have the results hopefully by Monday when we see Dr. Kennedy, my surgeon. This will be the first time we will know for sure whether the chemo is working or not. I have no reason to assume it is not. I am in generally good health, positive, strong and mighty, as it were. The Neulasta helps when it decided to kick in. I do not have a cold, or any other infection. Small signs of the effects of chemo are there for those who are interested. Thinning hair, low platelets that result in nose bleeds. Nothing serious, just something to be aware of. Yet, I am a bit anxious. CT-Scans are pretty innocuous affairs. They cannot use the Porta-Cath and have to insert a needle to feed me the poison. That is the worst part, the needle. The rest of the scan is a quick and smooth event. That damn needle. There is apparently a new Porta-Cath coming to Canada that will allow them to use it for CT-Scans as well. I am hoping they will replace mine. The 90 minute operation is a no-brainer.

6 Responses to “Coping and other things”

  1. Happy New Year! See I'm not the only one that dislikes line-ups and rude people. You know that I totally understand you.
    I dislike CTs too. That darn needle and when the dye goes through. In a few weeks, I will be going on my 15th CT scan in just over a years time. (I'm surprised I don't glow in the dark.) You never really get used to it but you get comfort in knowing someone somewhere is looking at what is going on. Hopefully??!!
    Missing our weekly chats with everyone in Art Therapy. I truly enjoyed our exchanges.
    All the Best to you. Angela

  2. I am glad to be back online (thanks for the help!) and able to catch up on the blog. Always a bit in awe of you when I read it. Getting to know you so much better, after, what…almost 20 years? Nothing like reading a friend's diary to really know them. xo

  3. honestly, isn't our adaptability a wonder?
    so, you are calmer. does that mean you speak less quickly? : )
    hope the ct scan is a breeze.

  4. The worst part of the CT-Scan is the intravenous. I am, what they call, a hard poke. They have no trouble taking blood, but giving something is much harder. One technician went through four needles before one worked.

    My brother commented the other day about my voice which was terribly weak. He made the comment that in spite of my weakness or strength, my speech remains the same – speedy gonzales.

  5. Hey Farokh,

    Yes, the voice is affected greatly by chemo. It was still having weakness and loss of voice in September, that would be 3 and half months later still. So don't get discouraged. Just know it's all part of the crappy side effects of chemo. Go with the flo.

    Sorry to hear you are one of those people whose veins are hard to find. I am just the opposite. Very very easy.

    So did Wellspring call you this a.m. as a reminder for Tuesday? I got one.

  6. Good morning Farokh,

    BRRrrrrrrrrrr, cold day out today. Keep warm thoughts bro!

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