Friday, August 01, 2008

A day off

I took a whirlwind trip to Berkeley yesterday, to keep an appointment at school. It felt so good to get out of the sick ward, even for a day. A. is fantastic—but I associate being out here with the reason I’m here. This would be a summer full of sickness and treatment; I couldn’t take care of myself. It’s good to get a change of scene.

I’m feeling, physically, better than I have in awhile. The shots don’t affect me nearly as much as the infusions did. I do them at night; when I wake up, stiff, sore, and nauseous, I take more Tylenol and Zofran. The soreness at least goes away. And it’s three times a week, not daily.

Emotionally, though, I'm not there yet. I keep thinking I’m out of the “oh my holy f*ck” stage. I’m really not. I bumped into two of my faculty, besides the one I’d planned to see, plus the admissions director and the dean of the School for Deacons. So I had the same conversation, five times:

“How are you?” (Very well-meaning, all of them.)
“I have no earthly idea… Physically better; I’m done with the infusions. I’m just shooting myself now.”
“How does that work?”

And I’d explain it—getting more creeped out by the second, as I did so. It’s not so much that the shots are creepy; diabetics do this every day, for life. It’s the reason. I keep going back to the “cancer!” headspace. I’m not free of it. I still feel like I’ll exhale in five years.

The field ed director got it: “All of us recognize… your reality has changed.”

Oh, yes it has.

I’ve been awful about responding to comments, or answering e-mails. I genuinely appreciate the attention. I’m glad that you all are in this with me. It’s just that I have no idea what to say. I’m in a holding pattern, between serious illness and the rest of life. I’m still scared witless. And I know I’ve survived, so far.

Thank you, all, for cheering me on.


Caminante said...

know tha† i continue to hold you in my prayers... my minor, minor foray ito the maws of the medical system on wednesday made me think of you... don't worry about returning emails; focus on your healing and others and i will hold you.

[the one-handed boa wonder from vt]

Jane R said...

Just stopping in to say hi and send continued encouragement. I'm a little overwhelmed here on my end, but wanted you to know that I was thinking of you. And I'm back in town and will be at St. Mary's House tomorrow; we'll pray for you at liturgy.

Paul said...

You are not forgotten by any means and we know you have not forgotten us. You seem to be doing amazingly well, given the radical shift in the context of your life, even though to you it may seem that you are just getting through each moment. Ultimately, that is all any of us do, but you are doing it with grace.


eileen said...


Never fret about that stuff with me. I get it. I'm praying for you, and I know you'd do the same for me!

Lauralew said...

Oh, my dear, I know that this takes all out of you. Don't worry about the social niceties. Your real friends won't care.

Hugs and prayers for you as you journey through this...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, don't worry about responding. Take care of yourself. One of my prayers was that you would feel less sick with the shots, so I'm glad to hear that's true.

The shots are killing the cancer. Think of them like that. My wisdom for the moment. Fine if it works. If it doesn't, pitch it.

Love and prayers.

susan s. said...

Just me checkin' in!

it's margaret said...


One of the things that worked for me was "imagery." --I worked on images to help me imagine what was going on in my body during treatment.

--and what I imagined was what firefighters call back-burning to fight fire --you have to set a fire to back burn into the wild fire to prevent it from moving forward--to rob it of fuel. During chemo, I imagined the meds entering my body and back-burning away the fuels that would allow the cancer to spread.... it helped keep it all in a certain perspective.

As to the cancer stuff itself--that is a whole other dance.... and you are learning the steps just fine. Not an easy dance... and it is exhausting, but it does change with time. Where you are does change. Be patient. Pace yourself, and know that we are keeping you in prayer.

God bless you in every way.

Aghaveagh said...


just wanted to check in and say I'm thinking about you.

Here is a song for you: (To the tune of "I Shot the Sheriff")

I shot my stomach
And it is a major pain
I shot my stomach
But it's gonna make me well again

Yeah! all around in my home town,
My blogfriends are all comin' 'round;
They say they want to bring me their love
And help me to grow strong and well
And help me to grow strong and well

But I say:

I shot my stomach
And you know it kinda creeps me out,
I shot my stomach
Killing cancer's what it's all about

Freedom will come my way one day
And I will be all done, yeah!
No more needles and cancer
Aiming to shoot me down,
I can say that I beat it
Yeah, I shot it down...
Yeah, I shot it down.

Sing it, reggae girl!!!

Caminante said...

Oh Naomi would have gotten a kick out of that song. It's a good kick butt canser ditty.

Kirstin, just stopping by with prayers and wanting to see your face in the little photo on the side bar.

grace said...

Love the song! And I'm praying, cheering you on...

Paul said...

Just a midweek hug and hello!

((((((((((((( K )))))))))))))))))

--from the swamps

Verification word is "uddqtxnr" I see a cutie in there but it seems like a Welsh-Aztec-Norse deity or something. May she send blessings your way, whoever she is.