Filling a gap

The gaps in my writing seem to be getting longer. There are days when I think of some interesting topic and by the time I roll around to having time to write it doesn’t seem as poignant or as well thought out as I would like it to be. That is an interesting thought seeing as how a good majority of what I wrote about in the deepest parts of my cancer canyon I didn’t really try and sensor what I was saying which made some of it seem raw but probably pretty much a waste of time for most people. I have mentioned more than once that I feel a sense of concern for most good writers because they must be in some dark spots to be so creative. I am sure some aren’t and are just gifted but it really makes me wonder.

With this preface I am not sure I have much to say. I felt like I should let those who check on me know I am still plugging along. As I get further entrenched in a normal pattern to my life I often find myself amazed that I have returned to such a spot. Little events in each day remind me of moments during the last two years where I really questioned what was real and sweet and what seemed so surreal and sour. Like looking in the mirror as I sat to have my hair cut. I have needed a few little trims but not yet a real cut and it brought me back to the nurse helping me shave my head as all the hair started to fall out, coating my hospital bed as the chemo kicked in. I got kicked playing soccer and wondering if I would bruise and the whole nightmare would come crashing back. Or sitting down to check my labs to see which way the edges of my mouth should curl.

This last one seems to be one of the toughest aspects of my life I deal with right now. I still get labs pretty much weekly to keep an eye on how my kidneys and liver are fairing with the medications. At the same time I get to look at how my blood count is, what my hemoglobin is doing, if my platelets are stable, if my neutrophil count is high enough to not be worried about being in a small crowd. Those moments before I see the result are to say the least torturous and terrifying. I can tell myself over and over it will be okay and I will cope with what ever it looks like. I can mentally prepare for going on with my day if the numbers are not what I want to see. I can stay calm and collected. Yet the truth is far different,  almost as much as those early moments where I felt like just sprinting out of the hospital in Seattle and trying to run away from Leukemia I want to jump and run now.

I know I can’t. I have to look. I know that there will be a point when I look and that I am really unhappy with what I see. Now, that I have learned so much more, the knowledge seems even more freight train like and I am tied to the rails. I could look the other way, close my eyes, hope the engineer doesn’t blow the whistle, just accepting the outcome. But we all know that isn’t my style. Heck most of us would look at the train, struggle to get out of the way, signal the crew, waving for them to stop knowing full well it can’t. So I eventually open my eyes, perusing all the red exclamations of concern. Of late, I breathe deep let my lungs fill with air, perfusing my heart and lifting my head. They aren’t looking great but they don’t look like a real train of doom yet. I remind myself I feel good. I am watching my boys grow right in front of me. I see my wife’s smile and smell her skin at night. I feel the support of all those who can see in my eyes, hear in my voice that despite my appearance I am still at odds within my body and mind.

Despite those moments of shear terror as I peer at the results I have so much to be happy about. I am skiing again, playing soccer, and thinking about medicine from the other side of the equation again. The time back at work and teaching has been rewarding, stimulating, and calming to my mind. I am busy again. I am productive again. That is a good feeling. So as the realization that I am not the “they all look normal” guy anymore burns a hole in my psych there is always some event, some reminder, some person, to throw some water on the flames and help me accept. Maybe that is the best part of such a crappy moment each week that I am reminded not to fall in to that gap of thought or take a moment for granted, because there is always some thing or someone there to fill any gaps in our lives.

Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.


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