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chemo-brain

Humping your Hot Dragon

Okay, here is another gem I found in my files, I hadn’t dated it but it seems like I wrote this only a few months after my final chemotherapy treatment. I was obviously still in pain and reeling from the side effects of the chemo. Once again I have no recollection of writing this, so, without further ado, here it is in it’s raw form. Here at The Rusty prose, we’re unsure where I was going with this, perhaps I’ll revisit this and turn this into something awesome to read.

 

Humping your Hot Dragon

Hot, it was so hot. He picked up the Dragon which immediately set about blowing balls of fire before them. The dragon was so sick but refused to admit so. They had set out early in the morning to avoid the heat, but the birds had warned the sun so the sun had come up earlier that day and was none too happy about the birds waking it up so early. He had been warned about his sick dragon, but as he usually did when people told him about his sick dragon he just laughed it off.

He had, as was his usual, awoken so early as to be the one to waken the neighbourhood. His neighbours had oft complained that while he liked to get up early, the entire neighbourhood did not share his enthusiasm for his hobby of choice. This morning he awoke with an unusual fear; he had been having the oddest dream about trying to line up two or three islands in an archipelago, but they wouldn’t line up and one of them erupted as in a volcanoes creating a fourth island which still wouldn’t line up properly. He stopped trying to interpret his dream, realizing that the gist of his dream seemed to tell him he was frustrated by something.

He was now a recluse, but I suppose by society’s standards he was a pariah, due to the sick dragon. He didn’t even know he had a dragon, some people tried to point it out to him be he was too preoccupied. He tended to be able to only have on single focus, no multi-tasking for this guy.

When confronted by the yoga team, the dragon changed colour and set about inhaling as much air as possible. Dragons at filtering out the oxygen and hydrogen to use for its flame throwers. The battles were epic, some raging for years, entering different time zones as well as different planes of this world.

All too soon he lost track of the time, this particular trek the they had encountered more of the yoga people, who seemed to be on their side. The anti-yoga people had converged on them and now were using the dragon against him. The heat from the dragon was unbearable, so focused to a fine point as though the dragon was enjoying itself. The yoga crowd had jumped on him and were now trying to pull his head so down and forward so as to be standing with his feet on his own head.

This was a problem he thought would never be solved. It was in his nature to do things the wrong way. The heat had cooled off; Mother Nature abated the wars with her cool marine air. The dragon, now cured, healed and cooled was soon gone, leaving the young man to clean up the mess, explain everything to the authorities, as well as go back to his job.

An Ordeal I would not Wish upon my worst Enemy

I have battled Cancer, I’ve endured Chemotherapy and I’ve suffered the indignities of Surgery and yet I have seen first hand just how fortunate I was to be dealing with my particular ordeal. Cancer was a formidable foe to be certain, warranting the battle of a lifetime. Chemotherapy was an out-worldly experience, one that I would never, ever want to go through again in this lifetime; I found the experience to be horrifying, an encounter which exposed me to be the coward that I am. I had Surgery to reconstruct the humerus on my (left) dominant arm after a cancerous tumor ate into the bone resulting in a fracture. Several horrible elements combined for one hell of an ordeal, though I know for certain many others faced even more horrendous situations and they have a faced it with grace, courage and dignity in their own ways.

One year prior to these events, among other things, I had rekindled my passion for writing and had taken up jotting down notes and ideas on a semi-regular basis. I kept it as a hobby, more or less, writing thoughts and ideas, a little more earnest as time went on, making sure I filled any spare time I had with writing. Soon I was writing on a regular basis, albeit for limited time, again mostly thoughts and ideas, and then short story ideas, and some script and stage play ideas. I submitted a short story based on an actual event, then a short stage play, then a fictional short story, none of which were accepted. I felt as though I was getting somewhere with my writing hobby and was looking for creative writing courses when disaster struck, I broke my writing arm and discovered I had Cancer which turned my life upside down for several years.

