I’ve found the antidote to the extreme fatigue. Walking. And not short, gentle walks. Long walks — two, two and a half hours — taken at a clip. Sometimes they are easier to do than other times — last week, I could tell when my blood counts had taken a dip because of how difficult it was for me to keep up a good pace (and by how I would send Shea up a hill while I’d sit on a rock just to get my breath back). But despite the occasional period of tiredness, or the tiredness that comes from wearing yourself our physically, I’m mostly over the intense, need-to-sleep-all-day fatigue.*
I usually go out with Shea and if not, I go out alone. Sometimes we talk a lot, often about things that feel like they should never go beyond the walk, other times we’re silent. I don’t mind the silence and I don’t think Shea does, though I’ve never asked her. Conversation topic for tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like I’ve run out of words, and it would be more awkward to try to talk than it would be to say nothing.
In a way, these walks remind me of my somewhat peripatetic friendships as a teenager in the days before anyone could drive. Jen and I lived down the street from one another and would walk around and around our neighbourhood, stopping at the elementary school to swing for a while before resuming our paces. Almost without fail, some time after dinner one would call the other and ask, “Do you want to go for a walk?” It was an escape from our parents and siblings, a way to talk about whatever it is teenagers talk about, without facing the inevitable teasing that would have come should we be overheard.
The treatment part of this is almost over. In one week, I’ll be receiving my final chemotherapy (hopefully final forever, but all we can do is wait and see). Princess Margaret does this thing called the “Ringing the Bell” ceremony were the patient…rings a bell, or maybe it’s many bells, I’ve only heard it, not seen it and it sounds like many bells. Anyway, friends can come and take pictures and maybe ring bells, too. So if you are a friend reading this and you feel like, oh, bringing cupcakes or something equally delicious and ringing some bells, email me or send me a message on facebook and I’ll let you know the details.