Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reentry

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to leave the earth's atmosphere and experience space travel in his 15-minute sub-orbital flight  (don't ask me why I still know this but I do). And once a month, I get to experience similar effects . . .  minus the exhilaration, thrill, and sense of awe.

What I'm left with are what I imagine are all the uneasy and uncomfortable aspects of space flight --  motion sickness, dizziness,  and a vague sense of being untethered from earth. On chemo Thursday and Friday, the steroids and anti-nausea meds carry me through the launch of the cycle, but by Saturday evening as they fade away, I float off into my own zero-gravity world. I've written before about the fog, but it's the disconnectedness that I've noticed most this last month. On Sunday and Monday, I hover about, unattached to any schedule -- no work, no school pick up or drop off, no bedtime, no wake-up time, no chores around the house, no responsibilities. I just sort of exist - as the rest of the world, grounded in their daily routine marches on. 

We are creatures of habit - and, in particular, I'm a creature of activity. When I'm lacking both, it's downright disturbing. And along with the fatigue and fog of post-chemo, it's this mental uneasiness that I always look forward to shedding.

Tuesday marks the beginning of my gradual reentry. My mind focuses and and I return to work, but from the virtual office of my dining room table. That helps me re acclimate to a degree, but I don't start feeling the full pull of the world until Wednesday. At times, it's a bit turbulent, the reentry. But as I return to the gravitational forces of a busy work schedule, a regular commute, a dinner and post-dinner routine complete with dishes and bedtimes, I find my ground -- the terra firma that is my routine. Eventually, I let any notions of disconnectedness drift harmlessly and silently away. 

Until the launch of the next cycle.

--Michael