Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
-- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

So we start to see a pattern. 

Chemo days (Thursday and Friday) are easy. Clear-headed, rested, energetic, even. I even have the wherewithal to post once or twice.  Saturday morning is fine, but by the afternoon fatigue sets in. Still coherent and relatively clear headed for most of the day, but by Sunday morning, the fog starts rolling in, thick and heavy.

Inevitably and unavoidably. 

When the heaviest fog is settled in, it's hard to do much of anything. The world seems coated in a a thick sheet of plastic -- like those big ugly sheets that we put on windows in our poorly insulated college apartments, Nothing is quite in focus. Reading is strained; even watching a movie or TV can be uncomfortable, particularly if there's an unsteady camera or a lot of quick cuts. Thoughts don't quite make direct connections - at best, they reach their destination after a long layover waiting for storms to clear.

And the frustrating part is that there's nothing I can do about it -- nothing Stacy can do about it -- but wait it out as it thickens over night, and settles in for a long Monday.  

I started writing this Monday evening when the fog began to lift. I could concentrate on a screen; have a conversation, read, even write a bit. All of which was relatively impossible on Monday am. But it took me about 45 minutes to get two paragraphs written. 

So what do you do? This is what cancer treatment is. You get yourself sick so you can get yourself better. And you remind yourself that this is a mild treatment. It's a couple days of fog a month for 6 months. Two tough weeks in the course of half a year. 

I'm two times through the cycle. A third of the way there. As amazing as the body is in its resilience, the mind can be even stronger. By next week, the after-effects of last week's treatment will have long faded, and my memory of them will fade, too. Already now, on Tuesday evening, I can feel my thoughts shifting to how quickly I rebounded  -- how I could walk down to the bus stop to get Noah from the bus today; how I was able to work on my computer most of the day --  and not how tired I was on Monday. 

The November cycle will come. The November cycle will go and I'll bounce back in plenty of time to enjoy Thanksgiving. Then December and the anticipation of the holiday season to get me through. And then, well, then we'll have four in the bag, and we hope, just two more to finish.  

Thanks to everyone for the recent well wishes. Even if I'm not the best conversationalist when in my fog, I appreciate all the thoughts and positive energy.

The opening quote is from my favorite poem, T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Aflred Prufrock. It begins like this, (which also sets the tone for me these last few days).

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;