Observations

I didn’t post from chemo last week, simply because I spent most of the time sleeping. I had to take extra steroids to keep from having the reaction I had the last time, which was gladly not repeated. In between moments of sleep, I talked with my father, who has been really by my side through all of this. Nothing deep or anything; just about the book he was reading and some of the things he’s seen in his life. But really, that’s enough. He was there. He didn’t have to be. He doesn’t have to do anything at all, but he has been, my whole family has been incredibly supportive.

Friends too have come out of the woodwork to offer their support. Facebook is incredible for that kind of thing, and it’s really lifted my spirits to see people actually give a shit that I’m going through something. But you also kind of get to see the quality of the people you know as well. People I thought would be the first to say something, have said nothing…instead, posting on about their bad drive to work, their semi-fake vacations and how much fun they’re having. Minute I post about Star Wars or something geek related, OH there they are.

I don’t expect everybody to pitch out a little banner in my honor, but when people I hardly know put an effort forth to say, “Hey, you matter, we’re pulling for you,” and somebody you’ve known for over a decade can’t be bothered to even say, “Hey, get better,” you have to really question their overall worth. I get some people don’t know what to say, sometimes I’m that person, but I always say something. Some sign you care can mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, I’ve discovered.

Before I started going through this, I was all raring for the fight. I was all ready to do battle with this and bring it down. But going through it now, with the radiation and the chemo, really brings you down to earth. You’re not fighting, you’re sleeping. You’re not clawing at anything, you’re trudging around, trying to not wretch or hope to the Powers that Be you don’t have another fit of hiccups (yes, that’s a thing and yes, they’re bad). Your brain doesn’t process things the way you expect; you get angry or sad for no particular reason, or you simply can’t process at all and you need an extra second or two. Believe me when I say, those few seconds to reach out to somebody and say, “Hey, we care” make a huge difference on days like that, even from a nearly complete stranger.

 

 

Adventures in Cancer

Today is my first day in chemotherapy, and aside of having a very harsh reaction to the medicine initially, it’s really been mostly me sleeping the day away. What I mean by harsh, is when they hooked me up to the medicine, my face immediately went red and I couldn’t breath. Apparently, this is common. So, the actual process isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and the nurses and aides have been very nice.

Sadly, that doesn’t give me much to write about, so I’m rewinding a little to last night and my incident at Wal-Mart. You see, with esophageal cancer, you slowly lose the ability to eat things easily, or without bringing them back up. I had eaten something a little prior to the trip and it see how it would settle. Needlessly to say, it didn’t. Getting from one end of a super-sized Wal-Mart, to the other with a pending stomach explosion is not a feat I would recommend for anybody, having choked my sickness back down twice before making it to the bathroom.

Luckily, the bathroom was unoccupied. Unluckily the toilet wasn’t. There is something really to say about unclogging your toilets or putting OUT OF ORDER signs in place. Suffice to say, I left the gift of my stomach’s contents on the growing pile of refuse stuck in there, having no other choice. What I found particularly ironic (and believe me, this experience is somehow going to find itself into my writing), the bathroom floor was cleaner than the damned toilet and the parking lot, where I thrice more left the gift of my stomach was, until then seemingly cleaner than both. There’s something really wrong when your parking lot is cleaner than your public restroom.

So, chemo is almost done for today: I’m at 170ish pounds and I’m experimenting with things to eat, to help keep my weight up. The long part of my fight has begun and I’m already feeling the weight of it. Being tired and evidently anemic, according to my doctors, which has never been a problem for me before. I have a month of this to go, and I honestly wonder at what condition I’m going to be at the end of this. Losing hair doesn’t bother me, so much as the consideration of how much energy am I going to have left before this is all done? All I have right now, is that I’m ready for this fight. Hoping that’s all I’ll need, besides the minds and science of these great doctors I’ve the fortune of having.

More next chemo,

-Tim

 

It’s All About Perspective

My lesson from NaNoWriMo is: I fucking hate the idea of writing a novel in a month. Before November, a close and important friend urged me to attempt this and I did manage to squeeze out five good chapters before I really felt like the whole grinder to write something good in that short of time pretty much train-wrecked my creative process. It train-wrecked to the point where I didn’t want to write at all, and I didn’t. it probably didn’t help that I had a cadre of personal issues to deal with, but I don’t look at those as reasons. Those are excuses, so I don’t linger on those, nor do I hold them up as a core issue to my fundamental problem; I simply cannot be rushed.

I do feel myself getting back on the rails, but it kind of surprised me just how damaging to the way I create stories the whole concept of NaNoWriMo was. I mean, it made me angry how badly it nuked my willingness to write. It also reminded me that I am simply a person that has to, must do things on his own terms, or he will simply not do them. The whole act of doing it felt like throwing feces on a wall and trying to call it a story. I’m not a fucking monkey; I don’t write on command and I don’t like flinging poo and calling it wordsmithing. I think for me, the creative process is slower, so I can work things out in my mind, walk the story through in my head.

The good news is I have five good chapters of this, what I feel is a fairly unique post-apocalyptic story that is, surprisingly not focused on zombies and does not involve a dystopian future. I am going to start working on this story again, starting tomorrow. Maybe I will post a few lines from it, but as it stands, this is really second draft stuff. I think I will also get back to the thing I was doing, where I’d write other stuff as a diversion from the main thing I was writing. I have a few short stories kicking around in my head that I’m going to write, then look to get published in magazines.

So yeah, I’m back at it.

Tim