Monday, December 17, 2012
Chrimbo and Chemo
Chemo starts in January. It’s a complicated schedule, but basically it consists of four days as an inpatient, then three weeks as an outpatient, ie, I’ll be home, but going into hospital for blood tests and other smaller treatments. That’s the plan, short of me getting an infection. We’ll find out about whether anyone in may family qualifies as a donor in the next few weeks. My doctor tells me my hair will start falling out in week three. No more nits for me! (There’s always an upside.) I’m looking for cotton scarves in my colours. I’m a winter, so the colours that suit me are clear jewel colours and icy tones. Let me know if you see anything suitable. The children will be with different families on different days while I’m in hospital - something I’m yet to organise.
I know that chemo will make me feel sick. I don’t yet know how sick. Before I was diagnosed I was tired and nauseous. On my medication I’m tired and nauseous. I figure it’s more of the same. The thing I’m worried about is chemo brain and being unable to read. Now., I don’t expect to be reading Russian novels, but I would like to read novels. If my brain isn’t up to it I’ll read short stories, and if my brain isn’t up to short stories I’ll read poems, but I have to read something. I don’t want to collapse into being unable to think and read. I need to keep exercising my brain, even if it’s reading poems and doing puzzles.
The school year ends tomorrow; last day of primary school for Matilda. There has been a lot going on, but I’m not stressed at all. She attended her Year 6 Farewell as the least adorned girl and had a lovely time. We’ve been to high school orientation and she’s feeling comfortable. At Presentation Day today she was awarded the medal for Outstanding Achievement (she missed out on Dux by a whisker), and a debating award (she was third speaker on the team that won the regionals). Her fellow students are a lovely group of kids and I was very proud of all of them. I was also proud that her kindy buddy’s parents were so proud of her. They were sitting behind me and her buddy’s mum was crying, and her buddy’s dad asked to shake my hand because Matilda has been so supportive of their daughter this year. Clancy is going to be a school officer next year, and again, she’ll be working with a lovely group of kids and she’ll do well. Banjo has been asking to do more extra-curricular activities next year, but it just isn’t the right time. She can wait.
I’m not feeling very Christmasy, which isn’t unusual for me. I haven’t bought anything for anyone yet. I’ve told the children I’ll order some books and things online and their gifts will be delivered by the postman in January. Usually at this time of year I write a post about how the way we celebrate Christmas makes no sense to me - Northern Hemisphere rituals in the Australian summer, the deep conspiracy that is Santa, the massive waste of resources in the name of Christmas magic, and the work women do to please everyone around them, giving the credit to a fictitious male. It wouldn’t pass the explain-it-to-an-alien test. I’ve noticed that other people have been writing about these things, and how we can make the season meaningful in ways that are consistent with our values and beliefs. I won’t harp on about it anymore.
A friend has lent us the DVD of It’s a Wonderful Life. I already know the film well and I’ve watched it twice with the girls. It is about how life doesn’t turn out how you plan, and the importance of appreciating the people around you. I expect that during the transplant process I will feel very low. I’m expecting there will be times during the process that I’ll just want to die. I hope at those times I’ll think of this movie, because, watching it, I really do feel like George Bailey. I feel like everyone in my community has been so kind to me since I’ve been ill, and that everyone I know, everyone I’ve worked with or done little voluntary jobs with or been to playgroup with or been on a committee with and even the people in my online study support group who I've never meet in real life, is wanting to help me in my time of need. I feel very lucky. You know how they say that everything you need to know you learn at Kindy? I keep thinking of the little poem I learnt in primary school.
Life is mostly froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another's trouble
Courage in your own.