Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Feeling A Little More Myself

I'm happy to report I'm feeling a little more myself this afternoon. I believe my body is moving the anesthesia out of my system. What a relief it is to feel relatively human again. It was in the car ride back from Guthrie today that I suddenly felt the fog lift and I found a huge smile on my face. I felt lighter and clearer than I have in days.

And I'm quite pleased it’s right now during the coming of Spring. It is certainly adding to my feeling well. It is such a beautiful change. Coming back to feeling myself again was like dreaming about having to go to a tough day at work only to wake up and realize its Saturday and you have the day off.

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I have been referring to the cancer center waiting room as the dungeon because it’s so grey and has no windows. And I was calling the chemotherapy room the livestock room because the chemotherapy room is where all the patients sit in one room together and either receive a couple hours of chemotherapy or come in and get a refill for the week, like me.

I was in the cancer center waiting room today listening to a fellow patient who really wanted to be heard. She was tired of her treatment was complaining about how long she was waiting. I gave her a little "nudge" and shifted the conversation away from complaining about the staff to just acknowledging how hard this is. That's when she looked at me and said. They know a little what its like, but they don't really know what we're going through. This woman who I was almost quick to ignore, felt heard and it felt great giving her the space to do so. And then they called her name and in she went.

I realized there was nothing empowering about these creative put-downs I had come up with. It's just another way to complain and it creates a negative environment. And to make matters worse, this is an environment I will be a part of once a week for another seven weeks. I've been complaining about it since I was first a patient there. It finally hit me that if I'm going to be a part of this environment, I'm going to do my best to brighten it up a little.

So, a little while later, I was in the chemotherapy room and I found myself burying my head in my book and avoiding other patients in there. And then it hit me that I was doing the same thing in there that I was doing in the cancer center waiting room. So...I pried my head up from between the pages of my book and had a look around. I chatted with the woman next to me then when she left I took her comfortable seat and said goodbye to her. Ya know, it's easier being friendly and supportive than it is to be a grump. But it sure doesn't feel like it when I'm given the option.

And the reality is that inside the chemotherapy room, the staff are incredibly supportive and happy to smile and encourage you. And there is a lot of comradery among the patients. I don't know if I could do the staff’s job. I feel like I would put my heart into it a little too much and I'd come home from work crying my eyes out. I suppose they must have to find a balance and maintain it to succeed in that field. I'll ask a few of the staff how they do it because I have really come to appreciate the cancer center staff. I will do my best to acknowledge them for what they do. And I'm definitely done with the criticisms.

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