A Yankee's Musing

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Year Ramblings

It's been a long time since I've made an entry, and I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps it has something to do with not wanting to think about my health right now. It was the end of the term with the usual rush to finish things, then the transit strike, then exhaustion. Thank goodness chemotheraphy is done for awhile The side effects raged after the last treatment, lots of PPE and fatigue. Even the MS reared its ugly head for awhile. Nothing lasting. Then the holidays. I did see some good movies: King Kong, and, I Walk the Line. Saw a cool off Broadway play, "Almost Maine," and went to the Central Park zoo with my great niece, niece, and family. Very cool, expecially to see the creatures through the eyes of a two and a half year old. She responded the same enthusiastic way about the people she saw standing behind the metal fence surrounding the zoo as she did to the seals performing nearby. She rushed right up to the people as if they were the next exhibit. Says something about humans doesn't it?
And now I wonder why I am hesitant to talk about my inner goings on right now. Maybe I simply need a rest from all that reflection. Last year at this time I was nervously awaiting going through the mucho tests to see if the cancer cells were still lurking. I had no idea what procedures would be or what the outcomes might show--it was the white space time I wrote about then. But this year is different. Although I am in the same position of post chemo and wait and see, I know what to expect and I have no expectations. What will be will be. That eases my mind a great deal.
White space--this time it is familiar with the boundaries hidden within its apparent limitlessness. There's a kind of symmetry in this life I am living as I enjoy the white space that spells temporary freedom from the battles I wage in this ongoing war of survival against an enemy I cannot see. I have never been a soldier, but I wonder if there are similarities? Is the internal battle comparable to the outer battle? Perhaps my battles are different because I can, at times, hide behind the illusion that all will be ok even when it is not. I can escape for awhile until something from the outside jerks me into reality, like chemo. treatments or tests. I can escape for awhile until something like side effects pierce me into reality.So what am I saying? Sometimes I do feel besieged: from the outside by those things meant to help me survive; and from the inside either by side effects of the treatments meant to help me, or else by the diseases themselves (cancer and MS). The white space is a reprieve from all of that. Do soldiers have a white space, or is a white space dangerous to them because if they go there, they can be killed? Or is that only in fiction?
White space--as I stretch out like a cat and try to enjoy it right now. I find my energy returning. It is a bit easier to get out of bed, dress, and go out to face the rest of the world now. I find a reserve of energy strengthening and allowing me to do things beyond the have-to-dos without crashing in exhaustion. This is good. I don't think I ever appreciated in the past how much energy I had, how far I could push myself before I got too tired, not fatigued. Fatigue is a difficult state to explain--it is silent and voracious. It gobbles up energy and leave you with nothing. You cannot go far without collapse. Every movement must be measured. To live with real fatigue, one must be very vigilent about what energy to expend and where. Some things take more energy than others, especially if it involves emotions. You learn to be frugal and wise and self-oriented, or else you collapse and can do nothing. It involves having to say no alot. I never said no well, and now I have to say it frequently. I hate this kind of living the most--it is the most difficult of all the symptoms, even pain. Fatigue is deabilitating. I don't think I ever fully appreciated that until I experienced it.
White space--I find it a bit like spring. It is warmer and comforting. I can pretend it is not a false spring. I can pretend it is forever. As a kid, forever was a familiar concept--everything was forever until it wasn't anymore. Maybe when a child realizes that forever is a dream that is when the child starts to become an adult and lose that childlike wonder. I remember going to hotels designated as temporary homeless shelters to see if we could set up literary programs. The children were heartbreaking. Their eyes were so empty--not a glimmer of wonder or hope. I wondered if they had ever experienced being children at all. I have seen many cancer patients with that same look.In my white space I am relishing every bit of wonder I can. I even got up to watch the storm the other night, the thunder and lightning and snow pounding down on the brownstones and narrow street below.
White space--I find myself protecting myself within it. I don't want any pressure right now beyond the ordinary. I want to wallow in the freedom of the white space a bit longer. It will be all too soon when I have to return to the struggle to survive. I want to be as selfish as I can right now, which is quite different than to be conscientous of the self. Selfish is to follow my whims and simply enjoy them without guilt. Conscientous of the self is responsible behavior toward myself in order to survive. This is my selfish time, so perhaps that is why the entries have been sparse. Reflection is not my number one priority right now.