[cancer] Sacrifices made for me by the petty gods of chemo

I am finding that every chemo infusion cycle is different. I don’t suppose I should be surprised, but somehow I am. Lower GI pattern during after session three has been broadly consistent with sessions one and two, but the details have varied a lot. Less painful and difficult so far, for one, anent which I am deeply thankful. On the other hand, peripheral neuropathy in my feet is just getting silly.

Time management is slowly becoming a larger issue. I’m not having too much trouble holding on to core daily commitments — sleep, exercise, time with , Day Jobbery, writing time (during the phases of my infusion cycle where my right brain unfreezes). Nor my larger social and emotional commitments to , , my family, my friends, my online community. But when individual tasks or habits fall away, reinstating them is damned hard. I’m becoming canalized. Oddly, my left brain seems to go almost manic as my right brain is frozen, hence all the blogging. I rather wish it were the other way around, but I don’t know how to flip that switch.

I don’t leave the house so much now. There are days when driving is tough, and I virtually never drive at night any more. (Nor do much else at night, since I zone out so early due to the ongoing exhaustion.) This is disconnecting me from my long term practices of social lunches, errand running, and so forth. Which since I live and work alone have been pretty critical to me. Not sure what to do about this, except continued to tough it out. Even the few social plans I do make seem to cancel often as not due to the illness of others — I can’t be around sick people as my immune system continues to falter in the face of chemo. I do expect to catch lunch with today for the first time in over a month.

Likewise, the focus to read. I managed to finish John Burdett’s Bangkok 8. Both Elizabeth Bear’s Bone and Jewel Creatures and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey are waiting for me to pick them up. But the narrow bandwidth I have to work on Endurance plus my few other writing and editorial commitments completely consumes the same brainspace that reading does.

That might be my greatest regret, that I’ve essentially lost books. And I simply don’t have enough time left over to make time for them. Writing cannot be sacrificed. Neither can sleep, nor exercise, nor work. Maybe I can peel in a few hours on the non-infusion weekends, but it will take me months to read a book at that pace.

I feel like these sacrifices are being made for me. The choices essentially don’t exist, once I’ve bowed to the core inevitabilities. I don’t mean to sound fatalistic, I actually continue fairly cheerful and optimistic through this process. I just don’t have nearly as much control over my time or my life as usual. At least I’m keeping on deadline with my fiction, and keeping up with my core commitments.

This will not go on forever.

2 thoughts on “[cancer] Sacrifices made for me by the petty gods of chemo

  1. Lindalee Stahlman Volmert says:

    Jay, have you considered listening to books while you do your chemo? There are several places to get free books and for pay there’s audible.com which has a good monthly plan-I finally became a subscriber and am having trouble just keeping up with the NY Times (it or Wall St. Journal come with the sub). Plus there’s all the podcasts that are available.

  2. John Levitt says:

    Jay —

    I’m like many people out there — I’ve only met you casually, don’t really know you, but still worry about you and feel for what you are dealing with.

    I’ve dealt with life threatening illness, and I was one of the lucky ones who beat the odds and came through.

    I didn’t handle it nearly as well at the time as you seem to.

    Hang in there is a stupid thing to say, but it’s heartfelt.

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