Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Really down today

I don’t know if writing this will help me, but it may help for honesty’s sake. People tell me I’m strong, all the time. Maybe I am. I’ve worked through a lot, and learned a lot; and I’ve been able, mostly, to be open to what’s happening in me and around me. Today, I’m just gritting my teeth.

Crying might help—but I only feel like it when I talk, and there’s nobody really around. Maybe another hot shower, and just letting myself go where it takes me. I’m not that close to breaking—just tired, and frustrated, and I want my normal life back. I won’t get that, really, for at least a year. I don’t know how sick I’ll be in the fall. I don’t want it to impede what I do.

If sickness from treatment were all that was worrying me, I could let it go. It isn’t. I say I want my life back—but I certainly haven’t even been trying to focus on anything that’s “normal,” for the past month. I'm walking the fence again, between "necessary" and "not entirely healthy."

I could maybe take a walk. It’s kind of overcast/hazy/sunny outside. I do have a hat. I would feel as if I was attacking myself, if I didn’t wear it—but my ear is still tender.

I wear hats and sunblock in the summer, always. Not 24/7. But California is different; and I am different, now.

I have bureaucratic chores to do. I have to see what I need to do to keep health insurance in the fall, and contact the social worker at Kaiser about temporary disability. I will do both of these things. I’m not emotionally up to it, right now.

Homework. Good God, yes—with what brain? I need to do something normal, and I have these two reflection papers to write before I get sick. I really can do them; I know they’re not that hard. My teacher knows what I can do—she also knows where I’ve been.

I also have to get off this box for awhile. And my bedroom… who could focus in here?

Packing. Mildly physical (no lifting unless I want to), and possible. Let alone absolutely necessary. If I could, I’d like to get out of here at the end of the weekend, though I have an extension until the 6th. That requires working right now.

I miss my friends. And I miss my faculty. I miss having people all around me, whom I could talk with. Most have gone on to summer, already. As soon as I go east, I’ll be with my best friend—but I’ll lose the physical presence of the rest.

But I know that they still pray for me, and love me.

In my core, I’m stronger than I have ever been. But I could have never, ever, ever done this by myself. I went alone yesterday, partly because I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal; partly because I wasn’t sure who was around to ask, and partly because I didn’t want even the kindness of a friend to influence my treatment decision. What I do with my body has to be up to me—even if that’s to make it sick for a year, with risky benefits. No one wants me to suffer. I don’t see a better choice.

(Would I make the same choice now, to go alone? No. I needed a note-taker, while I was asking questions and trying to assimilate information. I remember a lot, but I wish I had all the data now.)

I want my body to know that it is loved and supported, and strong enough to fight any likelihood of dangerous cells. That’s how crazy cancer is—to love and care for your body, you consent to making it sick.

One of my teachers asked me, when I told her about my wordlessness, if I’d ever had a conversation with my body. I hadn’t, except to try to reassure it that it was loved and cared for and strong. I’ve listened to it when it’s told me I was healthy; and the clean tests tell me, I can trust it to do its best to stay so. I’ve listened when my body has told me how much it loves the wind across bare feet. I’ve listened when it told me that it loves to feel its muscles move, when I walk. I remember how healing a bath could feel, when I was not capable of hurrying.

Everything in me wants to survive this. The current round, I have. Later, scares holy hell out of me. I’m going to have to get an awful lot better at self-care, both so I can love myself through this, and so I can keep health insurance. This is going to call out of me, skills and confidence that I have never yet had.

I’m going to have to find them.


Anonymous said...


Prayers continue!!

One thing cancer patients learn over time is this; our doctors will always tell us the worst case scenario. They spout statistics until you think your head will explode. Just remember; EVERYONE is different. We respond to medicines sometimes differently than others. So think on the upside of the interferon. You may not be as ill as they say.

I have a friend who says "God is God, and we are not." The Doc's, wonderful as they are, aren't God.

You are surrounded by a wonderful loving community of faith, and have wonderful friends. Lean on them. You're doing really well, and will continue to do so.

It's spring!! Get out of your room for a while and take a walk.

Blessings to you.


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Prayers continue from here as well...

I think Suzanne is right--doctors always give the worst-case scenario.

I can certainly understand why you feel so off-balance right I will pray that you can find some peace of mind. And I mean that in the most literal sense---that you will be able to find respite from your worries and fears for the future.


kpjara said...

I really like the idea of a conversation with the body... Sounds cathartic and useful.

I found you through Swandive.

I'll lift a prayer up for you and your words.

Paul said...

"I’m going to have to find them."

And you will.

I have no helpful words. I know the school can seem utterly empty when folks depart (I've been there on weekends, which does not even compare with the beginning of summer). May this be a time of special graces - time with the bricks and the flowers and the birds and the sky and some blessed silence. Of course, I've grown into a hermit over time. Shalom, in abundance.

FranIAm said...

Kirstin - love, light and grace to you as you make your way.

As Paul said before me, helpful words... well I have none either.

I do send you prayers in abundance and for the grace to lean into whatever this time is wanting to give you. However sadly or uncomfortably that might be... I hated typing those words.

I have this sense of the chasm space as one thing finishes and yet it the next has not begun. In that dark silence, great things are being born I think.

Know you are held in great light and love, even and probably most especially, when it feels otherwise.

Pax to you my friend.

susankay said...

Kirstin -- prayers for sure. I think sometimes that strong is over-rated. Needful is perfectly OK. God's the strong One so you don't have to be strong all the time.

Jane R said...

Dear Kirstin,

I pray that even with the need to be loved and held by other humans, you will find a surprising grace in solitude and learn some of its healing ways.

And speaking of being loved and held by humans, I hope you have some non-human creatures as friends too! Good canine and feline creatures are a blessing. I'm not saying to adopt, you're probably not in a position to do so and this is probably not the time, but perhaps you have friends with animal companions. Talk to and listen to them and be with them. (The animals, I mean.) Their company and empathy can be great gifts.

Peace to you,

Kirstin said...

Thank you all so, so much. Your words, prayers, and confidence are enormously helpful.

Jane, the friend who is housing me has four cats. I'll be well cuddled.

Love to all.

eileen said...


Praying for you...Wishing I had something tangible to offer you..but I know it's all just words, so I'll just keep giving you hugs...


Kirstin said...


Hugs definitely count.