I am not Just a Cancer Survivor

I am a cancer destroyer.

I am a cancer obliterator.

I am the Cancer-nator!!!

I am Cancer-free!

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Another Day, Another Scan …

… and another polite euphemism.

This one is ‘a shadow’ … where no shadows ought to be.

It could be something.

It could be nothing at all.

I have wrestled since coming home,

To find an emotion that rings true.

Then I watched this video.

It makes sense now.

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Thank you Hecatedemeter for standing in the middle of my path this very night.

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“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language”Lucille Clifton, 1936-1010, writer, educator, poet.

Isolation

Widdershins MaskThe 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 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!

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“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

Coming Back To Zero – The Convoluted Path to Starting a Project

FallI actually woke up with some energy this morning. I was so shocked I had to lay down and rest for half an hour!

A while ago I decided to use this years NaNoWriMo to kick my brain/Muse/typing skillz, back into high gear, then, last week I get news that my radiation therapy is scheduled for the first week of … you guessed it … November!

I won’t be able to go anywhere near short people, pregnant people and four-legged people for about two weeks, or touch anything that isn’t disposable or washable. I don’t think my keyboard is included in either of those categories, but pen and paper might.

This reduces my NaNo time down to two weeks-ish and a daily word count of 3500. I’ll be working on Book 2 of my ‘Gallery’ series with the plan that it’ll be ready for me to self-publish along with Book 1 when I get the rights to it back from my publisher. (no pressure, right?)

So, all this is a convoluted reference to the topic at hand. The things we have to clear out of the way just to get to the starting line, which I call, getting back to zero.

Sometimes it’s something as simple as wanting to go for a walk in this chilly Autumn afternoon. first I have to stick my nose out of my Hobbit House in order to determine how many layers to put on, find my shoes, keys, notepad and pen in case I get an ‘idea.’ etc, etc, just to get back to zero – walking out the door.

The same with writing. Because of the reduced time-frame I need to really get my outline nice and tight, check out all the shinies on the NaNo website – I’m ‘Widder’ if you’re playing there this year – then get through the fun time that is my radiation treatment (it’s called an ‘ablation’ for reasons that are unfathomable).

Yep, November’s looking like a walk in the park, once I get back to zero.

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“Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony”Charles Baudelaire,   1821 – 1867, poet, essayist, art critic, and translator of Edgar Allen Poe into French

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And a bonus … I came across this via the WPBeginner blog … how to add maps to your blog.

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P.S. Does anyone else think of Robin Williams as Mork fromMork and Mindy whenever they say ‘NaNo’ out loud?

 

Lubricating Lady-bits – Not what you’re thinking … well sorta, kinda …

Widdershins MaskOne of the (many, I’m discovering) downsides of this combination of healing from thyroid cancer and menopause, is vaginal dryness. It’s uncomfortable, annoying, irritating, time-consuming, frustrating, and on occasions downright hilarious. (nope, not going to give any examples of that last one)

So like any citizen of the 21st century, my first port of call was to ‘google’ possible remedies. Among the tens of thousands of results, was this gem, from which a wonderful sentence stood out like a sore thumb.

And I quote: (the emphasis is mine)

“Exciting movies that keep you in suspense stimulate the central nervous system, increasing blood flow to the gentiles which in turn lubricates the vagina.”

I personally would like to thank all the persons of non-Jewish persuasion who offer this service.

The moral of this story is, of course, check for typos before you publish. (emphasis mine) because the one that gets through (and there will always, always, be ONE) will be the most embarrassing.

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“A good editor doesn’t rewrite words, she rewires synapses”S. Kelly Harrell, author and modern shaman

 

X Factors (not the TV show!)

It’s been a busy time, this healing.

Have you ever had a major illness/ accident – we’ll call it ‘X’ – and it’s taken up all your energies, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, to overcome? Then, when you’re at your lowest ebb, you catch a cold, or a paper cut gets infected, you stub your little toe, you suddenly experience menstrual cramps that you’d forgotten how bad they could be because you haven’t had a period for eighteen months and have no tampons or pads in the house because you never wanted to see one ever again and it’s the middle of the night and you live on an island in the middle of nowhere and your voice squeaks through at least three octaves because the swelling from your thyroid cancer surgery is still pressing on your vocal cords and sneezing hurts and the hottest of summer days have finally arrived and you hate the heat you came to Canada for the snow for goodness sake and the family at the end of your road are having a familyreunionandtherearepartiesdownbythelakeandBBQ’severywhere,

andyouhavenoappetitebecauseyounowhaveabladderinfection,

andyourcatbityoufornoreasonexceptthatshe’sveryoldandcrabby …

These things we will call ‘x’s’; the little yappy ‘x’s’ that nip at the heels of the mighty ‘X’ and really annoy it and slow down its ability to bounce back as someone (me) would like.

July 2013 is a month that I am truly glad to see the rear end of as it heads out across the lake and disappears over the horizon, never to be heard of again.

Bring on August!

Conundrum

A funny thing happened the other day …

But first, the biopsy results are in and it looks like I dodged a bullet. The cancer cells were merely using my thyroid as a staging area. An invasion of my lymphatic system was immanent – which has now been terminated with extreme prejudice. One or two cells may have escaped into the hills, but rest assured we will flush the little buggers out and nuke ‘em.

… back to the funny thing. I’ve been following Susieee Mac’s blog, ‘Don’t be a Hippie … Then and Now’  for a long while. As usual, every time she posts something, I get an email, click on the link and away I read.

Not this time. Google Chrome kept telling me it couldn’t find her. I knew it was lying because I could search for her and she came up on the top of the list every time, but when I clicked on a link, GC (Google Chrome) closed its eyes tight and reiterated that Susie DID NOT EXIST!

I emailed Susieee and asked if she had recently taken on a non-corporeal existence. She checked all the corners of her mama’s wonderful jungle garden and emailed me back to affirm that she was indeed, still-corporeal. What’s more, everyone else on the planet agreed with her – except my GC.

I cleared my cache, rerouted my router, modulated my modem, changed search engines, tried the link on the two other computers in the house, consulted computer clouds, talked to techies – nothing worked.

It is a puzzlement, a paradox, a conundrum, an illogicality, an enigma.

Has anyone else had something like this happen?

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‘For me, writing a novel is like solving a puzzle. But I don’t intend my novels as puzzles. I intend them as invitations to dance’ Mohsin Hamid, writer.