The last phase of my cancer treatment is over. Everything is looking good, but I’m not really going to celebrate until I see the results of the final scan, which won’t be until 4th December – talk about your hurry-up-and-wait!

It’s been a very interesting and intense week-and-a-half for all three of us here on Widder Island. First came daily visits to the hospital for shots and tests to prepare my body for ‘the deed’, then the ‘deed’ itself, wherein I voluntarily ingest poison.

Segue: When I was growing up and as a young adult, the world shivered on the brink of nuclear annihilation. It’s a daunting thought even now to remember that many of us didn’t think we would live through those times. That U.S. and U.S.S.R’s pissing contest prompted my younger self to learn about nuclear radiation and what, if anything, she could do about it. Turned out, not a lot, but she did gain a very vivid understanding of the effects of radiation on the human body.

Fast forward to last Friday: I’m looking at this plastic cup encased in layers of lead sheeting with a huge white pill in it. This is my radiated iodine. This is what will kill any last remaining cancerous thyroid cells in my body. The irony does not escape me.

Nor did the fact that the technician who delivered this contraption backed off almost to the other side of the room once he’d put it in front of me. A slight exaggeration, the room was small. I felt like saying, “Yeah, this stuff is poisonous to healthy people, what do you think it’s gonna do to me!” But I didn’t. I swallowed my horse pill and got out of there too.

Then we came home to our separated life. Separate bathroom, separate bedroom, separate food. Separated from any contact by a 1 meter buffer zone between me and all that I am used to touching. We knew it would be an inconvenience, possibly a logistical conundrum, and Widdercat would certainly not approve.

But it turned out to be more than that. It challenged how we, I, lived.

Try this for a moment. Everything you touch or come near will be poisoned by your presence. You must pay attention to how far away you are from your family, and it is your responsibility to keep that distance. Flip a light switch. Turn on a tap. Open the door to go outside. Do you do these things, knowing your touch is poisonous, or ask someone to do them for you? Or don’t do them at all? – also a choice.

By late Saturday my tongue felt like it’d been scorched, and my throat, in the empty place where my thyroid gland used to reside, felt swollen and sore to touch.

My stomach wasn’t too happy either. In fact my entire digestive system … well, you can imagine the rest of that sentence. I was surrounded by my life, but almost completely isolated from it.

Thankfully I could use my computer (the radioactive isotope used has a very short half life) so long as no-one else (of any species) used it, but I had the attention span of a gnat on speed, so I read a lot (my TBR pile is significantly smaller) and slept in three-hour bursts.

Now I’m trying to get my brain out of neutral and engage the think gears. I have high hopes that tomorrow I’ll be able to NaNo my allotted span of words. With what I’ve already written I’ll need to hit 2500+ words per day to make the finish line on time.

And Widdercat? … She didn’t come near me. It was only last night (Wednesday) that she approached me for cuddles. Try and tell me she didn’t know what was what!


“There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses it’s wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention” Chris Baty, accidental founder of NaNoWriMo


19 comments on “Isolation

  1. londonmabel says:

    Wow, that’s a weird experience! I hope it does the trick. And that Widdercat, no flies on her!


  2. Sending good wishes your way and hope you have a hugely productive writing month!


    • Widdershins says:

      Thanks Rati … I know it’s relatively easy to churn out 2500 WPD but right now it feels daunting. It’s the first push to get the snowball rolling again that’s the tough one.


  3. And another furry hug from Downunder…


  4. Erin says:

    Wow. The meter of separation and the fear of touching everything . . . {{hug}}

    Glad this is past. Good luck getting the avalanche of words started!


  5. jannatwrites says:

    That is ironic that doctors actually have people ingest radiation. It seems almost like a lab experiment…”let’s see what happens if…”

    I’m glad you’re contaminated period is over. Smart kitty, staying away until it’s safe. Hope things get back to normal and you bounce back healthy after this setback.


    • Widdershins says:

      When we look at most naturally occurring medicines they all seem to come from families where if you have too much the healing properties turn nasty. ‘Too much of a good thing’ is very apt in this case!


  6. timethief says:

    Hang in there as I’m expecting to hear that you are doing better every day. Also know that rest is not a bad thing that’s reserved only for the wicked, y’ know?


    • Widdershins says:

      Did you know there’s a second half to that saying? … and precious little for the rest of us either! …

      Thanks for the good wishes 😀


  7. Diana Beebe says:

    Sending lots of hugs and good thoughts for a complete recovery!


  8. Ah Widders, I hope you’re feeling much better today. You’ve got me wondering if that’s how the Husband feels each time he has been sick this year. We didn’t want him to infect the Mama with his virus, because last year it sent her to the hospital. The first time it happened, I went around the house washing off everything he might’ve touched with bleach. The second time, I slept on the couch for several nights. Being on the other side of it all, having him in isolation mode was unsettling. Warm, big hugs to you!


    • Widdershins says:

      One of the things that we constantly tripped over was those small rituals of casual intimacy that build up over time in a relationship : a quick hug passing each other in the kitchen, the goodnight kiss before going to sleep – thing you do without much thought anymore, they’re part of the relationship landscape … but you sure do notice them when you can’t have ’em!


  9. Hugs from me too, Widder.

    Trying to catch up with your blog in order, and fearing what the most recent posts have to say…


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