Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I am doing strange things. Last night I fixed myself a Big Mac, complete with secret sauce (ketchup, mayo and a dash of Dijon mustard). It wasn’t particularly good and I know I will pay for the excessiveness, but it fulfilled something or other. I sleep too much but only intermittently. Midnight to three, five to seven, three to five. I am beginning to develop a taste for bland American cheese. This aberration is particularly worrisome to one raised on Camembert, Roblochon and Pont Neuf, French fromages whose aromas have been known to drive strong men from kitchens.

I am emptying out drawers, discarding books (I found a book, in Portuguese, on Brazilian agriculture. I am not interested in Brazilian agriculture and cannot read Portuguese.) I am strongly considering re-arranging all my books but can’t figure out whether I should do it by subject or author. The former makes more sense but implies an overwhelming number of categories ranging from building simple catapults and trebuchets to developing a successful worm farm in one’s back yard. Should I mix or separate languages? Literary miscegenation worries me. And then there are the books written by friends and acquaintances. Do they need a separate, honorific shelf?

In the meantime, I am awash in medical personnel. Doctors, nurses, shrinks and licensed clinical social workers, people who make appointments, interviewers, pharmacists, phlebotomists and other whom I think specialize in collecting those small half-filled cups of urine you leave in the bathroom for tests. Most, but not all, are smiling and cheery. Imagine that… All those people, there just for me. I temper this thought with the realization that as far as most of them are concerned, I am a name and an attending number which, I suppose, is as it should be.

I’ve been dealing these past few days with a new concept, that of radical acceptance, a sort of supercharged turbo version of acknowledging that all is not OK, but it is what it is and there is no choice other than dealing with it. There’s something reassuring about finding a name for a theory. It makes things more orderly, more controllable.  Acceptance, to me, has always been a cushy word. Radical acceptance has edges.

The word ‘chemotherapy’ was first mentioned out loud yesterday by one of the medical folks and it chilled me to the bone. In some ways, it is even more frightening than the word ‘cancer’ itself, redolent as it is of serious illness, vanishing hair and nausea. I’m vain about my hair, and the idea of becoming hairless is really disconcerting.

The next surgery now has a date—December 9. Yikes.

No comments:

Post a Comment