Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer]

[cancer] A difficult day; and lending grace

Yesterday was a difficult day.

Not profoundly miserable, as some are. More like difficult in a sense that anyone feeling poorly could have. But it had a good ending.

The fundamental problem was that the previous two nights I’d skipped the Lorazepam, trying to find my own natural sleep cycle. I slept poorly but not dreadfully both nights. These days, deep in chemo, I have no reserves for that sort of thing. So while none of my chemo side effects were particularly out of control, my body wasn’t happy, even by my current admittedly lax standards.

Then I got drawn into a family squabble that didn’t directly concern me. Some unfortunate events, a lot of emotional tension, and one of those annoying teachable parenting moments, stretched through most of the day on the installment plan. This did nothing to improve either my mood or my physical energy.

On my lunch hour from Day Jobbery, I had a phone meeting with my agent. It was positive and constructive, and she is as always a jewel. However, I wound up being very depressed afterwards. We are in effect winding down my writing career, pending further illness. As I observed to her, we can wind it right back up again if I come out of all this with some years of significant time and energy available to me. But that’s not the current assumption. I spent the rest of the day feeling gloomy about my mortality.

By the end of the day I’d been slammed physically, emotionally and professionally. Not the first time, and it won’t be the last, but that made the day difficult.

Then, right at bedtime, I got two emails on the subject of parental mortality. They are not my stories to tell here, but suffice to say that one was sobering but encouraging, the other made me weep because I realized that I might have just for a moment lent someone else a needed moment of grace.

The price I pay for all of this is too high for anything I will ever realize from it, but there are rare moments where it does seem worth the cost and I feel like I got something right.

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