On day 5 of the third round of chemo I was sitting in Lauren’s car wanting to vomit, eat, faint, cry and throw a punch all at the same time. She was in the restaurant and I couldn’t go with her because I was unable to stand up. A slicing pain cut across my back, a second later I could feel it in my ankle, another moment in my jaw. I started my 50th hot flush of the night. I pulled at my headscarf to loosen it, which reminded me of how the headscarf had looked cute when I left the house but when I caught sight of myself in a reflection earlier, I looked like a pirate. I was disgusted with myself that I couldn’t even figure out how to wear a headscarf.
I felt utterly useless, as if I would always be useless, as if I always had been useless. I thought back to my blog post called ‘Round 2 & Love’ and I didn’t know what I had been thinking in writing a post where love had compensated for all this. I felt deluded, it was simply ridiculous to think that there was any relief.
Then I questioned myself as to why I had thought that. I wondered if round 3 was just harder, or perhaps I felt the love more in round 2 or perhaps I forgot how bad it really was in round 2, or perhaps I remembered how bad it was in round 2 but wanted to forget so I wrote that all the love compensated as a way of making things seem manageable and inspiring. I wondered if I was not actually deluded in round 2 but if my current state of pain was deluding my perception of Round 3. Between feeling my body disintegrating from chemo, the hormonal craziness of the chemo-induced menopause and the lack of sleep due to constant hot flushes maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be trusting these thoughts that are so contrary to my normal thoughts.
I looked down at my purple bracelet given to me with so much love, saw the fluffy ears of my toy bunny sticking out of my bag given to me with so much kindness and saw Lauren’s kind face as she returned with food. I cried harder, I was embarassed, upset with myself that I couldn’t trust what I was thinking and at the same time relieved to feel the familiar rush of care and concern around me that does make everything easier. I knew what I had just been feeling was an attack of the soul-sucking chemo dementor. I felt just like Harry Potter, momentarily overtaken by a dementor and then while struggling against the darkness, able to summon a patronus charm. Just like Harry I didn’t initially summon the charm alone.
I like to think of all my well-wishes, whether they be email messages good thoughts or yummy pressie’s, as patronus’s. On dark days, in dark moments when I feel my soul and light about to be sucked away I feel their magic which brings me back, and keeps the chemo-dementor at bay.
That might be the only time I get to compare myself to Harry Potter, I enjoyed it, but next time I would like to have a reason to compare myself to Hermione, maybe once the chemo brain goes away.