Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day Three- How to Make the Hospital Your Home

Its Day 3 and I am feeling great. This is probably the first time in a month that I feel completely like myself. The symptoms I have been dealing with on and on for the past sixth months are gone. This includes fatigue, night sweats, loss of appetite, weakness, fever, and headaches. Gone!!!! Today and yesterday I have had energy, my mind feels clear, and the person that I once knew has reentered the building.

I know this may be temporary but at this very moment I am giving my former self bear hugs and kisses. Where have you been????? I am so happy she is back even if its just for today, or for another hour. I really loved who I was before all of this- not in a narcissistic kind of way- I mean I have missed the energy and zest for life that I had become accustomed to and had built over the past few year.

Cancer has not necessarily stripped me of those qualities, but she has made it more difficult to feel and access on a regular basis. So glimpses of my former self are embraced and cherished.

So here is what I have learned about my hospital experience so far. The days are a piece of cake. I roam the streets ( well the streets of the 16th floor) pretty regularly. I am not allowed to leave the floor because of my disease and the fact that there most people here are a hell of a lot sicker than I am. Its a highly sterilized floor that wont accept flowers ( due to bacteria) and latex balloons ( not sure what thats about but oh well). I have done a mile lap so far today, road the bike for 40 minutes today and yesterday, and I am quickly realizing that  exercise is nourishing my soul. Being able to move, and connect with my body makes me really feel alive. It also makes me feel like I giving Cancer the finger.

I also make it a habit to shower twice a day, and always apply lipstick. I know this may sound ridiculous. I have cancer, I am in a hospital, who the hell do I have to impress?!
For those of you that know me well- you know that I enjoy dressing up, experimenting with fashion, and wearing lipstick! Why should Cancer take this from me? Trying to retain normalcy in a world that is far from normal- helps!!! Plus lets be honest, putting on lipstick takes no effort but goes a long way.  This will be a daily ritual no matter how sick I am.
Deal? Deal.

I have really started to bond with chemo these past few days. I look at her with affection and Biggie is perched at her helm watching over me and keeping her in line. Right now he/she is spread eagle on top of the machine ( i probably should go fix that- since he/she is not really decent!)  I go back and forth about her gender- Marc thinks Big Bird is a boy, I tend to feel she has a women's demeanor. Since in my mind Cancer is a bitch ( as in a female) I kind of enjoy thinking of Biggie and Chemo as my fellow female allies.
Dear Cancer: Not sure if you have noticed what you are up against already- but please know you are in a serious bitch fight.

The first thing I did when I came into my room was open all the shades, and create a shrine. By my window sill I have cancer books, prayer books, shabbat candles, Cookie Monster and Elmo, trashy Magazines, meditative cds, Scrabble, my Ipad, an SLR camera, and banana grams. I also have 2 tvs! One is a fancy flat screen and the other is an older tv with a dvd player where I have been attempting to watch Crooklyn for the past two days.

My room has become my haven at night. Its cozy, it feels like an apartment, and the view of Chicago is breath taking. There is nothing like feeling like you are in the heart of the city, when you are stuck on a floor for five days. My mind wanders, and I can visualize, smell and taste many of my favorite city hangouts.

Last night Marc and I played -where would your rather be. At first I think he thought it would be a cruel game to play, but for me, I have every intention on visiting these places, and doing these activities in the future. It may not be tomorrow- but it will happen -and the visuals help me. They provide me with a form of escape, and they give me hope.

So here is where I would rather be-
1. Hiking sand dunes
2. Slow dancing during fast songs because its inappropriate
3. In Hawaii on a beach- feeling the sand beneath my toes, and smelling the salty air.
4. Biking the Natchez Trace in Nashville, TN
5. Eating watermelon and cheese on the beaches of Tel Aviv
6. Taking a bike trip across Europe
7. Perusing the markets and riding camels in Morocco
8. Sipping Viennese Coffee in Austria
9. Sharing a bottle of Malbec with close friends.
10.  Holding my close friend Penny's baby in the next few months after she is due this spring. I cant wait to hold her, smell her and stare into her big round eyes.

These memories, wishes and dreams keep me going every day as does the love from my family and friends.

So on that note, I am off to take a little snooze that I hope will transport me to some of these places that I believe are sacred. Who knows, maybe some of you will make an appearance in dreamland.

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