Despite the chemo brain and the heavy pain meds, Kathleen was able to decipher the odd news headline above. Foot Heads Arms Body– a guy named Michael Foot was put in charge of a nuclear disarmament committee. Foot Heads Arms Body. Clever. But even better is she is finally coming out of that dark place she calls her chemo cave. In that darkness, you do actually tend to see your body disassociated from yourself. Feet hurt and are swollen. Head is foggy and cant stay awake. Body aches and cannot move, but is not comfortable in its lack of movement. Same with the cancer. Its not part of ‘her’ but ‘other’. The cancer wakes us up at 3am. The cancer keeps us away from some fun sunny destination in the winter. The cancer steals life from her. But now, a little bit of energy to putter to the kitchen and enough to watch a bit of TV and browse the internet.
For me, the lack of sleep is irritating. But thats fixable. The hard part is seeing Kathleen so weak from the cancer, the drugs and the side effects of the drugs and the side effects from the side effects of the drugs to address the side effects. Its a lot of balancing, and in the past we have managed to keep all the balls in the air for the most part. So when she had the horrible vomiting, as someone who is in a support role, you take it as a bit of a failure. Its not like I am going to cure Kathleen of cancer, but you have to afford yourself the little fiction that you have some agency and control in the process to at least limit the symptoms. To some degree anyways.
It was a rough cycle on her, but she thankfully seems to be emerging from it today. All the parts are a little more whole again and not split into feet, head, arms and body. Its Kathleen next to me in the living room.