The writer's kind, that is. I have started this post roughly 10 times, and while I have plenty I wanted to say I can't seem to put it into words. So I'll drop those things for now so that I can provide some sort of update.
Friday I spent an entire lovely day at the hospital, getting blood and platelets. My hemoglobin and platelet count both dropped off rather dramatically between blood draws on Monday and Thursday. My white counts are also continuing their stay in the basement. Which, unfortunately and to my great frustration, means I have to delay the chemo I was scheduled to start on Monday.
I hate sitting around waiting for the next round. Not only is it frustrating to have to wait on treatment, but I also now have even more time until I find out if these new drugs are even working. And every week of recovery adds to the length of this ordeal. At this rate I'll be in treatment until 2013. The one upside is that I usually feel pretty decent during these extra weeks, so I can log some "feeling halfway like a normal person" hours. As I like to call them.
There's a not-so-small problem with feeling better, however, which is namely that it tends to make me feel like shit. Sure, physically, I feel great: I can eat, I have energy, I get out of the house. Emotionally, mentally, I'm a wreck. See, when I'm getting chemo or dealing with the side effects, 95% of my mental energies are directed to coping with pain and illness. It's actually so mentally draining I find it difficult to read books, which for me, is pretty remarkable. I sleep for 10 or more hours, and I pass out easily by 9pm.
When I'm better, on the other hand, my mind's free and clear, and there's no good or healthy way to just stop thinking. So think I do, about all the things I'd really rather not. It's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago. I'm no longer stuck in a spiral of thoughts of the worst that could happen, and I don't cry every single time I'm alone. Sure, thoughts of "What if I don't make it?" still sneak up on me, leaving me feeling as if I've been punched in the gut. But I'm getting better at chasing those thoughts away.
It's other thoughts which haunt me more now, thoughts of past and future. For "What if I don't make it?" isn't the worst question, it's "What if I don't get to do that?" What terrifies me is that I might lose my future, and I don't think I need to explain why that fear makes me question my past. Decisions I've made and convictions I've held, all of which I was so damn sure were right at the time, seem stupid or deeply misguided. It's the regrets from the years I've had and the possibilities from the ones I've yet to that plague me on these days when I'm feeling well, bringing tears to my eyes at random moments and keeping me up at night.
It's not easy to chase these thoughts away. But I devour books, sometimes several in one day, pulling anything that looks tolerable off the library shelves, since reading offers the best respite. I jump at any chance to leave the house, to do something, anything other than sitting alone with nothing to do. Lying in my bed at night, I try to pray instead of letting my mind dwell in grim places. And I wait, because I trust that this will all get better with time.
It's not easy, but it's all I can do.