[cancer] I got me the brain-eating heebie jeebie blues

Sometimes the universe sees fit to hand me a blunt force comeuppance. Just a couple of days after I blog about how I can always find time to write, and that I am almost never blocked [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ], I am blocked.

Yesterday was very hard for several reasons that don’t have much directly to do with cancer. Thursday night’s misadventures with leaving my wallet in Lincoln City had me both badly exhausted and short slept. These days it’s easy to forget that I’m less than four months out of chemotherapy, but I do still tire more easily than in baseline health. So I started yesterday feeling like hell. Then I spent most of the day at the hospital with a friend. (Yes, everything’s fine, but I still spent most of the day at the hospital.) While simultaneously juggling a difficult set of Day Jobbe issues that ran on well into the evening. (Yes, everything’s fine, but I still spent most of the day juggling difficult issues.)

Yesterday was pretty much a loss from a writing perspective. But I knew it would be going in, and declared it as such. In fact, yesterday was such a loss that I went lights out at eight o’clock last night. That’s way early for post-chemo me. Slept solid for over nine hours, too, so obviously I needed it badly.

The joker in the deck isn’t all that. Physically, I feel pretty recovered this morning. I’m giving myself a break and not rushing into my day as I am wont to do. It’s the cancer stress that’s killing me now, and was almost certainly killing me yesterday as well.

The next CT scan is Monday, two days from now. The next round of oncology appointments are Wednesday, four days from now. These scans are always very, very hard on me. Any of them could be a death sentence for me. Any of them could mean I lose yet another year of my personal, social, emotional and writing life to surgery and chemotherapy. And that’s even if I have no reason not to think I’m clean, that I’m not cancer-free.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there is good reason to suspect I’m not clean.

As you know, Bob, we found a new lesion on my liver as a result of my prior CT scan in February. The clinical status of that lesion is undetermined. But given my personal history of throwing metastases on a roughly annual basis, it’s very, very hard for me to be optimistic about this.

My brain is empty. The stress monster has slurped it up, burped it out, and shit in my empty skull just as a special bonus.

I’m almost certain there will be no writing today. I’ll be amazed if there will be any writing between now and next Wednesday’s oncology appointments. Unfortunately, right now I am in book mode [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. I have deadlines, admittedly self-imposed, but no less real for that.

Cue a cycle of guilt, recrimination, and irritation. Irritation at myself and at the cancer.

The objective reality of this situation is that I’m nicely ahead of schedule on Their Currents Turn Awry. I budgeted April and May to complete this draft, and I’m only 50-60,000 words from being done. Possibly a bit fewer. Given that I have seven weeks left, and I’m averaging 3,000 words per writing day on this project, I have loads of time.

But objective reality isn’t exactly the point here. The cancer-induced brain-eating heebie jeebie blues are the point here. Or not.

Today, I’ll go to [info]the_child‘s lacrosse game, visit [info]lizzyshannon, have lunch with my parents, visit with my friend H—, and still have plenty of time to write if the vapor lock in my head clears up. Even if the vapor lock doesn’t clear up, I’ll have a fun, busy day with people I care about, who care about me. Tomorrow is just as committed, hiking with friends in the morning, then dinner with [info]mlerules, then an evening conference call on an exciting new project.

I’m doing the best I can here. Unfortunately, cancer laughs at my best. Stupid fucker is eating my life.

5 thoughts on “[cancer] I got me the brain-eating heebie jeebie blues

  1. Gillian Brent says:

    Cancer sucks.

    We’ll cope if you want to withdraw into a shell for a few days, and hide until the tests are done. And the results are back. Or even longer.

    Whether the fucker has come back or not, your biggest priority is to look after yourself.


  2. Janet Freeman-Daily says:

    Oh, Jay, I SO sympathize with the prescan anxiety! Emotions are high, cognition is blocked, exhaustion creeps in … I have been known to resort to pharmaceutical help in the few days before a scan and the subsequent oncology appointment. Hope you find something that helps, even if it’s just staring at neon jellyfish.

  3. Sandra M. Odell says:

    Then you force the bitch’s mouth into the smallest opening it can make so that it can only nibble and strain and not make any progress. You DO NOT give it the satisfaction of your acceptance of the situation, laying down and giving up.

  4. Harald Striepe says:

    I sent you a note on HeartMath emWave technology, and how it helped me with the “heebie jeebies.” Not sure, I would have made it without it. I had a couple of really, really low points, where kicking it looked pretty attractive.
    Caveat: I did not discover the science, but have been working on the enabling technology of Heartmath.
    Going through my cancer year made me pretty sanguine about what really helped, and HearMath made a huge difference in dealing with the QOL issues
    It still does with the regular “nail biter” check ups.
    One thing that makes cancer survivors different is the true, experienced knowledge of our mortality, and that “shit can really happen to YOU” any moment!
    Being able to enjoy the moments alive no matter what the circumstance, or at least cope without spinning out, makes a real difference.

  5. In fairy tales, every dance with Death leaves the protagonist a different person afterward. Tired, foot sore, with the occasionally white stripe in the hair. Seeing an upcoming notation on the dance card can’t help your mental state. But you know what, you’ve been through that hell before, to mix my metaphor. And every time through, the passage hurts a little less.

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