The thing is, I do not feel all that sick. Chemo makes me sick for a week and a half to two weeks each go-round, but this week I almost feel normal. Aside from the bald, sweaty head. So how can I be so sick? But I am, terminally, desperately sick. The first time I was treated in 2012, I thought it was mentally challenging to have neoadjuvant chemotherapy, traipsing around with my cancerous breast until surgery, at which time I hoped to have all of the cancer lopped off. This time, there is cancer in all kinds of places, and I realized quicky that there is no lopping off or taking out, no resection, no -ectomy (surgical removal) of any kind. How to love, accept, and be kind to my polluted body?
This is difficult, but my answer with an epic six weeks or so of practice, is three-fold. It helps that Jon simply does not seem to care whether I am bald, whether I have nipples or breasts (real ones, that is), whether I have eyebrows or feel disgusting. He seems to just love and accept me anyway. (One day I made a comment that if I don't stop incessantly grinding my teeth I will have none left. His comment, without taking the blink of an eye to think, was "then I would feed you like a mother bird."). Secondly, devotion to yoga, almost daily. And third, swims, preferably the outdoor kind, which feel so incredibly purifying and cleansing. Oh, and fourth, I am attempting and mostly succeeding in feeding my body a much more chemo-friendly diet. Since I stopped eating refined sugar, cow dairy, coffee, and most meats, I have not had the cloying, nasty, metallic taste in my mouth, no canker sores, and generally better energy. Duh, I guess, but it has taken this to eat the way I should. I drink several cups of green tea each day and have started having a cup of turmeric milk each day. What is this, you ask? Put 2 cups coconut or almond milk in a saucepan, add 1 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and an inch of fresh ginger, sliced. Heat on medium until simmering and turn down to maintain gentle simmer. Simmer five minutes or more, strain out the ginger. Enjoy. It makes two servings. Turmeric has many healing properties that are accessible when cooked with ginger and black pepper, as Indian cooks have intuitively known for eons. Many more foods taste
good to me now - sweet potatoes, avocadoes, whole grains, many vegetables. Again, duh...
So this is where I'm at. Trying to accept my body which has betrayed me again. Trying to quiet my mind and its insistence on blaming myself for this trouble, and all the stress and sadness it is causing my family. Oddly, mixed up in all this is the reality of a pretty nice summer.