I woke up this morning at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep.
That is highly unusual for me. Sleeping is one of my super powers. I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow. I can nap anywhere anytime- on a plane, in a chair, driving a car.
At 5am, however, there I was, on my back, staring at the ceiling. Which is where I was when Jaimie’s first alarm went off at 6, and yet still when her 19th alarm went off at 7. And if you think I’m exaggerating the number of alarms Jaimie sets for comedic effect, trust me, I am not.
I knew why I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been antsy all week. It’s because on Thursday I’m getting a scan. The first one since I started this new round of chemo back in May. That was six treatments ago, so I’m eager and nervous to find out what the fuck has been going on.
Not sure if any long term readers of the blog have noticed, but recently I’ve been trying to write less about cancer. For several reasons. Number one, it’s so. fucking. boring. Those first twelve treatments were dramatic. Everything seemed worthy of a 750 word blog post. But next week will be treatment number 29. Twenty. Nine. That’s not counting the eight months of maintenance treatment I was on in 2018 or the radiation I had earlier this year. I’m over it. I don’t even let people come with me to infusion any more. I don’t look at my computer, I don’t pull out my phone. I just take two Ativan, try to fall asleep as soon as I can, and pray they don’t wake me until it’s done.
Secondly, I think our brains can enlarge those things we choose to focus on. For example, if I focus on the fact that my Chicago Cubs have been underperforming most of the year, I become blind with rage. However, if I focus on the fact that we are in first place despite the inability to win a game on the road, I become happier and less maniacal. I try as hard as I can to not focus my energy on mutant cells. I want to confine that part of my life to the two days a month I have treatment, and not a minute more.
So you can imagine how super annoyed I was 5 this morning, smack in the middle of prime sleeping time, at the fact that my brain was worried about the scan, cataloging my symptoms, doing a cellular run down of my body.
And things have improved! I can almost yawn again! Which is incredible considering I haven’t yawned since New Year’s Eve when Jaimie and I were watching the Taylor Swift Reputation Concert movie on Netflix. My stairs only take a minute to recover from, not the five to ten it did before. What else, what else. I still have coughing fits but they’re less frequent and less violent. That’s good, that’s good. Ummmm…. the walking! I’m taking 3-4 mile walks every day. I even tried to jog a couple of times. I only got a few hundred yards, but still, better than I was before.
Of course, who knows what the scans will say. The last one was not very good, which sucks, being alive is one of my most favorite things. I’ve always been a big fan. Never once have I thought about tapping out early. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I’m not a thrill seeker. Life is exciting enough as it is. My work, my relationships, my coffee. Even not being able to sleep this morning was an incredible experience. I get to feel Jaimie asleep beside me. I got to see the sun peak through the blinds.
As Jaimie got out of bed I felt my nose start to bleed. One of the side effects of one of the medicines. I propped myself up and put a tissue up my nostril. Jaimie kissed me on the forehead. What a sight I must have been. What a strange little existence I lead, out here on the cusp of life, fully aware of being here and being present, fully aware that it won’t last forever.