October 17, 2003

The need for stepping stones

Time to think -- and brood a bit -- now I'm home. The day has been grey and overcast, and I've felt a little the same way myself. It seems to me that what I need to do is build stepping stones between the overwhelmingness of Now and the too-distant shores of Cure. I promise myself that Jean and I will go to Paris when I'm better, and Luce and I will take our long-awaited trip to Florence. But those trips are so far from the here and now that they have hardly any substantiality at all. And I'll need more than the distant dream of travel to keep me motivated through these treatments when the going gets rough.

So I'm trying to figure out how to build myself some stepping stones to act as small promises of future pleasure, so I have short term joys to look forward to when things get tough.

Currently, life's somewhat challenging for a woman like me, dedicated to small sensual enjoyments: most pleasures seem proscribed. The impact of chemo on my taste for food remains to be seen -- it's known for making flavours seem different. I'm not allowed to drink. I'm not allowed to garden or even have plants or flowers in the house. With white cells heading for the single digits, I can't go to concerts or movies. With red cells depleted, energy for walks is in short supply. Because of the steroids I have had to cut down on carbs and sugars, because heavy duty Prednisone makes your blood sugar skyrocket. Because of the steroids I'm beginning to look like the Blockbuster Video hamster. Starting next week, I'm going to look like the Blockbuster Video hamster after an all-night Nair party.

I've already found many of my peaceful pleasures again: the blueness of the sky, the song of a mockingbird, the sight of lush summer's-end gardens, the sound of my biggest Maine Coon, Oscar, purring. Even the smell of my dreadfully smelly old dog is a peaceful pleasure. So is sitting companionably with a good friend, both of us quietly reading.

It's the "upcoming events" that are sort of thin on the ground -- I look at my calendar and all it seems to say, for the next six months, is "Chemo". So... Luce is going to visit from Montreal -- a large stepping stone. Jean is coming back again to visit from Ottawa -- another stone to look forward to. Chris and I are going to go to Cape May one day before too long -- a good-size stepping stone, that. We're planning on going on the candlelit tour of the Christmas decorations at Fairmount Park, too -- something we've both meant to do for years. Next week, a local hairdresser has promised to teach me how to wrap those wonderful stately African turbans -- a definite stepping stone, there. Doesn't seem so rough or so meagre, listed like that.

Bed time.

Posted by maddy at October 17, 2003 09:21 PM
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