A couple cliches I’m experiencing right now

Bone-crushing fatigue that hit me like a Mack truck, oh, about an hour ago. The slight pain I’m feeling in my throat might have something to do with it. All of you walking around with your germs and such have potentially taken me down. I’ll forgive you for it eventually because I like your company so much.

Chemo went well, despite this tiredness that has crept into every cellular cranny in my body. People keep telling me I look well and for the most part I feel well. It’s a deceptive wellness, though, the depths of which won’t be fully realized until I’ve clawed my way out of it. The changes to your body during treatment like this are (or have been for me) mostly subtle. Almost imperceptible, the shift from well to not-so-well, so that it isn’t until later — once you’re well again — just how not-so-well you were. I remember doing something about a year after finishing chemo the first time — I don’t know what it was, riding my bike or carrying a bunch of groceries — and it occurred to me how hard it had been for me to do whatever it was I was doing only six months earlier. I know I’m not experiencing the full extent of what my body is going through, but there’s bliss in that.

I am fully aware of how many times I’ve used the word “well” but I can’t be bothered to think of a different word.

In other news, I made it through my two-days-post-chemo nausea without actually throwing up. It was a challenge, though. However, with enough drugs you can do almost anything.

I’ve been thinking about cynicism lately — my own, and others — and have been actively trying to be less cynical, though I’d be reluctant to say I’m successful. But part of the success is at least in the trying, I think. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to feel successful in this endeavor. Anyway, I bring this up only because I was reading Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker article on Robinson Crusoe, David Foster Wallace, boredom, and solitude, and he mentions Samuel Richardson’s Pamela in the piece which reminded me of reading it for the first time in my 18th & 19th century novels course 10 years ago. At the time, I thought the whole thing was quite terrible (though kind of delicious at the same time, being rather sensational and all) and I took quite a cynical view of Pamela’s purported virtue. I felt it rather calculated and suspected she knew all along what she was doing when she hid those letters on her body. Anyway, I wasn’t buying the piety. But then I read what Franzen wrote, “underneath [Pamela’s] strident virtue and Mr. B.’s lascivious machinations is a fascinatingly rendered love story. The realistic power of this story was what made the book such a groundbreaking sensation” and it occurred to me that maybe I had let my cynicism completely obfuscate the purpose of the story. I think there’s a sort of cleverness one thinks is inherent in cynicism, but it really isn’t all that clever if it causes you to miss the point. And this, I guess, is why I’m trying to minimize the cynicism, to whatever result that might be.

*Updated to add: 60 days left until the end of chemo*

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About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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