I was in no state to write, not of mind or body. Six months after the fracture we got smartphones and so that enabled me to start jotting down ideas, all with my right thumb. When, after a fashion, I could prop myself up I was able to write on paper, again with my non-dominant arm. Not an easy feat, to start to write with ones non-dominant arm, try it for a while. I had the added bonus of dealing with the side effects of the Chemotherapy which gave me a temporary cognitive dysfunction to muddle through. Google ‘Chemo brain’ (or maybe I can link it) for a better idea of what that is, or wait a while because I know I’ll have a whole blog post devoted to chemo brain. It took me well over one full year before I was able to even attempt to write with my left arm again, and I am sure my recovery sped up after that.

Though I survived I don’t like that term, ‘Survivor’ or ‘he was a fighter’, somehow, to me, that implies the poor unfortunate souls who succumbed to this horrid disease were not putting in the same effort; we are all different, our Cancers and treatments differ from person to person. Yes, I survived, a victory for me, but it was a Pyrrhic victory

On Pain.

This post is mostly about having to endure different types of pain, I will get into the specifics at a later date as I need to go through all my notes and files. I have bits and pieces scattered here and there, we really could use a good assistant or two over here at The Rusty Prose. So, for now, you get fragments of pain.

I suppose I could have told this story from the beginning, but I can think of these posts as Prefaces and the like. Besides, it’s my blog and I’ll transgress if I want to. A little anticipation never hurt anyone, and today we’re talking about the pain, man. Soon enough we will get to the beginning.

During my Cancer ordeal the pain was intense, incredible and excruciating on so many levels; as a result I tend to feel and experience pain on a much different plane now. The pain was all encompassing, only to be surpassed, or exacerbated by the horrors of Chemotherapy. There was the tumour which slowly ate into my Humerus bone until it shattered one fine morning. Next we add in all the various tests, needles, and biopsies; the muscle cramping and neuropathy were there for the comic relief.

On the gorgeous and hot morning of July 19 2011 As I was getting ready for my dentist appointment to finish the second phase of a root canal when my left (dominant) arm went into a muscle spasm and broke seemingly on it’s own. YOUCH!!! And WTF!?!

My arm had been sore and aching for several weeks prior, but I had been much busier than usual and thought I was over exerting myself and had strained my triceps and biceps muscle. It’s called a ‘Pathological Fracture’ when a bone breaks for no known cause but shows to have a hidden medical reason; the cancer caused a tumour to eat into my bone, the bone fractured into the tumour and through the remaining weakened bone.

Then I lay prone for five weeks while I waited for the proper diagnosis. They knew it was Cancer, it just took a long while for them to pinpoint the actual type. NHL; non Hodgkins Lymphoma. They wouldn’t operate until they could be certain they didn’t have to amputate, or that I was going to be around long enough to warrant the procedure. I lay prone on the couch for five weeks in agony.

The reconstructive surgery took away some of the pain, then it brought along some new one’s. I had steel plates, pins and screws into my bones and the tumour in the bone. Yeah, that was a whole new level of pain my good friends. Nothing else mattered at that point. Then I had to lay prone for another five weeks in agony while we waited for the screws to set, and for the chemo to kick in. Then came the cramping and neuropathy, which feels like when your arm or leg fall asleep except this is all over your body and comes on much more gorilla like.

For my second Chemotherapy session, the nurses could not get the needle into my vein, so they went and got a nurse from somewhere else and pulled the curtain around us. They explained they have a procedure to get the needle into my vein but it’s quite painful. She looked me in the eye and said, ready? Though it wasn’t so much a question as a command. Then as quick as she could, she slammed it into the outside of my thumb down to my wrist. Sorry, not into the joint but along the wrist below the thumb, apparently there’s also a nerve which runs along that part of the vein. Freaking ouch!

Next came the PICC line, basically it’s like a catheter but they run it through your veins. Mine went all the way to my heart, I don’t know if they all do, but mine sure did and I could feel it knocking onto my heart on occasion. That is an odd pain sensation, but it’s also eerie.

Then I got myself a frozen shoulder, more pain, more cramping, then a nice long needle inserted into my ball socket. Ouch

The bulk of the intense pain was during the initial seven months of my ordeal. Then came two years of rehabilitation. Physiotherapy therapy. Two years of rehabilitation of my arm and frozen shoulder. It took me almost two full years before I was able to make a fist or raise may hand over my head, took longer before I was able to make a fist and raise that over my head without grimacing in pain.

