Thursday, August 22, 2002

Last night I had this pain in my back over my ribcage and I immediately thought I'd had a relapse. It felt similar to the pain that sent me to the emergency room (but not as bad) early in this whole adventure. Of course, it couldn't be picking up Conor, playing softball, or just sleeping wrong. This overreaction made me a bit humble. I've been participating in some Hodgkin's-specific mailing lists, and I was rolling my eyes at the posts of people panicking over swollen lymph nodes. Some people said they limited the number of times they would do a self-exam, while others refused to examine themselves at all.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I went to get my first haircut this weekend. Sounds ridiculous to get your hair cut when there isn't much there, but it needed to be done. I told her that I wanted to make it look like I intended to have hair this short, and that's what she did! In her words, she shaped it so I didn't look so much like an egg. (Pictures!) She called it the Winona-Ryder-pre-shoplifting look. I knew I was ready, at least mentally, for a change when I went to lunch with some people I worked with last year. One guy asked about my new look and I dodged the question but he asked again. So I said no, I wasn't a lesbian, I had cancer. He was shocked and asked what happened. I said, (louder), I HAD CANCER. I felt sorry for him--it's cruel to tease people when they're asking questions like that. (So much for my theory that having cancer made me a nicer person.) But it made me laugh, and that's what matters, right? Hey, he's in sales so he's used to being abused.

I also started wearing a bra full-time. At least at work. It's taken a little getting used to again, but I thought it was time.

I was also interviewed for a story on the impact of a serious illness on relationships. Kevin talked to him, too. It was an interesting experience--interviewers have their own agenda or an angle they're pursuing for the story. One of the things he was surprised by was my statement that I owe Kevin everything and nothing. I owe him everything for taking such good care of me, but yet I owe him nothing because it's a debt that can't be repaid. There's always an imbalance in relationships, and the interviewer asked several times how we dealt with it. I didn't have a satisfactory answer--basically, that's how relationships are, and we're together because it was meant to be. (Oh, that sounds so corny.) Relationships are never equal, things are never even. Because Kevin took such good care of me, should I be nice to him? Should I do his laundry? Should I bring him breakfast in bed? Should I perform his favorite sexual favors? No, I should be nice to him because I love him. As for his laundry and breakfast, well, that's not why he took care of me. And he certainly didn't take care of me for sexual favors, did he? (Like he could ever admit to that--he'd lose every brownie point he earned!) Maybe the debt I owe him can be repaid by changing my stance and agreeing to take care of his brain-damaged self when he gets hurt riding his bike without a helmet.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

I just found out that a family member has cancer. It's floored me for two reasons. First, because I have a pretty good idea of what they're going to have to go through, and second, because as foolish as it sounds I'd like to think that me having cancer somehow has some meaning or purpose--like it gets all my friends and family off the hook. As if cancer were a bullet, and I took it for everyone I love. But I keep getting reminded that having cancer doesn't mean anything--there's no purpose, no greater meaning, no benefit for anyone else. It just stinks.

Monday, August 05, 2002

I played softball last Thursday for the first time since last November, and I was quite concerned about how I'd do. It's a competitive team and the manager has been known to ask some people not to come back. I was willing to sit on the bench (as evidenced by my Freudian slip--forgetting my cleats), but that wasn't an option. They put me in as pitcher and I think I got more balls hit to me than I did all last season. It's amazing what 30 years of softball can do for you--my body remembered how to play! Not that it was ready--I still have NO relfexes. Luckily nothing hit at me was moving too quickly, because I certainly wasn't. And as far as baserunning goes, let's just say I wasn't fast to begin with. Up at bat, after hitting the ball first base would telescope out into the distance like a bad Ally McBeal visual effect. I did have one good hit, though, and didn't walk anyone so I'm pretty pleased overall.

I was reading an article about Lance Armstrong's Tour de France win, and as corny as it sounds, I was touched when he said he won it for cancer survivors everywhere.

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