3.13.2008

Something About Discontent...

Today, winter broke.

The ice that had encased our street had finally given way to the small streams of snow melt wearing their way to the storm drains. Snowdrifts had shrunk to dirty piles of slush, occasionally revealing a long forgotten mitten or scarf. I left traded my parka for sunglasses since the sun was shining brighter than it had in months.

Today, I spent hours upon hours in the hospital for my pre-op workups.

This morning was round two of the CTVP and while I thought it was going to be so much better this time because I wouldn't be all bound up from post-op pain meds and I would have fully functional abdominal muscles with which I could flip around on the exam table, it was still fucking horrible. But you've already heard about that.

After a quick trip home, I bounced back to meet with my therapist for the first time, which was basically me "telling my story" (a phrase which irritates me just as much as "practicing my craft," blargh), ie me running my mouth for 50 minutes. She was super nice throughout it all and I know we have to lay ground work before we get into the nit an grit of it all.

Then, I skipped off to my pre-op appt, where I got poked and prodded and signed all manner of documents and got to tell someone for the billionth time what supplements I was on and what surgeries I've had.

I got more good news than bad, I'm happy to say, with the best being the fact that the surgery is going to be laproscopic for the most part and that the vertical 6+" incision I had been preparing for will probably more likely be a horizontal <4" scar, alĂ  c-section, and I only have to drink half a gallon of GoLytely to clean me out, aka Hell's Gatorade, instead of the full gallon I got to polish off the last time.

That was the yin--here's the yang: bowel prep starts two days before surgery, not one, meaning I have to spend more than 36 hours on a liquid diet.

People, I eat. I have never been afraid of food. I can count the number of meals that I have skipped (but not slept through on account of crippling hangovers, of course) on two hands. For every reason, emotion, and social function under our sun, I have eaten, and with relish.

So believe me when I tell you that upon hearing about my necessary liquid--nay, clear liquid--fast, I completely forgot about my cancer (and worse, pending ostomy) and focused on how miserable I am going to be on Thursday, March 27th, when I will be alternately terrified and starving.

And then there will be more days without food. After my five hours on the operating table, when I go from being with cancer to most likely without, I will still be NPO until I pass gas into my BAG. Only then will the NG tube be retired from sucking the acid out of my stomach and pulled out my nose and I will begin a new, tenuous, treacherous relationship with food.

Remember my nausea? Remember the first days of chemo radiation and I had no appetite and I had the same fear that I did when I was a social leper for several months my junior year of high school and a kiss in college led to looping weeks of living in my head and when I was in the throes of the first trimester of my first and only pregnancy and all of those times I thought I would never have the desire to eat again?

Today, I gleefully stuff my cakehole with all manner of chow, healthy and otherwise, every chance I get. I am literally eating like there's no tomorrow. Because, in less than 14 days, just about 13 days from right this second, really, there is no tomorrow.

Between the chemo in the short term and my rerouted guts in the long, I have no idea what the simple experience of eating is going to be like for me. How things will taste, what my system will tolerate, what's going to be possible in terms of how much or how often. So I'm having it all now.

I loved chemistry in high school and college, mostly because I did well at it, and that was partly because something in my head clicked when it came to stoichiometry (would you believe me if I told you I spelled it right on the first try?). For those non-science geeks out there, it's all about balancing equations. The amount of reactants on one side have to equal the amount of products on the other.

Except in my case, the equation is about preparing for anticipated loss. I am adding on this side of the equals sign because I know there will be a subtraction on the other, the difference being, I am in control on this side of things.

Speaking of being in control, let's get back to the topic of the weather. Winter is over. Know how I know? I saw the true harbinger of spring today. Not a robin, or the rabbit which thrilled me on the way back from an icy bus stop last March. It was a kid running across the street, dressed in pants and short sleeves.

Tears of joy, people. Ding dong, that bitch is dead.

5 comments:

Ed said...

Stoichiometry. You may have spelled it right the first time, but that must not have been today. :)

Eating is a surprisingly sensual experience, and you will definitely feel differently about it during chemo. For me, it was the FOLFOX stuff plus the prophylactic emetic symptom-suppression stuff plus the bowel movement encouragement/suppression stuff (all chemical, BTW) that put me off of food. Everything comes back... weight, appetite, taste. I commend you, though, for taking control of "this side."

P.S. I like the pic of you and your daughter on the linked site. Thanks for sharing that with the planet.

crazytom said...

Not nice to call the kid a "bitch", especially after getting hit by a car crossing the street.

Ed said...

And of course, YOU can go back and edit the word so now I look like a dope. :) At least you don't, right?

Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

CT--Kid is still intact, it was winter I was referring to.

Ed--I figured I was allowed to correct a typo (vs. misspelling)... ;)

Dave said...

If it any consolation, I apparently have forgotten the months when you were a high school social leper.