All the deep tissue work to reanimate my atrophied muscle was an excruciatingly painful experience that we at the rusty prose would not wish upon anyone.

I view and feel pain much different now.

Philosophically speaking

Cancer poetry

The Rusty Prose is in dire need of some renovations, some spring cleaning and I need to plow the back forty, however, we need to make time for writing and reading. There’s always something to be done around here but Real Life (TM) calls for me and, as much as I love it here, I need to pay the bills. I found this while doing some Spring cleaning.

This is a poem I wrote sometime after my ordeal was coming to an end. I don’t know when I wrote this originally, but this version has been edited. I read this at a poetry reading a few years ago and got a nice reception, odd though, there was only one Cancer peep in the house that night and she loved it. The non-Cancer peeps (do we call them civilians?) were a little stunned but appreciative. Civilian or not, they were all poets & writers and I was well received.

This could use a little more work, but I wanted to print out this version first, maybe I’ll keep it this way. I hope you like it. Do you write poetry?

 

Philosophically speaking

Cancer, as a philosophy,
asks the question; what if.
With a period in place of a question mark.

Surgery, as a philosophy,
Asks the question; what was
Without any punctuation mark
What so ever.

Chemotherapy, as a philosophy,
Asks the question;
WTF!!! in bold capital letters.
With three, yes three exclamation marks.

Cancer is a declarative sentence.
Surgery is a dangling participle.
Chemotherapy is seen as a cure for the mundane.

Cancer does not know,
Surgery does not care,
Chemotherapy does not
Think about it.

Don’t know, don’t care,
Don’t think about it.

Cancer, is my frothing and bloodied war horse.
Surgery, is my banner, my bunting, and my crest.
Chemotherapy, is the weight of my armour as I am flung face first down into the muck.

Going through my files

 

I found this earlier today, looks like a blog entry for a blog that I started after my Chemo treatments ended, the blog never got off the ground as I suffered greatly from Chemo-brain and was still operating in a fog for over a year. I will tell the whole story one day, I am getting around to it. I’m finding things from then that I don’t remember writing at all.

I didn’t recognize it, I found a whole file folder full of these, some are just notes and ideas but there’s some good ones and also it appears as though I was repeating myself back then. I’ve cleaned it up a touch but have left it in tact, I like it, it’s not so bad. Oh, and Obviously I wrote it in November.

I’m back to being left handed, and well, mostly ambidextrous, which took me a long time to get back to doing. I’ve recovered from the Chemo brain but perhaps not completely and not to mention the on going fatigue. All in all I am much better now but my main focus seems to be maintaining my full time work schedule and taking care of my health and welfare.

This was from November 2012 and I was still off for my medical leave, I was off for another ten months after this. As I said, I was still convalescing and had plenty of time to write, but after I went back to work full time I lost all that free writing time. Part of the rehab/convalescence was reverting back to being left handed and shaking off the residual Chemo brain that was determined to stick around.

Without further ado:

Blog entry Nov/2012

My prose is wooden, my poetry is flat and my thoughts are scattered. With many words to be written I sit idle watching the sunset. The smoke from my newly lit fire hangs heavy over my neighbors’ field as the ravens head home after a long day of harassing the crows.

I’m now dealing with the horrors of becoming right handed; I liked being Left handed, after all, most people do. Though now I can say I am ambidextrous, I’m not great with either hand, but I manage pretty good. The ordeal is mostly behind me, my chemo-brain is definitely improving also my aches and pain(s) are more manageable, so now I am able to devote more of my free time to writing.

I have taken all the words that I allotted myself this morning when I awoke and have placed them neatly in a row along the rough pages of my novel. Seems I left little for other projects. Nanowrimo is definitely taking precedence right now over all other writing projects.

Our domesticated canine would like to have a career as a garbage can, but as of late, her GI tract has other news for her. In my next appearance here on Mother Nature’s property I am definitely going to become a veterinarian. Perhaps a garbage can would have made a sturdier pet.